The Artist over at TAotB is throwing his paint brushes again as a result of another of my comments. A simple, no sorry - an extensive expression of opinion has once again drawn a testy "...what rubbish, where is your sources..." retort. Well, regrettably, the last time I replied to such a challenge, his response was a biting little e-mail suggesting that I had provided "too much" whether volume or proof was not clear. So, in response to this "where is the proof...", here it is.
First the exchange...
My comment, his reply
Best Lines from Mark Steyn...
But look beyond the numbers. When you consider the behavior of the Shia and Kurdish parties, they've been remarkably shrewd, restrained and responsible. They don't want to blow their big rendezvous with history and rejoin the rest of the Middle East in the fetid swamp of stable despotism.
Yes, "shrewd, restrained and responsible". You are not dealing with monkeys here, Mr Bush.
they've (the US media) failed to notice just how surefooted both the Kurds and Shiites have been -- which in the end is far more important. The latter, for example, have adopted a moderate secular pitch entirely different from their co-religionist mullahs over the border.
They are definitely not monkeys, Mr Bush.
Even on the Sunni side of the street, there are signs the smarter fellows understand their plans to destroy the election have flopped and it's time to cut themselves into the picture.
Let us be clear. There is a very strange silence in Iraq. It comes not from the Iraqis themselves or their interim "leaders".
The silence is in the world of the candidates, the parties and those likely to have been elected.
All of these, I believe have a common purpose.
That common purpose is not what George Bush would dream it to be. It is not what he has been telling the world it will be.
Saddam was said to be one of the world's best in playing the "shells and peas" game. Remember that many of those elected yesterday will likely have been playing the same game. They will likely have been learning from Saddam as well - "know your enemy" is a fundamental truth.
"Shrewd, restrained and responsible" also means "concealed hands", "subtle dealings", and perhaps even a common cause in one particular instance.
This election was not about democracy, it was not about fairness, it was about a united Iraq.
The one thing that unites Iraq at present is?
GET THE AMERICANS OUT!
[Ed. Note: Nice rant. Want to back that up or just make yet another unsupported claim that reflects how you wish reality was?]
And just how did "Mr. Bush" (what a sly and devastating insult, probligo) become responsible for Pres Mr. Steyn's words?
Let's look to the Independant for a first hitch...The Independant
What about the effects of the low Sunni turnout?
It is hoped that the Shia and the Kurds will agree to reach out to bring Sunnis in to parliamentary and government bodies, but this is where it could get tricky if the Kurds and the Shias decide that it's tough luck for the Sunnis because they didn't vote in large numbers.
Does that mean civil war?
At the very least it's a difficult balancing act that will require political maturity, in a country which has had no experience of democracy, to prevent everything going pear-shaped. So far, the signs are that civil war can be averted, as the Shia have resisted the Sunni insurgents' attempts to provoke sectarian conflict.
Will the insurgents' attacks continue?
There is no reason why they should stop for as long as the coalition forces remain in the country. The Sunni insurgents were bent on disrupting the election and could keep going until the next general election.
Will the coalition troops leave now?
The Iraqis would like to see the back of the Americans. But President George Bush said last week that he expected the new authorities to want the coalition troops to stay "at least until the Iraqis are able to fight". That means about 120,000 US soldiers staying in Iraq for the next two years. The Blair government agrees that the 9,000 British troops will remain in Iraq until the national security force is up and running.
There is a good part of the idea I tried promoting to the Artist.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S.A. - that terrible, absolutely scandalous left wing rag the Boston Globe propounds...
There is only one way in which the grand claims made by Washington for the weekend voting will be true -- and that is if the elections empower an Iraqi government that moves quickly to repudiate Washington. The only meaning "freedom" can have in Iraq right now is freedom from the US occupation, which is the ground of disorder. But such an outcome of the elections is not likely. The chaos of a destroyed society leaves every new instrument of governance dependent on the American force, even as the American force shows itself incapable of defending against, much less defeating, the suicide legions. The irony is exquisite. The worse the violence gets, the longer the Americans will claim the right to stay. In that way, the ever more emboldened -- and brutal -- "insurgents" do Bush's work for him by making it extremely difficult for an authentic Iraqi source of order to emerge. Likewise the elections, which, as universally predicted, have now ratified the country's deadly factionalism.
Iraq's election was a step in the right direction for peace and stability in the Middle East but it was only a first step, the head of the Arab League has said.
"It brought the Iraqi people to the ballot box," Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said yesterday in a speech at Rice University in the US.
"But the election is but one component of larger problems: the lack of security, the presence of the US military, the vagueness of purpose in Iraq. So many negative things loom in the horizon. One step will not solve it all."
Finally, from the Financial Times -
The Shia communities in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain expressed hope on Monday that the Iraqi vote, which is expected to bring a Shia majority to power, would stimulate democratic reforms at home and end discrimination.
Several Arab governments have repeatedly emphasised to Baghdad the importance of integrating the Arab Sunni minority into the political process.
Reiterating this call, Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, on Monday said it was now "important to organise a comprehensive national dialogue [in Iraq] to calm the current fears and tensions."
I know, I know. Every American that ever lived could produce a whole world of comment and quotation from the past three days "proving" my position wrong.
Well, I most certainly hope that I am. I most certainly hope that "democracy" does stick in Iraq, and that the idea catches on in the rest of the Middle East.
That should go without saying.