October 18, 2005

Cast Away


From FoxNews: Iraqis Continue Checking Referendum Results.

The first bags containing sheets of vote counts from Iraq's provinces arrived in Baghdad for tabulation, but delays from other areas mean a final result in the landmark referendum may not be known until the end of the week, election officials said Tuesday.

Complicating the count is the need to audit results that have raised eyebrows because they show an unexpectedly high number of "yes" votes, triggering questions of irregularities. Two crucial provinces that could determine the outcome are apparently among the regions that need investigation.

Despite these questions, and despite concerns about what the constitution will ultimately mean for Iraq and America, TIA Daily's Robert Tracinski pointed out something of which we can be certain: Zarqawi loses, again.

The significance of Saturday's vote on the Iraqi constitution is not that the constitution itself will be adopted. The constitution provides only woozy protections for individual rights, offset by a possible basis for theocratic rule, plus a mechanism to allow Shiites to set up a "federal" theocracy in Southern Iraq -- with all of this to be decided later on. So it decides very little about the actual shape of the Iraqi government.

What is significant about the election is that it amounts to a public endorsement of how those decisions are to be made: through electoral politics, rather than through terrorist bombings. While many voted for the constitution because it increased the power of their group (whether Shiite or Kurdish), others, like the man quoted in this New York Times article, voted for it because they want a system in which government depends on their consent. ...

The election was a loss for the terrorist insurgency, which mounted even fewer attacks during this election than during the parliamentary elections in January. This time, crucially, Sunnis did not boycott the polls and many apparently voted in favor of the constitution. This could be the beginning of the end for the insurgency, as Sunnis reluctantly choose to engage in political debate rather than to obstruct it. ...

[T]he real battle in Iraq becomes a political one to prevent a theocratic takeover in the south. Having failed to get a commanding majority in the January elections, the Iranian-backed Shiite theocrats have fallen back on a new strategy, campaigning for a semi-independent "federal" region in the south, where they have the votes to take over.

This merely highlights the fact that the real enemy in this war is Iran, which arms and finances these Shiite theocrats and provides the theocratic model they hope to emulate. Meanwhile, our diplomats are at least beginning to issue threats against Iran for providing high explosives to insurgents who have attacked American and British troops. But when will this stop being a mere war of words?

Posted by Forkum at October 18, 2005 04:53 PM