Sunday, February 13, 2005

AP update:

Outgoing Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's list came third in Iraq's election, yet the tough-talking US-backed leader's political story is far from over, despite widespread criticism of his time in office. (AFP via TurkishPress)

Shia bloc wins Iraq polls as Sunnis marginalised. (Financial Times)

Sistani wins without a single vote. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was not a candidate in Iraq's elections, but can claim the credit for shepherding Shiites to power for the first time in an Arab country in more than 1000 years. The Sistani-backed main Shiite list, the United Iraqi Alliance, swept to power with almost half the votes cast in the historic vote, a stunning victory for the once-oppressed majority that makes up 60 per cent of the population. (

Amr Hamzawy of Carnegie: The Real 'Arab Street'. The turnout in last Sunday's Iraqi elections surprised even the most optimistic observers in the Middle East. Reading Arab newspapers during the weeks before the vote, one could hardly escape the expectation that the adventure of holding elections in Iraq was certain to be a fiasco. The bulk of Arab intellectuals and journalists foresaw a minimal turnout and possibly devastating results, such as an outbreak of civil war between the Shiite and Sunni populations and the emergence of an Iranian-controlled Islamic republic of Iraq. [...] Assessing Arab public opinion is notoriously difficult because of widespread media censorship and government domination of the media. One of the few real indicators we have are readers' written comments on op-ed articles published in Arab dailies, especially in the regional newspapers such as al-Hayat and al-Sharq al-Awsat. [...] (Washington Post)

Iraqi elections continue to divide Arabs two weeks later. (AP) [AP story posted before election results were available]

Muqtedar Khan: Have Iraqis voted for a dictatorship? (Daily Times [Pakistan])

Gareth Porter: The Real Story of the Iraqi Elections. The U.S. government and most pundits have painted Iraq’s recent elections as a great victory over the Iraqi insurgents, who opposed them, and as a vindication of the Bush administration’s policy of bringing democracy to the Middle East. Amid the orgy of self-congratulation over the bravery of Iraqi voters, officials and commentators have ignored the most important story of the election results: a Sunni electoral boycott that demonstrates a level of support for the insurgency in the Sunni triangle that is far greater than what the administration has admitted. (ZNet)

Blog Call a Spade a Spade salutes an Iraqi politician whose two sons were recently killed in an attack on him.