A couple of interesting commentaries on the Iraq elections. First from Juan Cole’s Informed Comment blog.
All the boosterism has a kernel of truth to it, of course. Iraqis hadn’t been able to choose their leaders at all in recent decades, even by some strange process where they chose unknown leaders. But this process is not a model for anything, and would not willingly be imitated by anyone else in the region. The 1997 elections in Iran were much more democratic, as were the 2002 elections in Bahrain and Pakistan.
Secondly, Pepe Escobar at the Asia Times
The White House, the Pentagon and the neo-conservatives were forced – by Shi’ite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s brilliant brinkmanship – to accept these elections, in which a Shi’ite victory is assured. For many Iraqis, Sunni and Shi’ite, Washington’s endgame is not withdrawal, but finding the right proxy government: only the naive may believe that an imperial power would voluntarily abandon the dream scenario of a cluster of military bases planted over virtually unlimited reserves of oil.