Thursday, October 21, 2004

Exporting Theocracy 

Now that we've toppled that secular regime, it's just like we pictured it: Ayatollahs. Everything! From the Washington Post:
Leaders of Iraq's religious parties have emerged as the country's most popular politicians and would win the largest share of votes if an election were held today, while the U.S.-backed government of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is losing serious ground, according to a U.S.-financed poll by the International Republican Institute . . . .

Within the Bush administration, a victory by Iraq's religious parties is viewed as the worst-case scenario. Washington has hoped that Allawi and the current team, which was selected by U.S. and U.N. envoys, would win or do well in Iraq's first democratic election, in January. U.S. officials believe a secular government led by moderates is critical, in part because the new government will oversee writing a new Iraqi constitution.

"The picture it paints is that, after all the blood and treasure we've spent and despite the [U.S.-led] occupation's democracy efforts, we're in a position now that the moderates would not win if an election were held today," said a U.S. official who requested anonymity because the poll has not been released.

U.S. officials acknowledge that the political honeymoon after the handover of political power on June 28 ended much earlier than anticipated . . . .

[Interim PM Iyad] Allawi had the greatest name recognition of any politician, with 47 percent of Iraqis supporting him for a seat in the new parliament. But rebel Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr came in a very close third, with 46 percent backing him for an assembly seat.
UPDATE: Mr. Allawi has just recieved a ringing endorsement from Colin Powell's right-hand man, Richard Armitage:
A SENIOR Bush administration official has rejected as "nonsense" claims Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi personally executed six suspected insurgents in June.

US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said he believed he had evidence that the claim by two alleged witnesses, as reported on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's The Age on July 17, was not true.
Unfortunately, Mr. Armitage receives a less-than-ringing endorsement from our esteemed colleague G.D. Frogsdong of Blanton's and Ashton's.

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