The weekend’s elections in Iraq were a huge success for the Iraqi people. The remarkably peaceful day of voting on Saturday – and the interim results – give good reason to hope Iraq really is on the way to building a decent society.
The peaceful polling was remarkable and so were the results. All the Islamic parties lost ground, especially that associated with the so-called “Shia firebrand”, Moqtada al-Sadr, whose share of the vote went down from 11% to 3%. The principal Sunni Islamic party, the Islamic Party of Iraq, was wiped out.
The only Islamic party to gain ground was the Dawa party of the Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki – and even that party dropped the word Islamic from its name. The power of Maliki, who has emerged a stronger leader than expected, is further enhanced by these elections. Now no Islamic parties will be able to control any provinces on their own. The election is thus a big defeat for Iran which had hoped that Shia religious parties would control the south and enable Iran to turn them into a mini Shia republic.
(Via Hot Air Headlines)
The real eyebrow-raiser for this comes at the end, when William Shawcross notes the architects of victory: “If so, who deserves some credit? The much maligned President Bush. And Tony Blair.” Not so much for the concept, which is self-evident for anybody who’s been paying attention for the last few years – but for the fact that it’s showing up in The Guardian, which has been up to this point an utterly reliable conduit for antiwar agitprop. Even an upgrade to “usually reliable” is a positive sign.
And not before time, either.