Voice in the Wilderness

The news about the "war on terror" your local newspaper won't print.

Monday, December 27, 2004

'Accommodations'? 'Accommodations'?!!

Monday's announcement by Iraq's largest Sunni political party that it is withdrawing from next month's elections opens the door to exactly what the Bush administration least expected: another Shiite Islamic republic, across the water from Iran. Worse for the U.S.: It knocks the perceived legitimacy of this gunboat experiment in democracy totally out of the ballpark, reports Michael Howard in Sulaimaniya in today's Manchester Guardian:
Ensuring fair representation of Iraq's once all-powerful Sunni minority - which comprises about 20% of the population - is seen as crucial to Iraq's future stability. One of Iraq's most prominent Sunni political figures, Adnan Pachachi, has warned that voter turnout could be just 5% in places where the insurgents appear most entrenched.

A western diplomat in Baghdad said: "The effective disenfranchisement of the Sunni Arabs could have dire consequences for the political security of Iraq. We can't afford to marginalise the Sunnis even further. It will do nothing to stem the rising tide of factionalism and sectarianism."
Sunni representation is so key to the impression of a united democratic Iraq that the U.S. even offered to rig the results to get Sunni seats. This revelation reported by the Daily Star of Lebanon and picked up by other newspapers that don't include the Des Moines Register elicited low sardonic chuckles from the crowd who realize that the Bushies would rather surf tsunamis than damage the true will of the people. Nevertheless, there it was for all with a true newspaper to see:
In reaction to a U.S. bid to stem strong Sunni opposition to the elections, Iraq's Electoral Commission spokesman Farid Ayyar described the request as "unacceptable" interference, saying: "Who wins, wins. That is the way it is. That is the way it will be in the election."

U.S. diplomats in Baghdad, at pains to keep their role in the election discreet, declined comment on a New York Times report from Washington which said Sunnis might be granted extra seats if the community's vote was judged to have been too low.

U.S. officials have expressed concern that if the ballot on Jan. 30 fails to reflect Iraq's sectarian and ethnic mix due to violence and boycotts in Sunni areas, then the assembly will lack legitimacy.

But any attempt to fix the proportion of seats going to the main groups in advance could have the same effect.
It was bad enough that one of the proponents of this Rove-ian solution to a bogus election was a Republican, Dick Lugar of Indiana. But he was aided and abetted by none other than the Senate's top Dem on the Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, according to Bloomberg News:
"They're going to have to make some kind of agreement that the Sunnis will be protected in their rights," Levin, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on ABC's "This Week." "There can be political understandings that are worked out publicly by astute politicians. That's been done in many countries, and it can be done here."
Accommodations? Accommodations? Does the Hon. Sen. Levin forget about the "accommodations" that enabled George W. Bush to ascend to the throne four years ago? Was the Hon. Sen. Levin thinking about "accommodations" when he gave hosannas for the Help America Vote Act of 2002? Lest the Hon. Sen. Levin forgot, he said, in a press release dated Oct. 16, 2002:
"Florida's voting problems in 2000 served as a national wake-up call for election reform," said Levin. "We all believe that every vote should count. This bill is intended to ensure that the 2 ½ million votes that didn't count in the last presidential election, count in the next."
Everywhere but Florida, Ohio and Iraq, apparently, where some votes for some candidates count more than others.


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