Monday, January 31, 2005

Juan Cole and Kucinich on the Iraqi Elections 

Juan Cole on the elections. He has an excellent report; it is not to be missed:

The idea, mentioned by Condoleeza Rice on Sunday, that any significant number of Fallujans voted, is absurd and insulting. Most of the 250,000 Fallujans are still in exile, and the city is still occasionally the scene of fighting. There are reports of some voting in refugee camps outside the city. It is almost certainly motivated by a desire to have a legitimate, elected government that could effectively demand a US withdrawal.

Although some observers seem to be optimistic about the Sunni Arab vote, from what I could find out Sunday night, the signs were not actually good.

As for the neighbors, this Turkish author clearly fears both the religiosity of the Shiite party and the possible subnationalism of the Kurds.

In contrast, Iran clearly expects to benefit from the likely Shiite victory in the elections.

posted by Juan @ 1/31/2005 06:18:21 AM

Also, Dennis Kucinich's predictions five days before the elections:

It is clear, in just five days before the Iraqi elections are to be held, that it will be impossible to conclude anything about the extent to which corruption, voter intimidation or outright fraud will mar the results. The exercise will regrettably be a farce. The results will have no recognized legitimacy whatsoever, and surely do not merit association with the United States' notions of democracy.

"The elections will not yield certifiable results due to the pitifully small number of election observers, and the total absence of international election observers from the process. Indeed, according to the Washington Post, this is the first transitional election in the past two decades that will not have international election observers touring polling stations. As you know, international monitors have independently observed and evaluated elections throughout the world and have helped to point out when they are fraudulent and when they are legitimate."

In previous transitional elections across the world, the international community has sent teams of observers to polling sites. International observers have observed recent transitional elections in Nigeria in 1999, Haiti in 1990, East Timor in 2001-2002, and most recently in the second runoff election in the Ukraine.