Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Now that the results of the recent elections in Iraq are in we can understand more about the process. The voter turnout of 59% was based on the list of 'registered' voters. This system was based on the ration cards and in the event it turned out that some of those 'registered' had either left the country or were in fact dead. As no census was possible the number of 'eligible' voters is not known but based on anecdotal evidence post election, it now appears certain that the number of registered voters was significantly lower the 14 million quoted prior to the elections. What follows is an analysis of the vote by Ali Fadhil at Free Iraqi:

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Some observations from the Iraqi elections.

The results of the Iraqi elections were generally expected (at least after the primary vote count) but it did result in some interesting statistics and facts. The first noticeable is that the "Unified Coalition List" did not get the number of votes its members as well as most spectators expected. Shortly before announcing the results, and as I mentioned in the previous post, a "high official" from the coalition list stated to Radio Sawa that they were informed by the electoral Commission that their list achieved 60% of the votes!

Anyway, I was personally relieved by this result, not because it's not enough for the religious parties to impose Share'a law, as this is totally impossible in my opinion, but because it meant that a considerable percentage of She'at chose other than what their spiritual leader favored. The She'at generaly showed more maturity and trust in the future of Iraq than the Kurds whom their vast majority of votes went to the "Kurdish Alliance". I believe that in the next elections with better security and with other parties more inclined to run a wide public campaign, whatever list Sistani would support would get even much less than what the coalition list did get.Also I was doing some calculations and found out the following:

1-the religious parties (including Christian, Sunni and Yezidies) achieved together 4 323 923 votes which equals about 51% of the total vote. (This includes the Coalition List which is not entirly religious)

2-Ethnic parties (Kurds, Turkmen, Arab nationalists) achieved 2 289 713 votes which equals about 27% of the total votes.

3-Individual lists achieved all together 52399 votes but none got a seat.

4-Parties based on tribes got only 3850 votes.

5- Secular democratic parties got 1594829 votes which comprises about 19% of the total votes.

6-Communists which are one major and one small party got 73354. The Iraqi communist Party which is the major one got almost exactly its members total number! Most polls here expected them to score better than that but it seems that only communists vote for communists, and it makes sense! I for one sympathize with the communists but would never vote for them.

7- Monarchists and other local groups achieved together 118098 votes but none got a seat.

8-only 11 parties got seats in the national assembly.

9-only 19 lists out of the total 111 lists achieved more than 10 000 votes. One of these is an individual running alone.

10-Small democratic parties failed to achieve any good results with most of them scoring between 1000 and 500 votes.

11-Al Pachachi failed to get a seat, as his list got only 23302 votes.

12-Also former GC member Nassir Al Chadarchi's party "National Democratic Party" that was established in the 30th of the last century achieved only 1603 votes. Another party, "The Democratic Community Movement" That has 2 former GC members in it and the former spokesman of the GC scored 3527 votes.

13-The highest votes received by a single list was 4 075 295 for the "Unified Coalition" and the lowest was 411 votes for an individual list.

14- Our party, "The Iraqi Pro-Democracy party" achieved 1 566 votes which is a small number but it was worth the effort as we learned a lot from this experience. There were also 26 parties that scored lower than that. This showed clearly that small young parties with no religious or ethnic affiliation must consolidate together and form one entity in order to survive and I guess most of these parties see this now.

In the end I'd like to point out something about the turn out that may have been missed. Outside Iraq the number of eligible voters depended on rough estimations while the registered voters' number became known after the elections. So the turn out outside Iraq was correctly calculated among registered voters not eligible, as this last one remains not well identified.

However, inside Iraq the system depended on the food ration coupons which contained not just the names of Iraqis inside Iraq, from which the eligible voters' number was calculated, but also so many Iraqis outside Iraq and some dead even! All those above 18 that are enlisted in the food ration coupons were considered registered voters. I and all I know did not have to register. We just received our ballot that contained our family members' names who are above 18 that are enlisted in our food ration coupon including my sister's name who left Iraq for more than a year and came back just few months ago. We never reported her departure so did most families who had their sons and daughters leaving Iraq after 1991 fearing interrogation or even punishment as it was seen as an unpatriotic act!

One of my neighbors received his family's ballot with his father's name included even though he died a year ago. Under reporting of deaths was not that uncommon but it became more common after the last war as a result of the total collapse of the system for months. Another neighbor had his two sons' names registered although they both left Iraq since 1995. This means that many Iraqis outside Iraq, regardless whether they voted or not, were considered registered eligible non-voters inside Iraq!

