Friday, February 04, 2005

Count Every Vote: According to early results, the bloc of Shiite Muslims are on track to win the Iraqi parliamentary elections. The vote count is from heavy Shiite areas, so the final tally hasn't been determined yet. But it appears interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's secular government will soon be out of power.

Some experts fear that the Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the head of the Shiite bloc, may try to create an Iranian-style theocracy in Iraq. But the candidates who follow the Ayatollah, known as the United Iraqi Alliance, are made up of secular and religious Iraqis, so it's too soon to tell what will come out of that group.

What's crucial to preventing a new theological nightmare in Iraq is a permanent constitution that limits government and protects people's individual rights (sounds familiar). The provisional constitution requires that the new constitution be approved by "two-thirds of the voters in three or more governorates". That's to assure that Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds all have a say in their new government.

Also at issue is how the Shiite dominated government will view the American presence. Truthfully, both the U.S. and the Iraqis would love for the American troops to leave post haste. But with terrorists and insurgents attacking the government and civilians, and since the new Iraqi army isn't ready yet, I doubt the incoming government will be so eager to kick out a strong army that is willing to protect their lives and their sovereignty. Personally, I would like to see a permanent U.S. military base in Iraq, a la Germany and Japan, so we can maintain a base of operations to fight the War on Terrorism. But I won't get my hopes up.


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