Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Voting, and voting with their feet 

Watch the refugees. Opponents of the Iraq war predicted that huge numbers of refugees would flee the conflict, but in fact the flow of Iraqis has been into the country. This has been the most powerful proof yet that Iraqis in general, even if not the Sunni elites, are tremendously better off than they were before Saddam's disposition.

Still, people flee trouble, and many Iraqis left Fallujah last year. Now they are returning:
Amid the ruins of Fallujah, white flags are emerging - alerting US and Iraqi forces to the presence of Iraqi families moving back home, clearing the rubble, and trying to renew hope.

Residents say that the insurgents who made the city a virtual no-go zone are gone. They were violently cut out of this former stronghold by US forces during a monthlong battle in November - the toughest urban combat for US forces since Vietnam - that pulverized this city of some 300,000.

And some of them -- more than anybody expected -- voted at the ballot box, too.
An unexpected measure of success came on election day last week. Nearly 8,000 people here defied insurgent threats and voted, according to US military officials. That figure accounts for 44 percent of all votes cast in Anbar Province, which includes the Sunni triangle, where antielection feeling was so strong that less than 7 percent voted at all.

Read the whole thing.

Via Rob. A.


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