How Iraqis Will Vote & Why it Might Not Really Matter

Lately Jordan has been encouraging Iraqis to go vote this month. Obviously Jordan’s position has been pro-Iraq rebuilding and in part pro-American. Although most Jordanians are against the former taking place without the latter part being removed. I happen to be one of those Jordanians.

It is difficult to see elections taking place in Iraq, a parliament being chosen, a leader being chosen, a constitution being written, when American forces are still in Iraq. From outside the box this dose of freedom seems great but imagine for a moment that your country has been invaded by a foreign force that is so powerful it has literally destroyed much of your infrastructure and killed thousands of your people. Then imagine resistance, thousands of your people standing up to push out these forces. Then imagine amidst this chaos your country is invaded by another species: something like AlQueda which is trying to convince everyone it is fighting in the name of a resistance. Imagine a broken economy, imagine the absence of security, imagine fat cats all over the world signing deals on how best to exploit your country’s national resources as long as there continues to be chaos in your nation.

Then imagine amidst all of this, a poll emerges which shows 82% of your country says they are strongly opposed to US presence in Iraq and 42% believe attacks on American forces are justified, which in itself is a contradiction to the ‘they will greet us with flowers’ theory.

Finally imagine with all this chaos you’re told to go vote for a group of people who will supposedly run the country. Will they really? That would be my first question. The second however is quite obvious:

How can you take the first steps to building a country that is in the midst of a war, which by definition is synonymous with destruction?

Isn’t the prerequisite here that the war end? That Americans leave and the Iraqis build their own country? Otherwise are we not attempting to build castles in the sand?

The longer the US stays the more AlQueda support has been increasing and their goals lately have become very clear: push Iraq into a civil war where an extremist Islamic force can come to power and genocide is most likely to follow. Some people believe that the US is now required to stay to ensure Iraq’s stability, but let me dare ask the question Ronald Regan once did in a different context: is Iraq better off today then it was 2.5 years ago? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that the element which has caused the most instability is the source of that instability and that it should be removed from the equation for the sake of reaching stability?

Also it seems elections in Iraq always schedule themselves around Bush’s state of the union address. Probably a coincidence, although most country’s like to avoid elections in the winter: less voter turn out. Though I’m sure the west wing speech writers will clean up the language.

I am sure many Iraqi expats in Amman will be voting this week for who will occupy their parliament although I find myself wondering if these are the same Iraqis who would be fighting in Iraq had the option of being able to leave and set up “camp” in Amman been made available to them. One thing is for sure, Jordan’s government has been very pro-election. While illegal candidate posters have been removed, posters urging the Iraqi populace to vote have been put up.

Even the Jordan-Iraqi border has been closed. Jordanian Interior Minister Eid Fayez said in a statement:

â??In response to the Iraqi authoritiesâ?? decision to prevent Iraqis from traveling outside the country between December 13 and 16, the Interior Minister has ordered the Karameh crossing be closed to traffic in both directions as of Monday morning and until Saturday morning,â?

Yeah, I’m going to go with “Iraqi voters are good targets for suicide bombers so we’re closing down the borders” instead.

While Iraqis are voting a parliament that will last for a 4 year term, I am confident that while the US chooses to remain in Iraq we will be in the exact same scenario when the next elections come around. Although next time I expect the situation will be worse.

Things to Read:

HE Prince Hassan’s recent view on how the “Coalition has outstayed welcome in Iraq”


Your Two Piasters: