2005 February 04 Friday
Majority Shias To Be Overrepresented In Iraqi National Assembly

In the Shia areas the party supported by Ayatollah Sistani is beating the party run by the CIA's former agent.

They show the United Iraqi Alliance winning 71.6% in the areas involved.

The interim prime minister Ayad Allawi has 18.1%; no other party has more than 1% or 2%.

I am surprised Allawi did that well. Did some Iraqis think that putting a former CIA asset in charge would get them more influence with the American government.

Iraqi ChaldoAssyrians Christians understand that these results put them at the mercy of the Shias as a headline from a ChaldoAssyrian web site states it: "Early Election Results Bad News for ChaldoAssyrians".

How about pouring some gasoline on the flames? While perhaps 20% of Iraq's population the Sunni Arabs will probably have less than 10% of the Iraqi 275 member National Assembly.

Juburi said that figures he has seen suggest a turnout of less than 40 percent in Salahuddin and Mosul, and slightly more than 10 percent in Anbar, the restive western province most afflicted by the insurgency.

By his calculation, Sunni Arab parties will receive no more than 25 seats in the assembly, which will leave Sunnis, who account for about 20 percent of the population, dramatically underrepresented.

Will the US government quietly behind the scenes press for fixing of vote counts to produce more votes for Sunnis and Kurds? Or are the Shias going to get 70+% of the National Assembly? Why should the Sunnis stop fighting if that is the case? The Sunnis might start pushing for secession and so might the Kurds. As for the Turkmen, Chaldeans, etc: I wouldn't want to be you. Sorry guys.

It is hard to figure out where the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) stands because the UIA is made up of a list of 22 different parties. So will it really govern as a single majority party? Or will it have many internal splits between the parties that it contains? The Shiite Arab majority in the national assembly is going to be so huge that from the standpoint of the various minority groups the internal Shia splits probably will not matter very much. Those splits will likely center more around which Shia factions get the spoils that will come from controlling the levers of power.

The attacks are picking back up again.

Problems in Mosul could lead to an outcry from a variety of communities that they were squeezed out of the balloting: Mosul and surrounding Ninevah province have large Sunni Arab, Kurdish and Christian populations.

Insurgents are launching new attacks across the country and battling American and Iraqi security troops in scattered clashes following the easing of security measures that had been in place to guard last weekend's elections. At least 33 people have been killed in violence since Wednesday night.

The Iraqi election is not about freedom. Steve Sailler says this election is all about who gets to dominate who.

I've said it before, but I have to keep it saying it again. Even more than most people, what Muslims want is not so much freedom for all as domination for themselves. Cruel history has taught them that the only way to avoid the bite of the whip is to crack the whip themselves. The Grand Ayatollah is perfectly happy to use an election now to gain power, just as his fellow Shiite ayatollah, Khomeini (remember him?), was happy to hold elections throughout the 1980s next door in Sistani's native Iran, as long as his boys could win the elections, which they did for quite some time.

It is also about who gets to funnel away large chunks of the public purse to get rich from holding an elected or appointed office. Let me insert here (at the risk of boring long time readers) my standard list of obstacles to non-corrupt liberal democracy in Iraq. If you haven't clicked through and read all the posts on the list of items in the middle of that post then please do so. You will know why Iraq is not going to be a glorious success story and poster child for liberal democracy.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 February 04 12:18 PM  MidEast Iraq New Regime Failures


Comments
crush41 said at February 4, 2005 12:44 PM:

The results are all from southern provinces. Isn't that like showing a prelimenary poll from six southern states to predict the US presidency? The Kurds are going to be over-represented as well when it's all said and done, are they not? That doesn't change the underlying thesis--that the Sunnis will feel under-represented. But going from absolute power to something less is bound to do that. I guess what I'm asking is there anything new from these early results that are different than what you had expected a week ago?

Invisible Scientist said at February 4, 2005 2:22 PM:

One reason the Sunnis are fighting the new government so violently, is because they
know that the Shia majority will settle the scores with the former oppressors, since
in such a democracy, the majority can vote to kill the minority (in this case the Sunnis.)

But then, if a Shia government is strongly entrenched, it follows that the Sunnis will
beg the US to stay in Iraq, to protect them from getting exterminated.

And if the Shias then ask the US to leave Iraq, then the US can threaten the Shias by saying
that US is leaving and bringing their previous oppressor Saddam Hussein back to power. This is
why it may be a good idea to keep Saddam in a safe place, like a hotel in Beverly Hills. Saddam is
in a win-win situation. One way or another, he is needed.

