Wednesday, February 04, 2009

And the counting of ballots continues

"If the results aren't acceptable, then we'll bring back the old days. We will use rifles again, and we will eliminate the Islamic Party." That's one time "Awakening" Council leader Sheik Hammid al-Hayes. Clearly all those years where the US tax payers footed the bill for him and his followers ($300 per person every month) did not have a requirement that you also take a few civics lesson in exchange for your monthly stipend. We get our way, the sheik appears to say, or out come the bullets and the guns.

He's quoted in Alissa J. Rubin and Steven Lee Myers' "As Votes Are Tallied, Former Iraqi Leader Re-emerges as Rival to Current One" (New York Times). The bulk of the article focuses on the vote counting -- which some say won't be completed until Saturday or Sunday though the paper says it will likely be Friday -- and how CIA asset Ayad Allawi has, if results hold, done very well in Salahuddin Province ("setting himself up as a potential rival to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki" -- uh, I believe he's spent the last two years plus public setting up that rivalry). Allawi opposed Paul Bremer's institution of the White House okayed de-Baathification process (preventing members of the Baath party from holding positions in the puppet government)and he's seen as a seer as a result by many quoted in the article. (The world must be full of seers -- and Cassandras -- because a whole lot of us said de-Baathification would only increase the problems.) Over in Al Anbar Province, things aren't as cozy. That's where the sheik is among many threatening violence if the Iraqi Islamic Party comes out ahead in the elections.

In fairness to Allawi, whatever his other (many faults), he is a secularist. That comes through in the article but there seems to be an effort to paint al-Maliki as such in multiple articles recently. Secularists do not outlaw a New Year's Eve Party. Secularists do not then try to soften it by saying that you can gather at your home, but NO music. That wasn't about safety and his modifications to the order made that very clear. al-Maliki is not a secularist. His minions -- especially the Ministry of the Interior -- led the waves of ethnic 'cleansing' in Baghdad.

The Los Angeles Times has really been a hot streak of late and continues it this morning. Ned Parker, Caesar Ahmed and Saif Hameed's "Absent election results, Iraq parties stake claims" grasps what is taking place currently in Iraq: People are spinning the unofficial and incomplete results. From the article:

In the absence of results in Iraq, rumors swirl and parties, full of bluster and occasional bile, make competing claims of triumph as they grasp for victory in a land where politics can be a blood sport.
Faraj Haidari, head of the High Independent Electoral Commission, said on the U.S.-funded Al Hurra satellite news channel Tuesday that he did not expect a preliminary tally before Thursday afternoon at the earliest; some officials have said it could even be Friday. That hasn't stopped political leaders from declaring victory.
Anbar province's senior political leaders sounded a bit like action movie parodies as rumors spread that the Iraqi Islamic Party had won 43% of the provincial council seats.
The head of one of the most popular Sunni Arab tribal factions, Sheik Ahmed Buzaigh abu Risha, threatened to turn his guns on the electoral commission. "If the percentage is true, then we will transfer our entity from a political to a military one, to fight the Islamic Party and the commission," he warned.

Another sheik threatening violence. And that's how you get 'action.' Remember Florida? Remember the 'Florida' voters (shipped in non-residents of the state there to cause havoc) banging on the glass walls during the recounts? Helped shut down the recounts (which was the GOP plan). All these sheiks threatening violence? The thing to do is not reward their thuggish behavior but instead they're getting the action they want. From Ernesto Londono's "Iraq Probes Possible Voter Fraud" (Washington Post):

The head of Iraq's electoral commission said Tuesday that it is investigating "serious" allegations of electoral fraud in Anbar province that, if corroborated, could alter the outcome of Saturday's election, providing the clearest indication yet that voting irregularities occurred during provincial balloting.
A coalition of parties that competed against the Iraqi Islamic Party in Anbar submitted complaints that the commission considers grave, commission chief Faraj al-Haidari said. "We will deal with it seriously because it might change the result of the election in this province," he said.
As tensions sparked by the allegations of electoral fraud spread through Ramadi, the provincial capital, Iraqi law enforcement officials and U.S. Marines braced Tuesday for a possible outbreak of violence.

So the same thugs the US paid off so they'd stop attacking US military personnel and equipment -- as US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Gen David Petraeus told Congress repeatedly last April -- scream and whine and moan about the potential results and everyone rushes to make the big babies feel better. They whine and make threats and that gets a reaction from the elections commission chair? The same pompous ass who declared Sunday, "It's not our fault that some people couldn't vote because they are lazy, because they didn't bother to ask where they should vote"? Well apparently "lazy" is mitigated when you threaten violence so possibly all those who were not allowed to vote, who were repeatedly turned away at polling stations should start threatening to 'set it off' and maybe the elections commission chair would suddenly take an interest in their issues?

If you're not getting how disgusting it is, check out Trenton Daniel and Mahdi al Dulaymi's "Iraq voter turnout lower than expected in provincial vote" (McClatchy Newspapers) and grasp that the commission is making these insulting remarks while they're rushing to appease the thugs:

Some have hailed early reports on Iraq's provincial elections as evidence of a step forward in the country's halting advance to democratic rule after six years of bloodshed. Thousands of Iraqis, however, couldn't vote because their names were missing from registration lists; in Hawsa, just west of Baghdad, thousands demonstrated over their exclusion.
Too many voters didn't find their names on voter rolls, and, with a vehicle ban to prevent suicide bombers, many voters had to walk miles from their homes to get to their polling places, party officials said. The voting problems threaten to unleash violence in Anbar.
Election officials said that they have no plans to address the grievances, saying that displaced voters missed their opportunity to reregister.
"We spent 45 days advertising on TV, radio, and newspapers asking to make any chances, especially for displaced people," said Mohammed Saeed al Amjed, an IHEC spokesman. "The period was more than enough for the families to check or register their names, displaced or not."

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