Tommy Pain

Hardcore Common Sense and a Proud Member of the Reality-Based Community

Monday, January 24, 2005

Future of Iraq

I've not had a lot to say. I'm sure not many come by here. So this is just for the record...

Iraqi Elections come up in just a week. Everyone is talking about how tough the resistance will be for the next week, and how many attack will be launched on election day. They have made a sham of the democratic process in order to improve security.

Iraqi's don't know who they are voting for. A third still think they will be voting for a president. Candidates are afraid to reveal themselves, because 8 have been assassinated and dozens of others have been threatened. The borders will be closed. To reduce the number of points to guard, they have cut the number of polling locations down to 5000, for 15-20 million potential voters - 3000 voters per station, IF they are evenly distributed (and they will not be). The polling locations will not be identified "until the last minute", whatever that means. They cannot use the "indelible ink" they used in afghanistan to prevent repeat voters, because marked people will be prime targets for the resistance, and voters will refuse to be marked in many areas.

The head of Iraqi security says there are 200,000 rebellion sympathizers, people who will protect the fighters and may be leaning towards violence themselves. They claim there could be as many as 250 car bombs ready to go. And the people them selves are pretty angry - the country has recieved power only a few hours a day, and people wait in lines for a half day at a time to pay 80X what they used to for gasoline. Bagdad hasn't had water for the last day, with no explanation.

But as bad as it will likely be, I don't think it will come close to what will come afterwards.

You see, this is only a big moment for Bush and his cronies. This election means nothing to the resistance - they were fighting before, and they will be fighting afterwards. They cannot cancel the election, and they probably cannot control its legitimacy. It will be proclaimed as a magnificent victory for "freedom" no matter if 5% of the country votes. I predict it will be in the 30%-50% range.

But they can destroy the process afterwards, and start the civil war.

All Iraqis are voting for is party power. 275 delegates will be apportioned to those parties based on the outcome for one purpose - writing a new constitution. The interim constitution nearly collapsed several times, and was only completed because it was temporary - everyone figured it wasn't worth getting too worked up over, especially since the CPA still had near complete control anyway.

This time its for all the marbles. Kurds will want real autonomy. Sunnis will want protection from retribution and power comparable to what they had in Hussein's day, plus a continuation of the secular government. The shi'ites want near total power (as the majority population group), the right to prosecute bathists, the oil wealth that was denied to them, and the right to live by Islamic law. Exile groups want power and authority and a chance to rip the wealth of the country to their own interests, financed through the wealth the CIA and DIA have showered them with. The US wants the profits from Iraqi oil, reconstruction contracts for US contractors, a government friendly to Israel, and at least 14 permanent bases in Iraq to further project power in the Mideast.

These groups don't trust each other. Sure, the regular people largely don't hate each other, and couldn't care less about the politics so long as they can feel secure, fed and comfortable again. But that can be changed.

Because after the election, the resistance will have something new - Targets. They will know the politicians. They will know the parties. People will have somehting invested in these targets, because they voted for them. They are their representitives.

So killing them will be far more effective than any of the attacks on the US soldiers and puppets currently being killed - Iraqis are already ambivalent or hostile towards them. The people getting ready to vote are putting their hopes into their votes (even if they don't really know what they are voting for) - interview after interview with Iraqis favoring the elections shows this.

Now the outsiders hoping to keep the country unstable will have a means to that end - they can kill off representives of the people, during the constitutional process when it will have a lot of meaning. Kill off the already under represented Sunnis, and the sunnis suspect the Shia of involvement. Kill Shia, and they suspect Sunnis. Kill Kurds, and they suspect everyone. Everyone blaims the US for the lack of security (and rightfully so). Those who bought the line that the elections would be a turning point will have their hopes crushed, and they will be angry.

The elections will happen. But they will lead to greater instability and more attacks by the resistance.