's new ruling elite show contempt for voters Iraq
Toby Dodge writes in The Guardian (March 29th): Those pointing to the election results as proof that Iraq has emerged from its post-invasion turmoil should take a lesson from the pages of recent history. The architects of the invasion, George Bush and Tony Blair, trumpeted the 2005 elections as a watershed moment that justified their decision to invade. Instead, those elections and the parties they empowered played a major role in driving
The first indication of problems arose in January, when the justice and accountability commission – the organisation charged with pursuing the de-Ba'athification process set in train by the Americans in 2003 – issued edicts seeking to ban 511 individual candidates and 14 party lists from the elections. On the eve of the vote the commission banned a further 50 candidates. Meanwhile, Ali Faisal al-Lami, the head of the justice and accountability commission, also ran as a parliamentary candidate, in a blatant conflict of interest indicative of a system where governmental institutions have been colonised by political parties and run as private fiefdoms.
The behaviour of both Allawi and Maliki during the count indicates their refusal to be bound rules that do not benefit them. When the count looked like it was going to favour Maliki, Allawi's organisation lodged a number of complaints alleging widespread fraud. But as the number of votes counted swung against Maliki, Allawi quickly changed his stance, saying: "The Iraqi people have honoured the Iraqiya list and chosen it to be the basis of forming the new government." Maliki also dramatically changed his opinion. "No way we will accept the results," he bluntly stated. Instead he called for a recount in order to prevent a "return to violence". If anyone failed to detect the sinister threat at the heart of his statement, he issued it in his role as head of the country's armed forces.
Further worrying trends: