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Will Iraq elections be held?

By Aldanatech ·
A day after an explosion killed eight of its soldiers, the government of Ukraine just announced that it would withdraw its 1,650-member force by the middle of 2005. This decision was made after a meeting between President Leonid Kuchma and his defense and foreign ministers. Ukraine's contingent is the fourth largest in the U.S.-led military coalition and operates under Polish command in southern Iraq. Other troubling news are the fact that Baghdad?s deputy police chief, Brig. Amer Nayef, and his son, were assassinated by gunmen on Monday, Baghdad's governor was killed last week; and in Baiji, 142 Iraqi National Guardsmen have resigned in the face of insurgent attacks before the elections.

Speaking of the January 30 election in Iraq, Iraq's Kurdish parties (15% to 20% of the population) now favor pushing elections back. Even Iyad Allawi, Iraq's Shiite prime minister who has previously been a staunch supporter of the January 30 vote, has begrudgingly provided a window for postponing the vote. Iraq's Defense Minister Hazem al-Shaalan and elder Sunni statesman Adnan Pachachi also support a postponement of the election. Now that Ukraine made its decision, do you think other countries will follow? What about the election? Do you think it can be held among all this violence?

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The elections will never be held . . .

in the manner the US and its coalition partners envisage them. If Bush hasn't learnt by now, I daresay he never will, but Iraq is a country where "free, democratic, western-style elections" (either based on the US system or the UK Westminster system) simply will never work.

Doesn't anybody remember that, not so very long ago, Saddam Hussein was the darling of the US administration? So was Osama bin Laden.

That's how Iraq got hold of all those WMDs which, as of yesterday (13th) the US has now formally declared "don't exist" but which are nevertheless still hidden securely along the borders of the countries around Iraq, namely Syria, in spite of what the Iraqis would have us believe.

If these present elections go ahead in the way the US wants them to, it'll all end up exactly the same as before, give it twelve or fifteen years or so.

I'd be so bold as to predict that should the elections go ahead in the manner the US and the coalition want them to on the 30th, there will be a bloodbath -- as if there wasn't enough innocent blood being spilt already! -- something along the lines of the East Timor elections a few years ago.

Iraq is NOT a "western" country (whatever that really means!). It's a middle eastern country with a 99% Islamic population. There are two major factions, the Sunnis and the Shi'ites, plus other minor groups, namely the Kurds in the north.

What the Iraqis want is NOT a western-style democracy simply because that kind of set-up doesn't meld with an Islamic lifestyle, even a more progressive one than they've been accustomed to.

They want a country run on (mostly??) Sharia law, interpreted to meld into a progressive 21st century. Twenty-first century does NOT equal western-style democracy, before anyone jumps in and tries to tell me so.

And please, PLEASE don't start on all that rubbish about Islamic terrorists (the vast majority of the insurgents) running everything in a Taliban-style way. Wrong, people, wrong, wrong, WRONG!!!

The insurgents will butt out once they can see Iraq heading in this direction, sans US, sans coalition and sans any other nosey-parkers who just may think it's their business to give these poor, downtrodden, oppressed people any advice.

The great majority of Iraqis, perhaps well in excess of 90%, are neither downtrodden nor oppressed. Maybe it looks like that to us, but we live under a different system, so we shouldn't go criticising something we don't understand.

In any case, it's mainly due to us (the "west") at the moment that they may appear to be rather more downtrodden and oppressed than what's normal. That's because WE'RE the ones making causing them to be like that!!

Most of this 90%+ just want to get on with their lives and live in relative peace with their neighbours. They've had it up to the eyeballs with war and bloodshed; they're sick of it, as sick of it as we are if the truth be known.

True, there's the other 10% (probably less, but they whack a pretty major punch, so it seems more) who can be classed as "terrorists", or, to use the modern jargon, "Islamists".

Islamists are those Muslims (generally young men) who study in special schools called "madrassahs" where they learn (are taught) a particularly twisted version of the Qu'ran.

The Qu'ran, per se, does not advocate killing in the way the Islamists interpret it. Neither does it advocate "jihad", which, according to the French Muslim scholar, Professor Tariq Ramadan, does NOT have anything to do with "holy war".

Ramadan states that "jihad" means "struggle" (vb), in the sense of struggling within oneself to achieve "islam", or complete submission to God (Allah). Period.

