Friday, March 26, 2010
My feel is that the results likely have been tampered with at some point during the process between when the votes were cast and when they were reported weeks later, but so far I have not seen persuasive evidence that this is the case. I don't give Iraq the same presumption of fairness I give Iran for several reasons, one being that Iran is not under foreign occupation with an asset of the foreign power's security establishment on the ballot. Another being that Iran's system, where votes are counted locally with representatives of the candidates able at each station to witness the counts, which are then publicized, is actually very transparent.
So far I have not found a reasonable explanation of what has been happening for the over two weeks between when the votes were cast and the report of the results. This is not proof that results were being doctored over this time, but unlike in Iran's case one cannot say that specific people from multiple factions would know if a particular voting district was reported incorrectly. I'm not sure Iraqi results have been released with sufficient detail that if the numbers have been altered the people who actually counted the votes would even know.
On the other hand, what I think about Iraq's election does not matter any more than what I think about Iran's election. Assuming the Shiites are victims of electoral fraud, what is important is the resources they can bring to bear to salvage their political situation. The situation is still fluid. We do not know if there is going to be an attempt to seat Allawi as Prime Minister or what seats in what positions he'll ask to be filled by people favorable to the United States.
What we do know is that the United States does not intend, if it can help it, to leave Iraq to parties sympathetic to Iran. The US under Obama, in this and several other respects, is actually more confrontational with Iran that the US was towards the end of George W. Bush's term.
Bush was moved away from his confrontational stance at the urging of the military because Iran's help was needed to restrain Shiite anti-US armed organizations. It seems that until Iran re-establishes a credible threat to damage US interests in a way that the US military will respond to, which unfortunately means deaths of US soldiers, the United States will not seek cooperation and agreement with Iran regarding Iraq.
The process is still too fluid for me to begin to see what is going to emerge as Iraq's post 2010 election power structure. The Shiites have been put on notice that their control of the country is being challenged with the support of the United States. We have to see how they will respond to this challenge.
Posted by Arnold Evans at 3:12 PM