Friday, February 25, 2005

The Jan. 30 elections in Iraq "put an end to any moral legitimacy the insurgents may have had," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said during a news conference here today. (US Dept. of Defense)

Iraq's deadly insurgency will rage on, no matter what the outcome of next month's elections may be, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said, amid new questions about the polls after a boycott call by the main Sunni Muslim party. (US politics at

After the Iraq elections, the dealmaking begins. (Monday Morning)

Trudy Rubin: A minority must accept less power. Here's what fascinates me the most about the electoral experiment going on in Iraq: It tests whether the Arab world can move beyond regarding politics as a zero-sum game. In recent Arab history, winners take all, and losers go to jail. ''This is the first time ever that power has been transferred without a coup, a killing or a hereditary shift,'' a senior Iraqi official told me by phone, ``with the single exception of Lebanon.'' [...] (Miami Herald)

Allan Wall: National Question Real Victor In Iraq Elections. Twenty-two months after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraq held an election. Voters chose a provisional assembly charged with drafting the country's permanent constitution. I am currently in Iraq, serving with my National Guard unit. We were here on Election Day and did our duty. So I played my small part in this historic occasion. Saddam Hussein was a mass-murdering megalomaniac who deserved to be overthrown. But what kind of Iraq will emerge now? That's what remains to be seen. In order to appreciate the challenges Iraq faces, we have to recognize what kind of country it really is. Iraq is a 20th-century multicultural concoction. [...] (Memo From Mesopotamia at

Poll: Americans not convinced Iraqi elections have hastened U.S. troops departure timing. (AP via Boston Globe)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The number of coalition military forces killed by hostile actions has declined significantly since Iraq's Jan. 30 election, according to military officials. (KRT Wire)

Iraqi elections draw varying opinions. President's role seen differently. (The East Carolinian)

Bashdar Ismaeel: Democracy, act 1. The much hailed and maligned milestone for the staging of democratic elections in Iraq on January 30 has now passed. On the surface, a remarkable milestone has been set. This represents the first democratic election in Iraq for more than 50 years and signifies a glimmer of hope that a true democracy, seemingly a traditional taboo in the Middle East, can prevail, even in the face of the conspicuous ethnic mosaic in Iraq. Just as important for the US in particular, the elections convey a strong message against the fight on terrorism, that the will of the people can overcome insurgency, oppression and trepidation. For many Iraqis, with a newfound feeling of freedom and optimism, going to the polls was too good an opportunity to turn down, even in the face of possible death. [...] (Asia Times)

Juan Cole on Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Iraqi Elections and the Future of Islamic Law in Iraq (Democracy Now!)

Letter: Iraq elections over, future in doubt (Gloucester Daily Times)

Faleh A. Jabar: The Paradoxes of Iraq's Election Last] Sunday's announcement, 13 days after the poll took place, of the results of Iraq's first contested elections in half a century, will determine the make up of local provincial government, the Kurdish regional government and, most importantly, the constituent assembly charged with drafting the permanent constitution. (

Editorial excerpt: On the success of Iraq's elections. The Iraqi election results . . . revealed that 58 percent of registered voters cast their ballots. This was remarkably brave, considering the intense violence and intimidation against the poll by insurgents. The results prove many things; above all that the insurgency is not a popular uprising against the U.S.-led occupation. Most Iraqis probably want the Americans and their allies to leave, but would prefer to effect that peacefully -- through the ballot. . . . So it's still a long road to freedom. But at least Iraqi democracy now has a chance, which it did not have when Saddam Hussein was holding sway. Whatever happens now, the elections proved what should perhaps have been obvious, that democracy and the love of freedom are universal values. From Soweto, to Harare to Basra, if you give people even half a run at a ballot box, they will take it. (The Star, Johannesburg, South Africa via Miami Herald)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

In a sign that political jockeying for the job of Iraqi prime minister isn't over, Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi on Wednesday named a new coalition to challenge Ibrahim al-Jaafari for the post. At a news conference with other supporters, Allawi indicated his backing is broader than the list he fielded in January's election, but he didn't provide details. (CNN)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The United Iraqi Alliance, Iraq's main Shiite political coalition, has named Ibrahim al-Jaafari as its nominee to be the country's next prime minister, an Iraqi political official said.

The official, a member of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said that Ahmad Chalabi, another candidate for the post, dropped out of consideration. Al-Jaafari told CNN last week that he would accept the prime minister position if he was offered it. (CNN)