Wes Ulm said at February 4, 2005 6:12 PM:

"One reason the Sunnis are fighting the new government so violently, is because they
know that the Shia majority will settle the scores with the former oppressors, since
in such a democracy, the majority can vote to kill the minority (in this case the Sunnis.)

But then, if a Shia government is strongly entrenched, it follows that the Sunnis will
beg the US to stay in Iraq, to protect them from getting exterminated."

I seriously doubt that the Shias will be trying any score-settling against the Sunni Arabs. #1, the Shias are as divided against themselves as the Kurds and Sunni Arabs are with the Shias. #2, if the Shias try any sort of massacre against the Sunnis (assuming this was after departure of US troops), that would provide the perfect pretext for Syria, Turkey, and probably Jordan and Saudi Arabia to get involved (and get their hands on some of the Iraqi oil pie). And #3 and most importantly, the Sunni Arabs in Iraq are probably the most freakishly well-armed citizenry ever in recorded history. Half the time it seems that the average Sunni household in central Iraq has a stash of AK-47's and Kalashnikov's, RPG's, half a ton of HMX/Semtex/C4 plastic explosives, mortar shells and launchers, rockets, hand grenades, high-powered shotguns, maybe even an anti-aircraft shoulder-fired missile for good measure. That is categorically not a group of people that you want to mess with-- they're already causing tremendous trouble for the USA, with history's most powerful and technologically advanced military. And frankly, I've been somewhat surprised in that the Shiites have been rather disinclined to target the Sunni Arabs as a whole. Saddam assaulted many Sunnis as well as Shiites (he disliked cities like Fallujah and Ramadi b/c Saddam was secular, and suspicious of religious communities like those), and in the Shiite mind, Sunni Arab does not necessarily = Baathist.

gcochran said at February 4, 2005 6:38 PM:


So now Iraq is reminding me of "The Weapon Shops of Isher". Could be worse. Will be, too.

Pearsall Helms said at February 4, 2005 11:12 PM:

Just as a heads-up Randall on the subject of Christians in Iraq you might be interested in this:
http://www.christianiraq.com/news/2005/01/31/many-chaldoassyrians-prevented-from-voting-in-iraq/

"George Simon of Assyrian satellite television AssyriaSat report that he received over 100 calls from Assyrians in Iraq complaining that ballot boxes were not delivered to some Christian villages in northern Iraq.

The Assyrian International News Agency is reporting that up to 100,000 ChaldoAssyrians (Iraqi Christians) were prevented from voting by the Kurds.

The Associated Press reports that The Reverend Ken Joseph Junior in New York received similar calls and is asking that those villages be allowed to vote."

Stephen said at February 5, 2005 12:01 AM:

I agree with Wes, Saddam was an equal opportunity oppressor (if you became a threat it didn't matter to him whether you were sunni, shia or kurd), so it might be that the Shia as a group don't have as much motive for revenge against the Sunni as a group. In fact, I think Saddam was happy to recruit any old psycho irrespective of religion or ethnicity (eg his 2IC was a Christian).

As for succession, I read somewhere that Turkey has told the US that it will annex any northern state that might result from the dissolution of Iraq, and that the land grab would extend south to Kirkuk (Iraq was part of the Ottoman empire for some 400yrs until the empire's collapse post World War 1). I suspect that Turkey would happily give up any hope of EU membership if membership meant that it had to forego its old Iraqi territories.

Stephen said at February 5, 2005 8:29 PM:

Further to the discussion about the potential for revenge by the Shia, the GlobalSecurity website has this to say about the position of Shia in Saddam's Iraq:

...Observers believed that in the late 1980s Shias were represented at all levels of the party roughly in proportion to government estimates of their numbers in the population. For example, of the eight top Iraqi leaders who in early 1988 sat with Husayn on the Revolutionary Command Council--Iraq's highest governing body-- three were Arab Shias (of whom one had served as Minister of Interior), three were Arab Sunnis, one was an Arab Christian, and one a Kurd. On the Regional Command Council--the ruling body of the party--Shias actually predominated. During the war, a number of highly competent Shia officers have been promoted to corps commanders. The general who turned back the initial Iranian invasions of Iraq in 1982 was a Shia...
AlexanderSchmitz said at February 9, 2005 3:17 PM:

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