I saw the turn out in our neighborhood which is mainly a Sunni ex-Ba'athist one and I and most my friends thought it was more than 80%, which makes me think that the announced turn out is even much less than the actual one and it's definitely not just for registered voters, a term that gives the impression that there are Iraqis who did not register, which did not happen as there was no registeration except for very limited cases.

It's been a great event in Iraq and we intend to celebrate the results formaly as winners because there are no losers in Iraq now except the tiny minority formed by hardcore Ba'athists and Salafis.

Monday, February 14, 2005


it looks as if the parties are going to make every effort to include the Sunnis in the writing of the constitution. There have been serious behind the scenes negotiations between Sunni groups and Shiites since the elections occurred. It appears theSunnis now realise that it was a mistake to boycott the vote.

I predict that, while the process may be difficult, the outcome will be inclusive to all Iraqis regardless of religion, tribe, or any other issue which might marginalize people. I don't think a theocracy is possible now. Democray in Iraq is on the march. This is a new era in history, and a major shift in the middle east.

A'ash Al-Iraq.

The following story is from the Award Winning Blog, Iraq The Model:

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Democracy in progress.Congratulations to the Iraqi people,The results are for the best of Iraq and its future; Iraqis have put the corner stone for the state of law and constitution and have proved to the world how the region's nations are eager for freedom and how much they reject the concepts of violence and despotism that were imposed by fire and steel.The ballot and the box have won and the purple fingers garnished the beautiful picture.The high turnout in circumstances that were considered to be the most dangerous was like a candle that leads the road for the rest of freedom seeking people and gave lesson in courage and determination and reminds even those who lived their whole lives in democracies about the bravery of their founding fathers who struggled and sacrificed for the sake of their children's future and prosperity.The winners are in front of a historic responsibility of drawing the future of Iraq and defining its new identity. Their load is heavy but the most important thing is that the people back them and back the writing of the permanent constitution.I was so happy today while watching the results being displayed on TV although I didn't get the seat I dreamed of. Little parties like ours couldn't compete with the larger ones that own radio and TV networks and had their banners and posters filling the streets while I had to borrow from my friends to pay the 5000 $ registration fees of the party because the support we received for the party from our friends and supporters hasn't reached Baghdad till this moment because of some banking bureaucracy. All we had was 3000 $ to spend on advertising and publicity and managing all the party's affairs.Add to this that the candidates of small parties had to accept risking their lives as we made ourselves easy targets for the terrorists; we don't have the adequate personal protection like the famous figures who live in heavily protected quarters and protected by hundreds of bodyguards.While candidates like me live among the people and walk on the streets, in the past few weeks we saw several Iraqi politicians targeted and assassinated, but our participation was more important than anything else because it gave more credit to the elections and we're happy with that role.The world will remember the number "7461"; these were the candidates who didn't submit for blackmailing and decided to take the responsibility despite the threats and the dangers.If small parties like ours haven't participated, the elections wouldn't have succeeded the way it did.I see that we didn't lose at all, on the contrary, we won and the only loser is terror and its dictators allies.We will always have the chance to participate again and our voice will always be heard and we will not give up on what we started.The political map in my opinion will witness many changes in the coming 6 months and alliances will be reshaped and the small entities will seek forming bigger masses in order to get a better representation in the future elections which are not far away.And I believe that the major parties will try to form an alliance to balance forces with the winning list of the United Coalition which I assume will be working hard on its end to satisfy the other parties as it needs the support of the other half to pass its projects and legislations and now its obvious that the United Coalition is 'flirting' with others through messages of reassurance focusing on the idea that the United Coalition has no will to make Iraq an Islamic state and on that Islam will not be the only source of legislations in the coming constitution.On the other hand, the SCIRI demands for respecting Islam seem reasonable and realistic more than conservative, as securing the unity of the coalition requires also reassuring the secular members of the list. Moreover some members from the same list stated that they would like to see a Kurdish president for Iraq and in a statement for Hussein Sharistani, one of the coalition's leading figures, he said "to prove to the people that the coalition is democratic in nature, the ministers or PM that are to be chosen from our list will be elected by the 131 members and not by the elite or the big figures of the coalition".Also there were other statements coming from inside the coalition refusing the idea of planning a withdrawal schedule for the Multinational forces from Iraq as Ibrahim Al-Jaafari said who considered that calls for a withdrawal are aiming at creating chaos and a civil war.These statements and many similar ones refute the expectations about Iraq becoming a "copy" of Iran. All this and more proves the reasonability of the suggested choices with an invitation for open talks and negotiations.Generally speaking, all politicians realize the role of the United States and the coalition forces in protecting the new born democracy and most of the major players realize the necessity of a strategic partnership with the United States for the good of Iraq and for the success of the war on terror.The event of elections in Iraq was a huge turning point in the history of the region and Iraqis and their political parties have proved-despite the lack of experience-that they can do well and show high performance in a process of change that represents the first signs of a bright future for this country and the Middle east. No one will stop the train of democracy and those who stand against the change will soon be nothing but forgotten.


