Thursday, February 12, 2009
The Growth of a Young Republic?
We are further removed from the recent Iraqi Election and the initial results have been released. If the initial results are any indication, there is quite a bit of hope for Iraq. While many have written off Iraq as a failure, the continued dedication of soldiers during the Surge and their cooperation with the Iraqi people have paid dividends. The initial results have been focused on security with economic gains as well. We are now looking at the potential political end-game.
Imad Allawi is the leader of the National Iraqi List. He is Shi'a, but a secular one and is committed to an Iraqi state for all Iraqis. He was Iraq's first Prime Minister following the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein. He was picked at the time because of his appeal to Iraqis across the sectarian fault-lines. When Iraq held its first election he was defeated and replaced by Prime Minister Jaafari and eventually the current Prime Minister Maliki. Prime Minister Maliki has been a strong partner who has helped Iraq's security and combated militants on both the Shi'a and Sunni sides. It appears that we are gearing up towards the next election where we will see Maliki and Allawi face off. It may yet be the case that the Iraqi people vindicate the initial American choice for Prime Minister if they select former Prime Minister Allawi. Allawi may be the future of Iraq.
The National Iraqi List fared well in the recent Provincial Election according to initial results. It also appears that the Sunnis have fared very well, especially in Diyala and Nineva provinces, provinces where they make up a significant population, but were under-represented due to the previous boycott (N.B. Boycotting an Election tends to significantly undercut your percentage of the vote). Prime Minister Maliki's Da'wa party fared well throughout the Shi'a south and in Baghdad. In addition, the Islamic Supreme Council in Iraq (ISCI), formerly SCIRI (Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq), was elect orally hammered throughout the country. ISCI was an anti-Saddam organization that spent most of the 1980s and 1990s in Iran planning for the day when they could return to Iraq. As their name indicates, it was significantly influenced by Iran's Islamic theology. ISCI offers a possible future for Iraq. As does the Secularist Shi'a National List of Imad Allawi and the Shi'a Nationalist List of Prime Minister Maliki. Unlike under Saddam, Iraq has real choices and real freedom to choose their political future.
It makes for a very exciting time in Iraq, to watch a nebulous democracy struggle to emerge into its own. America had its own struggle between the Federalists and Democratic Republicans and now Iraq will struggle politically for its own future.