The Iraq Provincial Election

Silva_miss_iraq_02 "Polls opened shortly after dawn after a step-by-step security clampdown across the country, including traffic bans in central Baghdad and other major cities and closure of border crossings and airports. Voting ended 11 hours later with no reports of major violence, though voters at some polling stations complained that their names did not appear on lists. Balloting was extended for one hour to accommodate voters.

Officials said counting would begin Sunday with preliminary results are not expected before Tuesday."  Yahoo News


With voting completed in the Iraq provincial election and results not yet announced I reckon that this is an appropriate time to speculate on the outcome and the implications for the future of Iraq and the US effort there.  pl

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16 Responses to The Iraq Provincial Election

  1. Cloned Poster says:

    a brunette and no thong?

  2. Tacitus says:

    Who is the attractive young woman?

  3. JTCornpone says:

    It is a sad world when an election where a total of four candidates and two election workers are murdered counts as peaceful.
    As to the future, I suspect the election per se will have little effect in the long run. As I recall when we went into Iraq Saddam had a roughly 400,000 man army, heavily weighted with Sunnis of course. I doubt that 10% of that army has been killed. More likely they are heavily represented in the 10% of the Iraqi population which has fled to neighboring countries or are in segregated ethnic enclaves in Iraq. Most of the old Iraqi army is still out there with men, officers and light weapons and waiting. Some are keeping in training in the Sons of Iraq. If the election keeps the Shia in power which it’s sure to do then the future depends on how they treat the losers. I’m afraid the Sunni won’t be satisfied in the long run and violence may ensue. Imagine how the Republican riot in Miami which stopped the 2002 Florida recount might have turned out if every third citizen was armed with AK47s and RPGs. Trouble seems likely down the road as resentments build and the US forces dwindle if the election comes out as expected. If we have managed to train up a credible Iraqi Shia army the struggle, if it develops, will be long.
    I would guess your photo was meant to generate some specific meditation on how the election would affect the future treatment of women in Iraq. Ms. Shahakian was the fourth runner-up Miss Iraq. The winner and second and third runners-up declined the crown due to threats on their lives.
    That was 2006 but I doubt that the election will improve Silva’s life in any way. The Sunni are too few to win back their old lifestyle politically. The good old days in Iraq for women when they could go to universities, work, and dress as in the photo are, like the two state solution, suspended pending the outcome of a probable civil war.

  4. Watcher says:

    I think I saw her in Mosul for the 2005 elections. Rwar!

  5. Will says:

    juan cole has this provincial election covered. it turns out there was a pre-election for a segment of the the populi which gave a preview.
    Some of the predictions from his site and comments: Sadrists in Basra take a hit, No Sunni boycott like five years ago, Sadrists and Sunnis vote as a bloc in Baghdad, small secular and nationalist parties make some gains. It is to be seen whether Kurds continue to deny the ballot to Turkomans and Christians in areas they control. The Kurdish Autonomous Province itself is not voting at this date.
    The Shia are not voting as on list b/ are split. Maliki supporters come out ahead. The parliamentarty elections are in December.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    But she is Armenian – not subject to Muslim Law.
    I mean no disrespect but Armenian women have been famous for being highly competent wives; beauty was never their claim to fame.

  7. Patrick Lang says:

    What I am interested in is what your opinions are as to how the country will allocate power on a local level. pl

  8. NPR had a pretty good report today:
    This interview stood out for me when I heard it:
    “This time it will be against the sectarian ideology, against those who want to partition Iraq. This time I am voting for my country. I will vote for a nationalist party.”
    Personally, I think this relatively successful election can now give us the reason to leave.

  9. Watcher says:

    I honestly don’t think allocation of votes/power will advance beyond tribal and or religious lines. We had massive numbers of voters turn out in Ninewah province in 2005, which in the surface was great news for us, but later analysis of the voting country wide showed that the great majority of voters were Shia or Shia aligned and the Sunnis basically stayed home. In the ensuring years, I can’t recall anything that would indicate the mindset has changed to the point that voter loyalties would now shift to the candidate who could do the best job for the electorate, but rather reverts back to the mindset that tribal leaders do the best for the tribe and will vote for those who the tribal leaders tell them too.
    As for which specific party takes the lead, I don’t think any call will be accurate beyond the Sunnis carrying Anbar province.

  10. barrisj says:

    The “American Footprints” blog has an excellent primer on how the voting will determine compositions of provincial/local councils; essentially, positions will be allocated on a proportional basis, and the more votes one “slate” receives, the higher number of seats are allocated to that party. Plus, there are “quotas” given to female candidates and members of “minorities” (i.e., Chaldean, Yazidis, etc.)
    The article concludes:
    “There are a couple points that could complicate the results of this election. First, the system is obviously biased towards the larger parties that have the name recognition, organization, money, and access to the media to gain enough votes to reach the minimum. The election law also says that parties that fail to reach that amount will have their votes given to the ones that do. That may lead to bitter feelings amongst both lists and voters who feel cheated by the results. The two quotas will also mean positions will be given to candidates that don’t have as many votes as other possible winners. The women quota especially, may shut out some smaller parties who have no female candidates. Last, while much has been made of the 14,000 people running for office, it’s not known how many of them are actually known by the public, and whether they are qualified. Maliki’s list is expected to do well because of the Prime Minister’s newfound popularity, but will that mean those candidates will do any better than the current provincial councils, many of which have proven to be corrupt, incompetent, and full of cronies?”
    The validity of the vote in toto is entirely dependent upon both the transparency and perceived honesty of balloting and vote-count. Sunni parties and candidates in particular will be sensitive to both the manner and results of voting, and if the upshot is simply a reinforcement of sectarian divisions (and they remain – after all – a numerical minority), then the practical outcome of voting is inevitably seen as voluntary subjection to the Shi’ite majority.
    Frankly, it’s my belief that all sides will forcefully suppress their respective violent wings in order to hasten the departure of the occupiers, thence to settle scores in the traditional manner.

  11. J says:

    I see Israel making power plays inside Iraq through their using the Kurds as their ‘tools’ to ‘acquisition’ of both Iraqi land and cities. Barzani and his family are for all intents and purposes owned by the Israelis,.

  12. Jose says:

    Hard to tell where the elections are going, because very little information is getting out unless you can read Arabic.
    I’m glad that women, minoritites, and Sunnis are voting this time around.
    But that could either be good or bad depending on which parties get elected.
    Why aren’t the Kurds voting this time around?

  13. Tyler says:

    Watcher –
    Where/who were you with in 2005? I was on Marez with B Co, 4/23.

  14. Linda says:

    I wrote an article on SIC Iraq. Here is the link:

  15. Linda says:

    Interesting article!

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