Friday, February 11, 2005


Interview: Iraqi Official Mourns Sons, Vows To Fight 'The Ghosts Of Death'

A prominent Iraqi politician and the longtime head of the De-Ba'athification Committee, Mithal al-Alusi, survived an apparent attempt on his life when armed men fired on his car on the morning of 8 February. Two of al-Alusi's sons -- Ayman and Jamal -- and a bodyguard who were inside his vehicle were killed, however, when the assailants struck just outside al-Alusi's Baghdad home. Radio Free Iraq (RFI) spoke with al-Alusi, who is secretary of Iraq's Democratic Umma Party [Hizb al-Umma al-'Iraqi al-Dimuqrati], after the incident. The following is an edited transcript of that interview.

Al-Alusi: Again, the ghosts of death are going out. They are ready to kill a person, ready to kill the peace, ready to kill the victory of Iraqis and their right to life. Again, henchmen of the Ba'ath [Party] and dirty terrorist gangs, Al-Qaeda and others, are going out convinced that they can determine life and death as they desire. Iraq will not die. My children, three people [in all] -- one of my bodyguards and two of my children -- died as heroes, no differently from other people who find their heroic deaths.

But we will not, [I swear] by God, hand Iraq over to murderers and terrorists. We will pave the road for peace. If [the attackers] thought that by attempting to kill Mithal al-Alusi, the advocates of peace in Iraq will be stopped, then they have made a grave mistake. We will be calling for peace. We will be calling for peace with all neighboring countries [of Iraq]. We will be calling for peace with all countries of the region. And we will be calling for fighting terrorism by any means [and] against all forms [of terror]. They claim that Islam is a message of killing, while Islam is a message of peace. They claim that the principles [of Islam] encourage killing, while the only principles that encourage killing are the principles of the Ba'ath [Party] and of the heathens from Al-Qaeda groupings.

The Sunni areas groan under the hands of murderers and criminals who are neither Sunnis nor Iraqis. They are intruders in Iraq from among Al-Qaeda groupings and Ba'ath [Party] henchmen. They are the ghosts of death.We will be building Iraq. We will be building Iraq despite all that has happened. May God help us.

RFI: How long [do you expect] some political circles to continue speaking the language of violence and terror? Do they have any political program? Do they have any clear goals? Do they have any slogan on which they might bring forward, discuss, and lead a dialogue?

Al-Alusi: That would not excuse them. If they have a slogan, a goal, a language, and an activity, it is killing. They [Ba'athists] were killing us for more than three decades. They want to kill us and enslave us, over and over again. That is why I have always urged politicians to avoid trying to lead a dialogue with terrorists.

Any kind of inviting murderers to dialogue means giving them a little bit of legitimacy, which they do not have. They do not have the right to play with us. Consequently, I [ask] my friends and colleagues in the political leadership inside or outside the [Iraqi] take a clear, frank, and firm position to enforce the law over all, whoever it is -- be it a religious or non-religious party. There should be no debate or dialogue with a murderer who calls for killing. This cannot be the [right] way.

The [right] way is the way of law, the way of dialogue, the way of building, and the way of leading the Sunni areas [in Iraq] out of confusion. I would like to focus on that very clearly: The Sunni areas groan under the hands of murderers and criminals who are neither Sunnis nor Iraqis. They are intruders in Iraq from among Al-Qaeda groupings and Ba'ath [Party] henchmen. They are the ghosts of death.

RFI: You have been the target of repeated assassination attempts. Do you believe the reason is your opinions and political attitudes, or is there another factor that has made you such a target?

Al-Alusi: They do not exclude anyone [from violence]. They target a [normal] citizen on the way to do shopping in the market; they target hospitals and schools; they target everyone. On the fact that I have been targeted personally, I have kept saying, "There is no way for Iraq but the way of peace," and, "There is no way for Iraq but the way of dialogue and institutions," and, "Nothing should exist in Iraq except according to the will of the Iraqi people."

As for the advocates of religious intolerance willing to kill the [Iraqi] identity, or those who now imagine they might establish a [new] state in Iraq, be it religious or non-religious, I tell them, "Brothers, verily you have made a grave mistake." I tell them, "There can be no state in Iraq except for one founded on institutions and law." Mithal al-Alusi says from his unshaken positions, "I was calling for peace, and I will continue to call for peace -- even [for peace] with Israel." And may all the world hear that there will be no war if the Palestinians, Syrians, Egyptians, and Jordanians do not want war.

