Still no results.
More than a month after the december 15th elections in Iraq, the results are estimated to still be about a week away from being announced. This is probably a deliberate attempt by the powers that be to delay the announcement until the governments formation is ready and to give the impression of a swift settlement, unlike last time when it took around 3 months after the results had been announced for the government to form itself. This was mainly down to the kurds making ridiculous demands during the negotiations, thus drawing the entire process out. That course of events led to the hope of the January 30th elections being turned to despair and frustration on the part of the Iraqi people.
The next government has a gigantic task on its hands, including rebuilding the shattered economy and healing a nation being crushed by some of the world's highest cancer rates, caused in no small part by the barbaric and evil use of depleted Uranium by the US in the first gulf war.
And the task is not made any easier by the savage and criminal nature of the terrorist war on Iraq, waged by both the Baathists and the US. The Iraqi people are facing a war on two fronts and against two ruthless and evil enemies. Firstly, let us consider the US as an enemy to Iraq. As Juan Cole puts it on Informed Comment today
"The US has increased the number of its bombing raids in Iraq from 25 a month last summer to 150 in December."
He goes on to correctly point out that this tactic is not useful in terms of counter-insurgent strategy. Especially when more civilians are killed by these bombs than insurgents are. Just recently the media has been alive with reports that the US launched an airstrike within Pakistan in an attempt to get Al-Qaeda's number 2, Ayman Al Zawahiri. They failed to get him and killed 18 innocent people instead. This is happening EVERY DAY in Iraq, and will continue to happen as long as the US remains in Iraq. These acts are morally reprehensible not to mention the fact that all it is doing is feeding resentment for the US and in turn the elected shia-led government on the part of the sunni arabs. It means that the US is creating the ripe conditions needed for an all out civil war, which may well be sparked by a military withdrawal.
The other enemy, the baath party, are also trying to drag Iraq into a civil war, in order for them to make an attempt at regaining power. It is clear from the election results that they DO NOT enjoy popular support amongst the sunni arabs, as the Neo-Baathist Salih Mutlaq, and his list are predicted to have only won 11 seats, whilst the religious sunni list is predicted to have won around 42 seats in the parliament. The Baath know that if Iraq falls into a civil war then everyone will be forced to choose their sides, the fences will go up and each of Iraq's ethnic communities will put their internal differences aside and will concentrate instead on trying to annihilate the other groups. The baath, already hiding behind the cloak of Iraq's real resistance, will then be able to draw on a significantly higher level of resources with which to make its bid for power, and it will do so in the name of the sunni arabs that they will claim to represent.
It is clear that the real sunnis do not support the baath in significant enough numbers, and so the shia and kurds must ensure that they create a strong enough alliance with Adnan Dulaimi and the others like him to further isolate the baathists.
The emphasis will then be on the sunnis to stop harbouring the people who are destroying Iraq's oil refining capabilities and other infratructure and who are depriving the people of their nations wealth. Once they give this criminal element up, Iraq will have overcome a huge hurdle in its path to development. It is important to distinguish between the baathists and the resistance. The resistance are those who attack the US troops only, in an attempt to free their nation from an illegal foreign occupation and it is their absolute right to do so. The baathists are the ones who attack the shia in their mosques and their homes purely on a sectarian basis and the shia must continue with their incredible tolerance and patience to ensure that the baathists will fail.
The baathists would rather see Iraq destroyed than let anyone other than themselves rule. The Iraqi government needs to make sure that the people of Iraq understand the choice that they have. Either they stay the democratic course, which has already borne much fruit, in the midst of all the decay or they go back to the barbaric old regime, whose crimes need no mentioning. The Iraqi people cannot be allowed to lose confidence in the current order due to the hardship they are facing, because the alternative is much worse. It is upto every Iraqi, especially those living abroad to do all they can to ensure that this great nation can rise again.