Did the Elections Make things Worse?
Hannah Allam of Knight Ridder raises the question of whether the January 30 elections made the situation in Iraq worse. Allam writes,
“Two weeks of intense insurgent violence have made it crystal clear that Iraq’s parliamentary elections, hailed in late January as a triumph for democracy, haven’t helped to heal the country’s deep divisions. They may have made them worse. The historic election sheared off a thin facade of wartime national unity and reinforced ethnic and sectarian tensions that have plagued Iraq for centuries. Iraqis immediately began playing the roles the election results delivered to them: victorious Shiite Muslim, assertive Kurd, disaffected Sunni Arab. Within those groups lies a mosaic of other splits, especially between secularists and Islamists vying for Iraq’s soul.”
I told you at the time that the elections were not a Mardi Gras for Americans and they would be sorry if they took them that way.
The main pumping station for the oil pipeline in the north to Turkey was bombed on Friday, halting Iraqi attempts to resume exports via that route.
Wire services report, “In other violence, a suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden car into a truck transporting 40 Iraqi soldiers in Baquba, killing two soldiers and a civilian and wounding six others, said security officials.”
PM Ibrahim Jaafari extended the state of emergency in the country in the face of a massive bombing campaign.
Shaikh Sadruddin al-Qubanji, Friday prayer leader in Najaf for the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, called Friday for a purge of former Baathist high officials in the Iraqi government, of whom he said there were 100,000. The leading Shiites are determined to fire all ex-Baathists, many of whom are Sunni Arab.
The Washington Post finally took the plunge and did a story on the leaked British intelligence memo that shows that President Bush had decided to go to war in Iraq by summer of 2002, and that the “intelligence” would be “fixed” around the “policy.” It is a mystery as to why, however, it has taken so long for the editors to break the story in the US. Knight Ridder did a report late last week, and the bloggers have blogged the hell out of it. My own post on the matter last week rose high on the Daypop.com index. Kudos to Walter Pincus for laying out the story in D.C.