web counter Media Lies: Iraqi election information

Friday, January 21, 2005

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Iraqi election information

Zeyad writes a lengthy post about the elections that is an interesting read. He writes about Sunni attitudes and a lot of the political machinations going on behind the scenes.

Then there's this.
The only hope now is that, following the elections, the National Assembly would offer the hand of peace and reconciliation to the dissenting parties. I would suggest going for tribal Sheikhs rather than clerics, since they have the upper hand in their areas and can effectively root out any Ba'athists in their midst in return for a promise of sharing power and authority. Many of these Sheikhs have been disenfranchised and abused over the last two years. Very recently, US forces in Al-Anbar made a terrible blunder by accidentally killing Abdul-Razaq Inad Al-Gu'ud, Sheikh of the Al-Bu Nimr clan from the powerful Dulaym tribe.

Al-Gu'ud had favoured elections and was in good terms with the government. The Gu'ud family even accepted to be offered the seat of Al-Anbar governor some months back. The Al-Bu Nimr in Ramadi and Al-Qaim rose in arms against Saddam in the mid-nineties following the execution of Thamir Madhlum Al-Dulaymi, an Air Force general belonging to their tribe. The revolt took two weeks to be suppressed by the Republican Guard.

Another bad step was the recent arrest of Sheikh Hassan Al-Lihabi, of the Lihaib tribe which is scattered between the governorates of Al-Anbar, Mosul and Salah Al-Din. Al-Lihaibi was running in elections and is now said to have withdrawn following this incident.
I just don't understand why our military can't do better than this. We've been in Iraq for almost two years now. It should have been a priority to get up to speed on the clans and tribes, understand the politics of the region and demonstrate some sensitivity to the Iraqi political situation.

No matter how many apologies you make for something like this, it changes things in permanent ways and the ripples could be harmful to the democratic effort. I don't want our troops to leave Iraq until the situation is stabilized and the Iraqis have a firm grip on the country's security, but at a minimum our military leaders should be consulting with Iraqi leaders carefully before attacking sheiks who support the effort toward democracy.

We have enough enemies without creating more.