I am not prepared to allow Iraqis to be turned into kindling for the flames of terrorists and ghosts of death. We want to build Iraq; there has been enough destruction. We want to build schools for Iraqis, hospitals for Iraqis, and state institutions. We will not allow Iraq to become a tool in the hands of others.

(Translated by Petr Kubalek.)

Thursday, February 10, 2005


The Iraqi Election results have been postponed because of about 400 ballot boxes which were recently unconcounted. The following breakdown of the key players is by Saleem at Free Iraq:

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hi again,today I will talk about Iraqian parties that were competed in the last election, in 30 January,2005 , instead of the final results of election because the annoucing of the final results have been delayed a the final resulsts will be annouced in the next coming days.

United Iraqi Alliance

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim

Widely expected to dominate the election, the United Iraqi Alliance fielded 228 candidates, drawn largely from the Shiite political establishment and tacitly endorsed by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. The list included Shiite cleric Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the key Shiite political organization, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Al-Hakim opposed Saddam Hussein from exile in Iran before returning after the U.S.-led invasion and serving on the Iraq Governing Council.Also running with the alliance was Ahmad Chalabi, a Secular Shiite banker who led the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella for groups that included Iraqi exiles, Kurds and Shiites. Chalabi, a one-time Pentagon confidant, fell out of favor with Washington in 2004 after claims he passed intelligence information to Iran.

The Iraqi List

Ayad Allawi

Considered more secular than the United Iraqi Alliance, The Iraqi List fielded 233 candidates. The list included a mix of Shiites and Sunnis, but Shiites accounted for the majority of top names. The group is led by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who's considered a moderate with a reputation for toughness in dealing with the multiple insurgencies gripping Iraq. The 60-year-old Shiite physician spent three decades in exile and has a long history of working with the U.S. government. A former member of Saddam's Baath Party, he comes from a wealthy family that was close to the royal family that ruled before Saddam took power.

Iraqis Party

Ghazi al-Yawer

A mix of Sunnis and Shiites, the Iraqis Party fielded 80 candidates. The party is led by interim President Ghazi al-Yawer, and favored by many Sunnis who agreed with al-Yawer's opposition to U.S. attacks aimed at wiping out insurgents in the hotbed cities of Fallujah and Mosul. Al-Yawer is a prominent Sunni member of the Shammar tribe, which includes Shiite clans and is one of the largest tribes in the Persian Gulf region. A civil engineer born in Mosul, he studied in Saudi Arabia and at Georgetown University in the United States. His post as interim president is largely ceremonial.

Kurdish Alliance List

Expected to get the bulk of the Kurdish vote in northern Iraq, the Kurdish Alliance fielded 165 candidates. The biggest names were Kurdistan Democratic Party leader Massoud Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leader Jalal Talabani. Talabani is a Sunni Kurd who joined the Kurdistan Democratic Party as a teenager and then founded the PUK in 1957. Barzani, also a Sunni Kurd, leads the party founded by his father in 1946. He took over the party leadership when his father died in 1979 and has survived two assassination attempts. He also helped negotiate a short-lived autonomy agreement with Iraq's government in 1970 that ended nine years of fighting.

Assembly of Independent Democrats

Adnan Pachachi

Expected to fare well among intellectuals and the urban middle class, the Assembly of Independent Democrats fielded 78 candidates. The most notable was Sunni elder statesman Adnan Pachachi. A prominent secular Sunni, Pachachi is seen as a possible compromise figure to lead a future government. He was foreign minister in the government toppled in the 1968 coup by Saddam's Baath Party, and a member of the post-U.S. invasion Iraqi National Council.

National Democratic Party

The National Democratic Party, which has found some support among the educated Sunni middle class, fielded 48 candidates. One was Naseer Kamel al-Chaderchi, a Sunni lawyer, businessman and landowner who leads the party. A member of the former Iraqi Governing Council, al-Chaderchi is the son of Kamel al-Chaderchi, who played a leading role in Iraq's democratic development until 1968, when the Baath Party seized power.

National Rafidain List

An Assyrian Christian group, the National Rafidain List was expected to pick up some support for its 28 candidates from Iraq's tiny Christian community.The People's UnionThe People's Union was one of few groups whose candidates didn't have close ethnic or religious ties, and was seen as a possible pick among Iraqi expatriates living in secular countries. Its 275 candidates were drawn from secular Iraqis who fear clerical rule and leftists, including many women.