Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Editorial from The Washington Post: The power of elections. [...] Opponents of the election schedule frequently misstate the nature of the terrible violence that afflicts Baghdad and Sunni-populated areas of Iraq. The central conflict no longer lies, if it ever did, between a U.S.-led occupation force and a resentful population; nor is it mainly a battle between those who favor construction of a Western-style democracy and foreign and domestic Islamic extremists. The larger trouble is the resistance of much of Iraq's former elite to a political system that would have the effect of empowering the majority Shiite community and reducing the Arab Sunnis to an influence commensurate with the 20 percent of the population they probably represent. [...]

Andrew Apostolou: A tale of two elections: Abbas and Allawi. The Palestinian election on January 9 was the first of two important national votes in the Middle East, the second being the Iraqi polls on January 30. Whether the two sets of votes mean that two new democracies will be born is uncertain. Upon these elections hang considerable expectations, not just of Palestinians and Iraqis but of their neighbors and the broader Middle East. Many expect that they could provide an opportunity to resolve the instability that bedevils the Middle East. (National Review Online)

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