March 14, 2010

UPDATE 5 - Iraq's Elections

It's basically a MESS. A HUGE MESS.

Too many contradictory statements from the Western Press and Arabic Press.

I've been perusing Azzaman, Al-Sharqiya, Al-Jazeera and AP reports and I see no coherence.

Let's start with the ridiculous first.

Al-Jazeera in a special report on the HEC, (High Electoral Commission) states "it's difficult to convey in words quite how remarkable a place the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC ) is at the moment. Its guiding principles – openness, transparency, accessibility – prevail, even under the pressure of this critical moment in Iraqi politics..." You'd think this is a statement from the White House... oh well, it nearly is...

Yet the Iraqiya bloc has affirmed again that "that ballots were dumped in the garbage, nearly a quarter of a million soldiers were denied voting rights and electoral commission workers fiddled with vote counts" but that it also filed complaints with the UN security council and UNAMI because innocent residents of Adhamiya (a Sunni area in Baghdad) are being harassed and arrested by the Iraqi army and that Al-Iraqiya candidates are being threatened, 7 days after the voting has been over. 

Al Iraqiya is asking that the final results be released immediately, and that this delay is causing a state of chaos...

There was in fact chaos today in Baghdad, and in the HEC that has been so praised by Al-Jazeera - when the HEC published partial vote results for Baghdad then withdrew them...leaving ordinary Iraqis in total confusion...

AP on the other hand, confirms that Maliki is leading the votes in Baghdad...when only 28% of the votes have been counted so far for Baghdad... (AP report ). AP knows something that ordinary Iraqis don't -- namely that the US wants the sectarian Shiite party of Al-Dawa to rule Baghdad. But look at this utterly grotesque introduction to the report :

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's political coalition took an early vote lead Saturday in the election's all-important battleground of Baghdad, pulling away from its two closest rivals in the latest indication that Iraqis want a moderate government instead of Shiite religious hard-liners leading the postwar nation.

According to AP, Maliki's Dawa Party is a moderate party and none sectarian, when the whole political issue s "national reconciliation" and its impossibility is precisely due to  the sectarian character of Al-Maliki's government and  other Shiite parties, thanks to their application of the "sectarian quota system" (in Arabic it's called Al- Mukhasasa El-Taefiyeh) - a phrase that is repeated by many Iraqis, but trust AP to deliberately ignore that fact. It is truly amazing ! But do read the article because at least it shows the mess of the HEC contrary to Al-Jazeera's praise for it. AP is even more truthful than Al-Jazeera... Amazing again !

However, according to Al-Sharqiya quoting Reuters, (and this report is more accurate than both AP and Al-Jazeera) a spokesman for Maliki's state of Law said that Maliki did not get enough votes to form a majority coalition government and is seeking an alliance with the Kurdish group and of course INA -- as this other AP report clearly points out. It remains to be seen if INA will want to join Maliki or if they are awaiting  fresh orders from Iran as stated in my previous updates.

So against a background of a well thought out and planned chaotic electoral mess, political blocs are scurrying into forming coalitions;

Allawi was in Erbil and had non definitive talks with Kurdish Barazani
Adel Abdel Mehdi of INA (Iraqi National Alliance) has been having talks with Talabani and Barazani
Ammar Al-Hakeem of INA has been having talks with Talabani.
Maliki having talks with INA - well that's expected. See link above.
And Al-Khafaji, spokesperson for the Sadrists of Muqtada A-Sadr the chief driller and sectarian assassin, affirmed to the Iraqi press that " the Sadrists will play a primary and essential role in the new government."

Now -- to the partial election results which are taking ages to be counted...

In the overall count, it seems to be a close contest between Maliki and Allawi and INA coming out in 3rd place.

So far Allawi/Iraqiya is leading in Nineveh, Salahedeen, Diyala while Maliki is leading in Kerbala and Basra
The typical, classical division as per the US occupier's agenda - partition of Iraq into South, Center and North.

For Nineveh these are the figures I managed to get : Iraqiya leading with 62'000 votes, Kurdish Alliance 19'000 votes, Tawafuq 9'000. State of Law 2'000 votes.

In Salahedeen - Iraqiya got 65% of the votes and we are assured that by Monday the counting for this province will be over...

In Kerbala, Maliki is leading by 15'000, followed by INA 6'940 votes, and Iraqiya 3'000 votes.

In Basra, the special votes have been finally counted. But only the "special votes". No one really knows what these "special votes" stand for. It can be the armed forces or the IDP's or both..only God knows. Anyway, Maliki is leading in Basra followed by INA and Iraqiya is in 3rd place.

And of course in Erbil and Sulaymaniya the Kurdish Alliance leads but mum's the word on Kirkuk.

Q.Aboudi of HEC has assured us that the votes for the provinces will be over by Sunday but that "some ballot boxes are quarantined" i.e held up and not included in the vote count. Again no reason given.

As for the votes outside of Iraq - oh well they're still counting...

In Syria the director of the voting centers, said they're still counting
In Jordan - they started the count on Friday 12th March  like a week after the elections and many votes are being excluded even though no legal reasons were given for their exclusion...so basically they're still counting...

Meanwhile a car bomb in Dora killed 2 and wounded 19 Iraqis
3 killed in Mosul
1 in Ghazaliya Baghdad
and a couple in Rawa - Anbar...

But despite the mess and the regular bombs, Al-Jazeera assures us that in 7 days, the transformation for Iraqis has been striking and that  Iraqis are very optimistic about their future -- they were even filmed smiling and having a little fun in dried out parks, with hardly any grass, riding a merry go round...this must be liberation !