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Positive Aspects of the Iraqi Elections - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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What we have seen from the preliminary results of the Iraqi elections has been excellent and remarkable; the sectarian leaderships have begun to weaken in Iraq, which means that Iraq is not turning into another Lebanon at a frightening speed. Hope has been restored amongst the observers regarding the possibility of establishing a real state, not a state based on sects or [religious] guides like in Lebanon, whether Sunni, Shia or otherwise.

Regardless of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki’s position, he presented himself to the Iraqi voter as part of a coalition that is not based on a religious or sectarian foundation. The same goes for the powerful return of Dr. Iyad Allawi (in fact this is even more prominent) with Sunni and Shia votes whilst he presented himself within a secular framework and calls for the Iraqi state project based on nationalism and not on foreign or sectarian dependencies.

What’s pleasing about all of that is that Iraqi politicians realized what the citizens want, meaning that the politicians this time did not play on the public or public opinion; rather what happened is that Iraqi politicians raised themselves to the level of the voters and the average Iraqi citizens, which proves today (and proves that during the provincial governorate elections) they are enthusiastic about the authority of the state and its power and that they are not buying into the delusions of leaders or religious groups. There is another very important point; [Grand Ayatollah] Sayyed Ali Sistani announced that he would not intervene to support any specific party at the expense of the other in the recent elections. This is political awareness and realization of what is happening on the ground in Iraq regarding the eagerness of Iraqis not to become captive to the religious groups whose presence dominated after the fall of the Saddam regime.

Today we are witnessing the withdrawal of the Islamic Supreme Council led by Ammar al Hakim, just as we are witnessing the decline of the Sadrist trend; suffice it to say that its leader cast his vote in the last elections from Iran. Does it make any sense that a leader doesn’t dare enter his own country and vote side by side with his supporters as they defied bombings and acts of violence in order to cast their votes? In fact where was Ahmad Chalabi along with everything his name symbolizes? All of that means that Iraq is fine; it is true that it is not in its best of states but it did not fall into the abyss of the pure sectarian regime and it did not get to the stage whereby the ruler [of such a regime] is a person like Hassan Nasrallah with illegal weapons and with an Iranian cover, and this is all thanks to the public awareness which deserves a lot of appreciation as this awareness surpassed that of many politicians in Iraq.

It is true the above paints a rosy picture of Iraq, and this would be untruthful as Iraq and the Iraqis still have a long way to go. But what happened is a positive thing that deserves to be highlighted, therefore, the next few days will be important; if the political bloc succeeds in forming a government that reflects the concerns of Iraq and the Iraqis then this means that we will witness the welcome return of Iraq that we have missed and the Iraqis themselves have missed. Whoever believes that we are waiting for an allied Iraq on a sectarian basis is wrong; rather, we are waiting for an Iraq based on the interests of its citizens to be an effective element and beneficial to all regional issues, the most important of which is to strengthen rationalism in a region where patience has been exhausted.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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