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February 2009 Regional Elections in Iraq

posted Feb 3, 2009, 6:14 AM by John Kavanagh   [ updated Feb 3, 2009, 6:26 AM ]
Iraq's 2009 regional election roundup from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal...

Secular Parties and Premier Lead in Iraq
The New York Times
February 1, 2009

The relative success of the secular parties may be a sign that a significant number of Iraqis are disillusioned with the religious parties that have been in power but have done little to deliver needed services. Well-known incumbent parties also did well. It was too early to tell whether those people who were unable to vote would seek redress or resort to violence — or simply resign themselves to not having a voice.

Iraq Voted. Did Democracy Win?
The New York Times
February 2, 2009

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, what happens thousands of miles in Washington has always had a direct effect on our lives in Iraq. So what was surprising about last Saturday is that it didn’t. In our council elections, the United States was far less relevant to Baghdadis than concerns about the state of services and the lack of rebuilding and jobs. Voters were more interested in the candidates’ stance on corruption in our government than their positions on American forces.

Iraq Is Obama's Mideast Pillar
The Wall Street Journal
February 3, 2009

As an Arab democracy, it's a model for what we would like the rest of the Arab world to become. Next there is Iran, drawing ever closer to its bomb. You're mulling the shape of a grand bargain, but Israel is talking pre-emption. Speaking of Israel, you're girding for a contentious relationship with the hawkish Benjamin Netanyahu, the all-but certain next prime minister. And then there is Iraq, the country in the middle that you would have just as soon banished from sight. How's it doing? Perplexingly well.