Monday, February 18, 2008
Richard Fernandez explains why the election system originally designed by the United Nations for Iraq encouraged the subsequent sectarian split, and why the election law passed by the Iraqi parliament last week is vital to institutionalizing the gains from the "surge."
The impasse in Baghdad is partly the result of a logjam of sectarian interests. There are also a fair number of politicians, who because of the sectarian nature of the coalitions, are stooges of Teheran. A new election law could sweep the logjam away in a flood, with the stooges in the bargain. Electoral reform is supremely important for long term success. It is the linchpin of "reconciliation".
Of course, widespread acknowledgement that Iraqis are capable of reconciliation and actually doing so under the aegis of American security will discredit a lot of people, including virtually the entire chattering class, the majority of the foreign policy "establishment," and the leadership of the Democratic party. Expect news of progress to travel very slowly.
UPDATE: Much more in the same vein here (CWCID: Glenn Reynolds), and here's Captain Ed on the part about news of benchmarks traveling slowly. Live by the benchmark, die by the benchmark. That's what I always say.
The "leadership" of the Democratic Party (an oxymoron if I ever heard one, who is this btw, harold ford, jr , howard dean md, the carbetbaggin clintons, madame pelosi, oprah and/or barbra, the two time presidential losers who form the massachusetts senatorial cabal, or the niece of one of those senators ?), will be just as hamstrung as Nixon was on Vietnam if they take over on Iraq. Destabilising the world economy by allowing the Shias sitting on the Shat to hook up with the Shias in Tehran is just not an option. Therefore, and regardless of all protestations to the contrary, I expect that the Dems after two weeks in office and a close look at reality, will backpedal like crazy on the option of disengagement.
Anything else would be an absolute negation of Realpolitik.
Regarding election reform in Iraq, I will only remind everyone that Iran has elections as well, thus far conforming generally to the direction of the mullahs despite the best efforts of well educated dissenters pushing internal reform parties. While some may deem Iraqi reform necessary, there is a basic problem where 50% of the country is Shia, unwashed and uneducated beyond the madrassa. Unless there is a reasonable alternative to the mullahs and the militias, I do not expect progress in the South on election reforms to lead to substantive results.
"Regarding election reform in Iraq, I will only remind everyone that Iran has elections as well, thus far conforming generally to the direction of the mullahs despite the best efforts of well educated dissenters pushing internal reform parties."
That's a disingenuous comparison. Iran is, at its heart, a theocracy and that theocracy reserves the right to disqualify ANYONE that they don't like from the government. They don't have an opposition party/parties, and all the constant talk about Iranian 'reformers' in the government is window dressing; maybe Leninists are more palatable to you than Stalinists, but they're still communists and you're still the enemy.
Point: You will never be elected in Iran as an anti-establishment candidate because you would never be allowed to run; in fact, you'd probably be in prison.
But in Iraq (at least for now) that might be a good reason why you get elected in the first place.