Having cleared up those two little oft-quoted misconceptions, the insurgents working in Iraq will pull back once they can be assured that the US and any other "western" influences have left their country and only the Iraqi people are left to decide their own future.

I'd like to predict that, this being the case, the Iraqi people will come down heavily in favour of a 21st century (progressive) form of Islam everyone can live with. It may not quite suit us, but you can be sure it'll suit the Iraqis!

And if there's any bickering along the way while this process is being decided, well, for heaven's sake, it's the Iraqis' business, not ours! They'll get back on their feet again by themselves, without us (the "west") trying to act as their (very unwanted) crutch.

Oh, by the way, I'm not a member of the media, although I wish I was, and I'm Jewish -- with heaps of Muslim friends.


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Ahem ...

by jardinier In reply to Will Iraq elections be he ...

Well Levannah, you have certainly addressed every conceivable aspect of the topic, and thrown in a few other opinions and facts for good measure.

However, would I be correct in suggesting that the essence of your posting is that: IF elections are held in Iraq and IF a Western-style democracy is established, it is, for the various reasons you have stated, doomed to collapse sooner or later (probably sooner)?

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Iraq wants progressive Islam, not democracy . . .

by In reply to Ahem ...

Basically, yes, Julian. The US (Bush) and the coalition are all going about this in the completely wrong way. Once again, they feel that their way -- read: "western" way, even the American way if you like -- is the one and only and everyone should be, not just LIKE them, but be grateful this wonderful way has even been offered to them.

Americans see themselves as leaders of the world, or at least, the western world, and they have been led to believe that their system of government, their way of life, is the be all and end all.

I'm not sure that the word "diversity" is known to them, or at least to Bush anyway, who would undoubtedly pronounce it "diverse city" or even "diverserity". The fact remains, the Iraqis are different, they have a different culture and what may work in America and for Americans simply won't work in Iraq for Iraqis.

So if the election goes ahead as planned on January 30th, a bloodbath will follow. Civil war, if you like to call it that; Sunnis (a fifth of the population, but from where most of the insurgents are recruited) and the Shi'ias (the other four-fifths).

There's enough support, begrudgingly given though some of it is, for the election to be postponed. Even the Iraqi leaders acknowledge that if the (majority of the) Sunni population intend to boycott the election, what kind of an election is it anyway? Hardly very "equal".

Personally, unless the US and the other countries in the coalition butt out -- and soon -- and leave the Iraqis to sort out their own lives, there's going to be a helluva lot more blood spilt than need be necessary.

So maybe they'll try and cut a few throats of those on the opposing side; let them, because, believe it or not, that's their way, no matter how barbaric it may appear to us. But if the west leaves them to do their own thing, get on their feet themselves, they'll be a lot less blood than if the west stays.

I bet I'll prove right in the end, except I don't think Bush has the brains to see just how wrong he is at the moment. I don't think any of his advisers have either.

Or they have, and they're simply trying to save face so they won't look utterly ridiculous in the eyes of the world.

We make mistakes; everyone does that. Okay, the best policy is to simply say "we were wrong", pack up and get out. If you've read the other posts in this discussion, this is what Americans are asking now: "We know there's a 'plan', but where's the one that says we're moving out, going home?"

It doesn't exist, that's what. So watch this space -- if the elections go ahead, if a western-style democracy is foisted onto Iraq, then there will be a bloodbath.

I wish like **** I could be proved wrong. I hope I still may be.


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by Aldanatech In reply to Iraq wants progressive Is ...

Well you know, there is still a chance that the president will someday understand (at least to a certain point) the consequences of his blunders -- after it is already too late, of course:

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Great article, Aldnanatech

by jardinier In reply to Actually....

It will make a juicy item for my website.

[If you are interested in visiting my websites, they are listed in my peer profile].

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Perhaps you would like this one as well

by Aldanatech In reply to Great article, Aldnanatec ...

You know, maybe Bush expressed regret for saying "Bring it On", shortly after Iraqi rebels taunted him with it:

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Well hello there, Levannah

by jardinier In reply to Iraq wants progressive Is ...

I am starting to get the distinct impression that you do not have a high opinion of G.W. Bush.

Well you are certainly not alone. As a new member you would not be aware that, until about 9 months ago, this website was so top-heavy with Pro-Bush Republicans that anyone who spoke against Bush or America was flamed. [TR jargon for attacking the poster rather than the content of the posting].

