Iran did not Lose the Provincial Elections

It is being alleged by US pundits that the outcome of the provincial elections in Iraq, as far as it is known, indicates a defeat for the religious parties and for Iran.

This allegation is not true. In the Shiite provinces, the coalition of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the Islamic Mission Party (Da’wa) will continue to rule. Both parties are close to Tehran, and leaders of both spent time in exile in Iran. Da’wa appears to have become more popular than ISCI. But Da’wa was founded in the late 1950s to work for an Islamic republic in Iraq, and current leader Nuri al-Maliki has excellent relations with the Iranian leadership.

Da’wa is more “lay” in the composition of its leadership, which is made up of lawyers, physicians and other white collar types. ISCI has more clerics at the top, though it also comprises technocrats such as VP Adil Abdul Mahdi. But Da’wa will need Iranian economic and development aid just as much as previous governments did.

In the Sunni provinces there appears to have been a turn to more secular parties, but neither the Sunni fundamentalists nor the Arab nationalists have much use for Iran to begin with.

The Kurdish leadership is also quite close to Iran. They will have elections in May.

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