January 10, 2005

I Got A Baaaad Feeling About This

Officials: Alawi Seeks 'Limited' Delay In Iraqi Elections.

From what I gather, the interim Iraqi P.M. is beginning to buy into the "disenfrancised Sunnis" meme:

Officials said Alawi and other senior ministers have assessed that the rise in insurgency attacks in Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle would dissuade most Sunni voters from traveling to the polling stations. They said Alawi has been concerned that a Sunni boycott would mark a huge victory for Saddam Hussein loyalists.

Well, that's grand. But wouldn't postponing the elections also mark a huge victory for the bad guys? I mean, isn't that why they're, you know, killing people and blowing things up?

Alawi apparently is thinking of a delay of about a month. And what is going to magically change in the meantime?

Officials said coalition and Iraqi forces have made a dent in the violence and over the next few weeks could be utilized for an intensive effort against Saddam loyalists and the Tawhid and Jihad group headed by Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi. One option, they said, was the formation of a joint U.S.-Iraqi squad to hunt down and kill insurgency leaders.

Um....aren't we supposed to be doing that already? And if not, why not? Oh, I know....because an overwhelming show of Coalition force might..... cause Sunni voters to boycott the election!

Dammit, this is the shame chickensh*t that has dogged our thinking ever since we went in.

And as for the new last line in the sand?

Alawi's proposal would set a new date for elections that would not be revised, officials said. They said the proposed delay would comprise the final opportunity for the Sunni community to participate in an elected post-Saddam government.

Color me.....skeptical.

I hope that I'm mistaken about this, but this news has all the earmarks of a loss of nerve. (The fact that the EU and Arab States support a delay also automatically sets off my internal Red Alert sirens.) While I'm aware that Afghani elections were postponed several times, with no harm done when they finally came off, the dynamics are completely different in Iraq. This is, in effect, a power politics death match, where any sign of weakness by the government is extremely bad news and will only embolden the hoodlums. It strikes me, armchair pundit that I am, that it is too late for finesse and that the best course is for the Iraqis simply to put their heads down and charge forward with the elections as scheduled. Yes, there might very well be some kind of major attack and lots of people might get killed. But not half as many as will if the Iraqi government lets the bad guys think they can buffalo it.

UPDATE: Huh? I haven't seen a single other story about this anywhere. Unless the whole Brad Pitt/Jennifer Aniston thing is just crowding it off the wire, this might mean that the news is bogus. That would, in fact, be good. But we'll keep our eye on things.

Posted by Robert at January 10, 2005 04:06 PM
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