Saturday, August 27, 2005

Kirkuk's Ethnic Divide Laid Bare

"KIRKUK, Iraq (AP) - Sworn into office after January's historic elections in Iraq, the new members of the local provincial council were expected to usher the ethnically mixed northern city of Kirkuk into a new era of political cooperation.

Instead, they became bogged down in bitter accusations of fraud and power grabbing. A boycott by angry Arab and Turkomen members against their Kurdish colleagues ensured that a full council did not meet until early August.

The seven-month delay has laid bare the deep-seated divide between rival ethnic groups, whose long-standing grievances and open mistrust have erupted into a near-paralyzing impasse.

In many ways, the provincial council's troubles seem reflective of the larger difficulties facing Iraqi leaders in cobbling together a new government as they try to avoid the real possibility of an ethnic conflict that could lead to a civil war.

"It's been very, very frustrating," said Lt. Col. Anthony Wickham, who heads a team of U.S. military advisers to the Tamim provincial council.

"If you can solve the problems here, you can do it anywhere because you have all the complications of getting this country together. It's all right here - a microcosm of Iraq."...

...Councilman al-Assi said the Arab community is "very serious about participating in the next elections," adding they are undeterred by threats made by terrorist group al-Qaida in Iraq to target Sunnis who vote.

"This next election is very important. It will decide the fate of Arabs citizens. If the next elections are clean, I believe Arabs will have a big role in the government," he said.
My Way
The only silver lining that I can see. If in fact this experience drives the point about the necessity of voting, deep into the mindset of the Iraqi public. It's a step in the right direction. A public interested in voting will also come to recognize the value of the freedoms that make it possible to vote with a clear conscience.

Update: 8/28/05

Hey look, this article from the BBC seams to agree with me. They end their report with this:
"To ensure the constitution does not become law, the Sunnis will have to do something they did not do in the January elections - turn out and vote.
That would mean that even in wrecking the draft document they would at least be engaging in the democratic process.

And that could represent a significant development in Iraq's troubled path towards a brighter future."
Now, is it a good or a bad thing when the BBC agrees with you? I will leave that to you the reader to decide.


Blogger Fayrouz said...

If anything, what's happening in Iraq right now convinced people elections are important and boycotting an election make it easier for the opposition to win easily.

6:28 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

Well according to my latest theory, someone on my side bar just got a mention in the MSM. Nothing like a test to see where your theories fail.
Now all I have to do is watch and see what happens.

7:50 PM  

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