Saturday, March 05, 2005

Two newly elected politicians announced today that they were withdrawing from the fragile political alliance cobbled together by the country's most powerful Shiite cleric, marking the first notable fracture within the alliance. The defections expose the vulnerability of the Shiite parties even as they are struggling to form a coalition government with other political groups, and showed the limits of the influence of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the cleric who assembled the alliance. The split signaled that any talks to form a new government will likely be protracted, as rivals to the Shiites try to take advantage of weaknesses in the alliance. (New York Times)

The spiritual leader of Iraq's Shiite majority said Saturday that the clergy-led United Iraqi Alliance must finally unite and form a government one month after the country's first democratic elections. In the Shiite holy city of Najaf, al-Sistani appealed for unity among the alliance's 140 parliamentary deputies after two of its leaders dropped out to protest its inability to barter a deal with other parties - including the Kurds, who control 75 seats - to form a coalition government. (AP)

The outgoing Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi, whose list scored third in the recent elections, affirmed his interest in keeping his job on Friday, after a party bolted the winning Shia political list. The defection of the National Coalition Movement from the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) could be a boon for Allawi, whose hopes rest on splitting the Shia list and then cutting a deal with the Kurds. (The News [Pakistan])

A powerful Kurdish coalition said on Saturday that it would not back Iraq's main Shi'ite alliance in the race for prime minister without assurances that they would not impose an Islamic fundamentalist state. "Political Islam is a fact in our country. But I don't want Iraq to be tUrned into a religious, sectarian, fundamentalist state, this will not be accepted," said Barham Salih, deputy prime minister of Iraq and senior negotiator for the Kurdish bloc. (Reuters)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Talks aimed at forging an Iraq coalition government have faltered over Kurdish demands for more land and concerns that the dominant Shiite alliance seeks to establish an Islamic state, delaying the planned first meeting of Iraq’s new parliament. (

Iraq elections prove that insurgency has no political future: Rice (

Last month's balloting in Iraq is reverberating throughout the Middle East, top US Senator John McCain said, citing just-called multi-candidate presidential elections in Egypt Egypt as the most recent example of the regional sea change. (

Dov S. Zakheim: Careful What You Wish For. Elections could yield hostile fanatics instead of freedom-loving friends. The successful national elections in Palestine and Iraq, along with local elections in Saudi Arabia and continuing demonstrations in Beirut reminiscent of those in Kiev not long ago, point to an upheaval in the Middle East. Yet in none of these places is it clear that democracy will endure. It isn't even apparent that Iraq's elections mark the beginning of a secular trend toward freedom of speech, assembly and religion. After all, these elections were not the first in Iraq's history, and the previous ones were followed by a series of nasty dictatorships, of which Saddam Hussein's was the most recent and nastiest. The leading candidate for prime minister, Ibrahim Jafari, is a member of the U.S.-backed interim government and head of the Shiite-based Islamic Dawa Party. He is a staunch advocate of Islamic values and has ties to Iran. It's anyone's guess what his policies might be if he does become prime minister. [...] (LA Times)

Yes, It's All Bush's Fault. For more than three years, the Left has characterised the War on Terror, and especially the liberation of Iraq, as "Bush's War." They've also referred to Iraq as "Bush's Adventure," "Bush's Crusade" and "Bush's Folly." They were calling it "Bush's Hastily Planned, Poorly Realised and Badly Executed Diversion From the 'Real' War," but pretty much stopped when they realised that it wouldn't all fit on a Volvo-sized bumper sticker. Liberals don't understand the strategy of defeating terrorism by changing the totalitarian governments that support it. They don't get the concept that freedom reduces frustration, which in turn reduces the ability of terrorist groups to recruit. They refuse to acknowledge that Congress voted the Authorisation for Use of Military Force Against Iraq into law. They insist that the war was all Bush's idea (when they don't consider him a puppet, that is), and that every setback and problem is all Bush's fault. (Men's News Daily)

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Taking a break from the seriousness of the world, here is a little humor:

Election Leaves Iraq in 'Quagmire of Compromise'. Results of the recent democratic elections in Iraq show that voters failed to fill the power vacuum created when Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime was overthrown, and instead elected a national assembly "destined to be a quagmire of compromise."

"How can this government achieve anything without a dominant political party backed by a fiercely loyal military?" said an unnamed Iraq expert at a non-partisan American think tank, "I'm afraid you're going to hear nothing but talk and concessions from this assembly."