When it became obvious that even the most ardent Republican Bush-supporter could no longer deny that things had gone terribly wrong in Iraq, these staunch Bush supporters fell silent -- with a couple of exceptions as you will have already discovered in this discussion.

But that's not the end of the story. When Bush was re-elected for a second term, many former Republican members expressed their horror at what damage he might do during his second term.

As an Australian, you would of course be aware that if John "arse-licker" Howard hadn't, for his own personal agenda no doubt, sent troops to Iraq, there would not have been a great deal of coverage of this debacle in our media.

However, whilst the Iraq balls-up does not significantly affect Australia, if Bush manages to wreck the US economy and bring on a recession, we will undoubtedly receive a flow-on from this.

Well did Mark Latham declare that Bush was "a dangerous person."

And for anyone reading this who is interested in the Australian political situation, please send your prayers to Mark Latham who is apparently suffering cancer of the pancreas, which will more than likely cost him the leadership of the Labor party.

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The real war is between Islam and the 21st century . . .

Thank-you, Julian. I'm so glad someone else (besides me) understands where I'm coming from. It's good to know I'm not entirely alone out here in TR country!

I've just read Aldanatech's two links in the posts above, and frankly, I can't agree more with them. But what drives me to the hair-tearing-out point is that no-one seems to be picking up on what these articles are really saying!

Or rather, the direction they are inevitably pointing in, i.e. that the war in Iraq is wrong and always was, there was never a real basis for the invasion, and the sooner the US (and the coalition) get out and leave the Iraqis to do their own thing, however barbaric that may appear to us, the better.

I'm glad President Bush has at last had the courage to stand up and admit his mistakes; well, some of them, anyway. I can understand how he, and the American people, must have felt after 9/11; it was a senseless and unnecessary evil perpetrated on innocent people and any decent person's initial reaction would be retaliation, or vengeance.

But that's caused by anger, and anger is always one of the first emotions felt in the presence of grief, the "why me?" response. What President Bush should have done was to wait until that initial angry response had passed and then plan his actions.

By all means remain a little bit angry -- you'd get nowhere without it -- but lashing out at Iraq and Saddam Hussein just because Bush assumed too many things about them was not the answer.

Of course, everyone knows now, and no doubt knew then, that Saddam had become a pretty nasty character since his initial friendship with Washington back in the 80s. It was great to see the last of him and his regime, just as it was with Hitler back in WWII, but has any solid evidence really been turned up yet to support Bush's supposition that Saddam had anything to do with either the organisation of 9/11 or that he supported Osama bin Laden?

To the best of my knowledge, the answer is no. Everything is just hearsay and speculation, much as it was with the WMDs; "wishful thinking" as we like to say.

Anyway, reading through some of the other posts in this discussion, I felt impelled to write another post and spell it all out in rather plainer language this time so that everyone could understand.

I do understand and take your warning to heart, Julian, and hope I'm not "flamed" for my audacity, although I can't say I really have a "beef" against any individual in TR -- yet! I join in the discussions because I'm interested in the topic/s, and simply put forward my views on whatever matter is under the microscope.

I daresay I can understand how polarised the American contingent here at TR must have been during and prior to the election last year -- that would have been something to participate in! Bad luck I wasn't a member then!

Perhaps it's easier for me, an outsider (i.e. non-American) to see things as they really are. When you're on the "inside" it's often hard to see the reality of a situation you're involved with. So it is with President Bush and the Iraq war.

Don't get me wrong, folks. I'm as anti-terrorism as the rest of you undoubtedly are, but we (the "west") are going about getting rid of it in entirely the wrong way. What we've got to do is butt out of all matters (and countries) Islamic and especially to get the **** out of Iraq.

Okay, what happens after that we may not like very much, or see it as barbaric or whatever, but it's NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. We've got to leave it to the Muslims to figure out their own problems with the 21st century, which is really what it all boils down to in the end.

Believe me, if they either need or want our help, you can be sure they'll ask for it. But foisting our values on them unasked simply isn't the way to go.

Okay, I've said enough for now, so I'd better get out while the going's still good. You can all continue to fight it out between yourselves, but I bet I'll be proved right in the longrun.


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How far is Iraq@!@???

by Addison In reply to Will Iraq elections be he ...

Honestly, who cares if they do, or if they don't. I am so tired of America worrying about these countries abroad, when our own backyard is messy! There's a saying that goes like this, "whenever someone uncovers someone elses flaw, it's only because their attempting to cover their own". That is what America the Great is doing.

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