Monday, August 20, 2007
Another Story of Iraq
If you were to judge only from the opinions of Iraq bloggers writing in English, you would have expected Iyad Allawi's party to have cleaned the clocks of all other in the Autumn 2005 Iraqi elections. In fact, it barely registered at all.
Also, remember when there was the belief about Iraq that it was so educated and secular, that there was so little religious animostity, that democracy could be begun there without the pitfalls of most of the other Middle Eastern, Muslim-dominated countries?
Frankly the same class of people tended to be responsible for the world's acceptance of these opinions: Educated, secular, upper-class, Sunni Arab Iraqis. It's not just blogs. Western reporters tended to draw their sources from this class of Iraqis because they spoke English well and seemed more Westernized.
Today, the Iraqi bloggers asserting that democracy is just not possible for Iraq, that Iraq requires a strongman, are drawn from this same demographic.
How about another opinion? Talisman Gate has lately been providing posts that are so divorced from the myths and presumptions of any ethnic group in Iraq, so (to my ears) wholly objective, that I'd bet any appendage I had two of that he is right. I haven't had this feeling about a blogger since Ali at Free Iraqi stopped posting.
Check out his last three posts on the cause and effects of the political dead-lock in Iraq and what will become of it. Theres a lot there but essentially he says that the Iraqi Kurds and Iraqi Shi'a are learning to play politics as it ultimately WILL be played in a representative Iraqi democracy. Meanwhile, the old-school Iraqi Sunni leadership is playing the failed politics of threatened violence and revolution: "Do what we want 'cause we might morph back into psychopaths at any moment if we're not appeased". He is also not nearly so glossy-eyed about Allawi as a lot of other Iraqi bloggers.
The latest dramatic showdown was orchestrated by the Sunni leaders who have most to lose from these mellowing developments; it was the work of Adnan Duleimi, who got voted out of his role as head of the ‘Sunni’ Consensus (Tawafuq) parliamentary bloc of 44 seats, and Khalaf Alayan, who is one of the top three leaders of the bloc along with Duleimi and Tariq Hashemi of the Islamic Party. Alayan is accused of colluding with terrorism, a charge that was freshly made once again a few days ago by President Jalal Talabani.
That is the fastest way to get the Sunnis to sober up and come to terms with their demographic numbers and their past and current shame as champions of a violent approach in dealing with their next-door neighbors.
The Sunnis of Iraq believed that their talent and proclivity for violence would matter more than Shiite and Kurdish numbers; if only they could hurt America enough, then they’d get power that is disproportionate to their votes.