So we saw the purple fingers and now I'm not sure we're even supposed to pay attention anymore, but the Iraq elections look worse than we ever imagined they would -- and some of the people who agree, some of the people who seem to be feeling disgust and despair, are bloggers from the camp that's criticized us for looking at the Iraq situation and feeling disgust and despair.
Check out this post and this one from Publius Pundit. The motto of Publius is "Blogging the Democratic Revolution"; the banner at the top shows a couple of Freedom Babes rocking the Middle Eastern vote. But the tone of these posts is a lot less upbeat:
All parties that are not from the religious Shia coalition or Kurdish parties are doubting the legitimacy of the Iraqi election preliminary results, and despite the title of this Washington Post article, it's not just the Sunnis. Reading deeper, it’s independent Sunni parties, ex-PM Allawi's multi-confessional secular list, and others. Even Moqtada al-Sadr, who allied his list with the UIA!
... Does this dash the hope we had of an ending insurgency? We will have to see. I don't have much confidence that it will be resolved in a timely manner.
Heading over to Iraq the Model, we're told about a few suspicious partial results from Maysan Province, as reported in the Iraqi press:
-Lawyer Abdulwahid al-Lami is from the Lami tribe, the biggest in a province that is run by tribal relations. This candidate won 5 votes, yes 5 votes!
This means this man didn’t even get the votes of his own family….
-Sheikh Raheem al-Sa'idi was also running from Maysan and he’s a local sheikh of a big tribe that has many thousands of members in the south. This sheikh won 17 votes only!
A usual sheikh is married to at least 3 wives and has dozens of children, brothers and cousins and this one won 17 votes only! ...
And then, also from Iraq the Model, there's a post called "Baghdad for Kirkuk." This post suggests that a rather suspicious last-minute deal to add 200,000 Kurdish voters to the electoral rolls in multi-ethnic (and oil-rich) Kirkuk led to a clear-cut victory for the Kurds there -- and was linked to suspicious results elsewhere in the country that favored the ruling religious Shiites. The implication seems to be that Kurds want a divisive result in the non-Kurdish parts of Iraq as an excuse to get themselves the hell out of a unified Iraq:
Today I recalled what [Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud] Barzani told al-Sharq al-Awsat paper two months ago; he said "we will have no choice but to separate from Iraq if a civil war erupted in the middle and south of the country" at that time I thought it was strange from Barzani to say such things while Iraq was about to make more positive steps represented by the participation of the Sunni which was supposed to contribute to Iraq's stability. So why did Barzani warn from a civil war when last time's boycotters were changing their minds to join the political process?
I'm afraid the Baghdad-for-Kirkuk deal is done now and there's nothing I can think of to reverse the new reality which was forced via a democratic practice.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Chalabi, ever the cheerleader for the neocon pipe dream, is working hard to act as if nothing's wrong:
...A joint statement issued by 35 political groups that competed in last week's elections said the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, which oversaw the ballot, should be disbanded.
It also said the more than 1,250 complaints about fraud, ballot box stuffing and intimidation should be reviewed by international organizations such as the United Nations....
An aide to former minister Ahmed Chalabi said a member of [his Iraqi] National Congress list who attended the meeting did not represent the group but was there as an individual.
"We reject this document and we didn't sign it," said Chalabi aide Haider al-Mousawi....
It doesn't matter. The violence won't stop. A united democratic Iraq won't flourish. The old hatreds will worsen. This is a train wreck.
(Blog links via Memeorandum.)