View Full Version : Prof. Juan Cole latest on elections

12-03-2004, 01:27 AM
for some reason this stuff isn't anywhere as interesting as Ann Coulter or Dan Rather.

Friday, December 03, 2004
Election News

Al-Hayat says that the Sunni tribal shaikhs with whom Prime Minister Iyad Allawi met in Jordan on Thusday pleaded with him to postpone the elections. The leader of the Sunni clans of the Dulaim, Majid Ali Sulaiman, told al-Hayat that the shaikhs of the Iraqi tribes "meet Allawi during the past two days, and requested him to postpone the elections to a time when the Iraqi leadership feels it is able to carry them out without security problems." He said Allawi told himm that the election date was set by the United Nations Security Council, and that he should apply to it to have the date changed. Shaikh Muhsin al-Shamari confirmed that 90% of the Sunni Arab personalities who met with Allawi expressed their desire for a postponement.

KarbalaNews.net alleges that one of the severe security problems is increasing Sunni-Shiite violence. The city of Samarra north of Baghdad has been a base for radical Sunni Arab guerrillas and is the site of continued violence. Samarra has a Shiite minority, especially clustered around the shrine of the 10th and 11th Imams or vicars and descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. KarbalaNews.net says the Shiite minority has been ordered out of Samarra by radical Sunnis, who threatened them with being exterminated if they tried to stay. Likewise, it reports Sunni-Shiite violence in Babil province, and complains that the Sunnis have just set up four small seminaries in largely Shiite areas. Madrasahs or seminaries have often in recent years been used to train cadres of Sunni holy warriors, as with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the Shiites in Latifiyah say they are afraid these madrasahs will graduate fanatical Sunnis who will spy on and attack local Shiites.

KarbalaNews.net is also reporting more on the issues that led 38 small Shiite parties to threaten to withdraw from the mega-Shiite list being cobbled together by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

It says that some secularists were uncomfortable at the number of seats being given to believers in wilayat al-faqih or Khomeini's theory of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent. Altogether, 40 percent of seats are being allocated to the religious parties, and it is possible that some of the independents hold similar views.

The article maintains that the secularists were disturbed that all the 50 women on the list veil. Two out of every 6 names on the list, in descending order, must be women. Although this regulation was put in because the UN and Americans thought that women would be progressives in parliament, the religious Shiites have simply put up conservative Shiite women. The secular parties are objecting, and clearly hoping to get some of these veiled women replaced with secular middle class ones.

The Shiite megalist, according to Badr Corps figure Abdul Husain Abtan, will include some Kurdish figures from the minority Shiite Failis. Although the majority of the 4 million Iraqi Kurds is Sunni, Shiites tend to vastly exaggerate the number of Failis, claiming 1.5 to 2.5 million. It is impossible to know without a proper religious census, but based on general impressions I would hazard a very rough guess Failis constitute about an 1/8 of Kurds, i.e. half a million.

Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani held a joint press conference to announce a joint, separate Kurdish list. One third of its candidates will be Kurdish Democratic Party, one third will be Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and one third will be from other, smaller Kurdish parties. The two major Kurdish figures admitted that the Turkmen had refused to cooperate with this joint list. They said that they hope the Sunni Arabs will participate. (- Kurdish Satellite TV via BBC World Monitoring).

They said that the Kurds had no particular desire for a delay in the elections, but that if they were delayed, the Kurds would have no objection. The Kurdish leaders appeared to back off from earlier demands that Kirkuk residents not vote in the election. Kirkuk, a city of about one million, is about evenly distributed, with one third each Turkmen, Arabs and Kurds. But this result was achieved artificially by Saddam, who expelled many Kurds and imported many Arabs from the South. Many Kurds insist on the return of Kirkuk to Kurdistan, reversing Saddam’s Arabization. This demand is vehemently rejected by the Turkmen and Arabs