Thursday, February 17, 2005


Yay Iraq!

The SAEN continues it's one-sided, doom and gloom coverage of Iraq today. On page 12A there is a story headlined "Shiite race goes to a secret ballot" that is about the current process underway for picking a prime minister. In this story about picking a prime minister the SAEN manages to throw in mention of an Italian reporter being held hostage, the death of a Marine, and the murder of eight Iraqi "collaborators." So let me take this opportunity to talk about some positive occurrences in Iraq(hat tip: Arthur Chrenkoff). First, the results of a poll taken recently in that country:
"Do you believe that democracy will help solve Iraq's Political, Security and Financial problems?

Yes - 82.1%
No - 15.3%
Don't know - 2.6%

"Would you consent to a Kurdish President?

Yes - 69.8%
No - 27.3%
Don't know - 2.9%

"Do you believe that the Kurds will secede from Iraq over the next 10 years?

Yes - 35.4%
No - 53.9%
Maybe 9.1%
Don't know - 1.6%"

The SAEN article also mentions the "Sunni problem." Oh, how the SAEN has whined about the Sunni problem, but are they being accurate? Would it surprise you if I told you no:
The supposed total exclusion of the Arab Sunnis from the National Assembly did not happen, either. Arab Sunnis account for some 15 per cent of the Iraqi population and are a majority in four out of 18 provinces. In three of those provinces the voter turnout was below 30 per cent, and in one, Anbar, dropped to 2 per cent. But only half of the Arab Sunnis live in those provinces. The other half, in Baghdad and other major cities, voted in larger numbers.

Based on their demographic strength, the Arab Sunnis should have 42 seats in the 275-seat transitional National Assembly. The final results show that the new assembly will have 49 Arab Sunnis sitting in it. Of these 40 were elected on the Shia-led and the Kurdish lists, plus the list headed by Iyad Allawi, the interim Prime Minister. Five were elected on a list led by Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawer, the Arab Sunni interim President, while four more won within smaller alliances. If we add the Kurds, who are also Sunni Muslims, at least 110 members of the assembly are Sunnis.

I understand if this is the first time you are hearing some of this. You mean that the Sunnis will actually have more MP's than their representation in the population dictates? The answer is yes, but if you listen to the SAEN you would think that Iraq is on the verge of civil war because the Sunnis won't be properly represented. Now for some more good news we turn to Ralph Peters' latest column in the NY Post:
Dismiss the media nonsense about the Sunni Arab failure to participate invalidating the elections. The Sunni Arabs know they blew it. Their most promising politicians are maneuvering for a role in writing the new constitution. And the Shi'as and Kurds will bring key Sunni Arabs into the process. They know their society better than the pundits do.

You can also disregard the warnings that Iraq will turn into another Iran. Ain't going to happen. The Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq's most revered figure, is well aware that Iran's theocracy has failed miserably tarnishing the faith he loves. As a result, Sistani has set a rational course that will endure beyond his death.

The constitution may end up with more strictures than we like. But the odds are that the document will be a sensible compromise with every party grumpy, but content. Clerics will have influence, but won't rule.

He continues in a statement that appears to have been written specifically to the editors over at the SAEN:
And the critics seem determined to ignore the most encouraging outcome of all: No Iraqi voting bloc handed power to fanatics or demagogues.

The most important word in that last statement is "ignore." The SAEN continues to ignore all but the bad news out of Iraq; which is why so many citizens of the Alamo City continue to ignore the SAEN.
I'm not sure what this poll is supposed to prove, but I'll go ahead and play devil's advocate.
What was the sample size of the poll? We don't know.
Who conducted the poll? A news organization called Al-Sabah.
What is Al-Sabah? Al-Sabah is issued daily by the Iraqi Media Network on behalf of the Coalition Provisional Authority.Hmmmmm. I'd feel better about the poll if it was conducted by a group that did not have a vested interest in touting a positive outcome.

Oh, and I somehow don't think Sunni Arabs who feel disenfranchised are going to feel any better knowing that some of the members of the ruling Shiia party claim some degree of Sunni heritage.

And one final comment... You are upset with the SAEN for mentioning that an Italian reporter was kidnapped, a Marine was killed, and eight Iraqi collaborators were murdered. Is it your desire that the media ignore all negative news coming out of Iraq and only report feel-good propaganda?
I have never, ever denied that there is bad news coming out of Iraq. All I ask is that the SAEN balance some of that with good news. That's called being fair and balanced.

In regards to the Sunnis, as I say they will have 49 seats in the parliament, which is better than expected. You say they are'nt going to feel any better and I say: hmm, I didn't know you were so close to Iraqi Sunnis to know how they feel.
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