Leading Sunni party to boycott Iraqi election

Iraq’s next parliamentary election is March 7. The “de-Baathification commission,” dominated by Ahmed Chalabi, has banned some leading Sunni politicians from the ballot, including [who, in response, has declared his [url=Saleh al-Mutlaq - Wikipedia]National Dialogue Front](]Saleh Mohammed al-Mutlaq,[/url) will boycott the election. Story here:

Issues for debate:

  1. How will this affect the government’s perceived legitimacy?

1.a. Any chance this will, now or in the near future, spark renewed insurgency?

  1. Is there anything the U.S. can or should do about this?

  2. How, if at all, will this affect the timetable for withdrawal of Coalition troops?

This strikes me as purely political maneuvering in order to prolong/justify continued insurgency. In a (relatively) civilized country with a stable government, it would seem to me that boycotting elections is shooting yourself in the foot; you’d be denying yourself a voice and ensuring your interests are not protected. Clearly this is not the case here. These people have zero faith in the democratic process, and have no intentions of following its conventions or abiding its results. Frankly I can’t really blame them considering the overall situation there, but that is neither here nor there. I have no doubt that Iran certainly has a marked interest in what happens with their neighbors, but who’s to say whether the Sunnis are right or not about “dirty tricks”; you’ll get that in any election aywhere.

The situation on the ground would clearly indicate that the government is far too unstable to be considered “legitimate.” Insurgency will certainly continue for a while. What can the US do about it? Precious little, I’m afraid.

Which – the ban, or the boycott?

Probably both, but primarily the boycott. It would seem to me a simple matter of nominating a non-banned person to represent you and then just voting for that person instead, but calling for an all-out boycott is essentially pointless. What would happen if the Republicans suddenly started urging their party not to vote? The Democrats would be dancing in the streets! Unless of course the Federal government was as unstable and toothless as what they have in Iraq right now, in which case I would have to believe that the GOP was gearing up for war, all the while exclaiming they had no other options.

Something in me is offended by the notion of an official government organization declaring an individual to be ineligible to stand for election. I thought I had heard that prior Baath Party affiliation was no longer an automatic bar to participation in the Iraqi government.

Is there something in the instances of these individuals that mitigates the offensiveness of the action?

Also, the mention of Chalabi in the OP is interesting. Is there any reason to infer that he was particularly involved in the action of the de-baathification commission?

See here, here, and here. The latter two, BTW, deal with Chalabi’s suspected ties to Iran.

The Sunnis already think the government is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iran anyway. They don’t get any real share of the power at the minute, they weren’t likely to get any more after the election even with Mutlak’s party involved. Mutlak may well be part of the new government eventually anyway, there’ll be a period (probably months) of horse-trading after the election to form the government, he’ll be on off-on part of that. The Shiites may try and give him some regional power to keep him out of the national picture, or they may just continue to back his enemies and try and find charges they can arrest him on.

The Shiites plan to incrementally increase the power of the (Shiite) state and decrease all Sunni power, doing it slowly enough that it doesn’t trigger an insurgency. A big part of the Sunnis agreeing to stop the insurgency was that they knew there was a big battle with the Shiites ahead and once they knew we were leaving didn’t want to be involved in a war with us and would rather get paid by us while rearming and preparing to fight the Shiites. There’s a good chance this election or some future event turns the clock back to 2005, or at least dramatically ramps up the violence. It’s not like Iraq isn’t violent now, it’s just intra-Iraqi stuff not featuring US troops so we don’ t hear about it.

We’ll only get involved if the Iraqi )shiite) security forces are failing to deal with any Sunni rebellion, or if they’re kicking the shit out of the Sunnis excessively. The Shiites want us out asap so they’ll try and keep any violence to acceptable levels till we’re gone.

Typical pessimist, defeatist nonsense. The pessimists said the Great Depression would cause a fascist or communist revolution in America, that hawkish policies would cause a nuclear World War 3, and that overpopulation would cause the collapse of society by 2000.

It must be a great source of anger for you that our own generals from Petraeus on down are all defeatist leftists who believe that you can never achieve military victories in these situations and you always have to negotiate with the enemy eventually. It must be killing you that he’s advocating (and has already effectively started) nnegotiations with the Taliban for instance.

I’m not inherently opposed to negotiations-for instance we negotiated with al-Sadr and the Sunnis.

So you accept that there’s no military solution to a problem like Iraq then?

So your thesis is that…nothing bad can ever be predicted ahead of time?

Nononononono… bad things can be predicted ahead of time to the extent that I’m right and you are wrong.

And if anyone tells you that the CIA warned that bin Laden was going to attack the US, or that General Shinseki said we’d need more troops to secure Iraq, or the Weather Channel forecasted a huge storm bearing down on New Orleans, don’t believe them. Those defeatist prognostications could not have happened, otherwise George Bush would have done something about them, which he didn’t; so obviously they didn’t happen.

Pessimists said the U.S. invading Iraq with fewer than 400,000 troops would be a fiasco. And it was. The pessimists in question – generals – were cashiered by the Bush Admin.

Our strategy was a combination of both military and political-which worked.

Our strategy was to signal surrender to the insurgency by starting negotiations to leave Iraq like they demanded and putting them – guys we’d been calling terrorists five minutes earlier – on the US taxpayer payroll.

In the US and some western media the surge was spun as a victory. In the Arab world and much of the rest of the world it was seen as America finally accepting defeat in a war they couldn’t win. The Arab press celebrated the victory of the insurgency, that their central demand had been accepted by the US. They also enjoyed watching the Iraqi government humiliate our leaders in various ways during the negotiations process, one example being this photograph making the front page of every Arab newspaper, the news conference it was from that announced the withdrawl agreement being broadcast endlessly for two or three days on a loop on Arab news channels.

Note the backdrop in the photograph of the news conference held by our democratically-elected Iraqi partners. That’s the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, formerly the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. But they got to change their name because thanks to the dickhead in the photograph and his buddies they got their revolution. And who are the two Ayatollahs in the photographs, hmmm?

The media? Most of the semi-liberal media did not report on the success of the Surge that much at all. :rolleyes:

Well, it’s not news, is it, when insurgent violence doesn’t happen? And it still does happen, sometimes, in Iraq, and the media always (AFAIK) reports it, which is exactly how it should be. Anyone paying close attention will simply notice that such reports are less frequent now than in, say, 2005.

That’s got nothing to do with America’s capitulation in Iraq now, has it?

And another question you won’t anwser. The US media is oh so liberal. All those liberal news executives would never miss an opportunity to bash conservatives especially over somethin as contentious as Iraq. So the sight of Dick Cheney standing in front of a backdrop of the Koran script and two Iranian Ayatollahs who had a bit of history with America while waiting to announce he’d agreed to withdraw all US troops from Iraq would have them wetting themselves with glee, right? Especially when he’d previously said there’d be no timetable? They’d have it on the front page of every newspaper from the NYT onwards. That image would have become one of the iconic images of the Iraq war and the news conference would have had more US TV coverage than even Al Jazeera gave it.

So how come the liberal US media blacked it out and it didn’t make it to one US newspaper or US TV news show? How come the only US coverage of Cheney’s trip was him surrounded by troops on a US base? I know it’s ridiculous but imagine if the US media wasn’t liberal but was actually impartial and completely without bias. An impartial media wouldn’t cover the news conference where the US VP announces America has agreed a timetable to withdraw all US troops from Iraq?