December 21, 2005


After Iraq'selection: The parliamentary elections in Iraq represent the conclusion of one of the most successful processes from tyranny to democracy in history (Bartle Bull, January 2006, Prospect)

With the election on 15th December of a new four-year national parliament, Iraqis have concluded one of the most successful constitutional processes in history. Rarely, if ever, before has an important country moved from tyranny to pluralism so quickly, with so little bloodshed, and with such a quality and degree of popular participation.

The popularity of Iraq’s new constitution (approved by 80 per cent of voters in October’s referendum) and the similarly singular scale of voter turnout in this election (above 70 per cent, according to preliminary estimates) mean that the government formed by the new Iraqi parliament will enjoy a degree of legitimacy that is peerless in the middle east and unsurpassed globally. The Iraqi achievement, seen in its context – a national psyche brutalised by 30 years of sectarian totalitarianism, the presence of 170,000 foreign soldiers, and highly politicised ethnic and sectarian divides – is uniquely impressive.

I decided, having spent the January election season living on various floors in the huge Baghdad slum of Sadr City, to spend the latest election period with the other major Iraqi demographic group that, having suffered most under the rule of the Ba'ath party, now has the most to gain from the new freedom: the Kurds. (The Marsh Arabs suffered perhaps worst of all under the Ba'athists, but with a population of about 20,000 are barely electorally significant compared to the Kurds or the Shia urban poor.)

What I saw in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan regional government, was dancing in the streets.

How would German views of WWII be different if we'd only had to kill 30,000 of them to get rid of Hitler?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 21, 2005 3:43 PM

They'd probably be even more convinced that only a tiny group supported the Nazis and that the average German was really not aware of what was going on and/or trying his best to resist?

Posted by: Daran at December 21, 2005 4:17 PM

They would have tried it again.

Posted by: Brandon at December 21, 2005 6:00 PM

Well, there's a brewing election fraud scandal over there right now, so, hold your breath.

Posted by: Twn at December 21, 2005 6:17 PM

The fraud charges come only because the Sunnis can't believe they are only 20% of the population and have no hope of returning to the good old days persecuting the Shia.

Posted by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 21, 2005 7:00 PM
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