Wednesday, December 21, 2005

In search of good news

Harry's Place is, as usual, rather selective in its treatment of Iraq.
The secular parties seem to have done less well than some had hoped leaving the Kurds with the task of providing an effective counterweight to the parties of the Shia alliance.
A counterweight? This, like so much of the rhetoric used to support the invasion of Iraq, is not based in the realities of the situation. Does Marcus understand the situation in Iraq at all, I wonder? The Kurds are not interested in providing an effective counterweight to the religious Shia alliance of the UIA. They are interested, above all, in regional autonomy, and they don't have any particular interest in opposing the power of the Shiite majority as it applies to the rest of the country. Marcus obviously doesn't want to let the facts get in the way of his positive spin though.

I also noticed that Marcus has managed to avoid expressing his own disappointment at the poor performance of the secular parties. This poor performance was hardly a surprise though. Perhaps he likes Shiite fundamentalists and thinks it's a good thing that they're going to dominate the new Iraq. Somehow, that seems unlikely to me.

When Harry's Place discusses Iraq it often reminds me of the streak of naive idealism* of the neo-conservatives in the US (via).
Why did they believe that Iraqis would use the ballot in a more enlightened way than we do here at home? Voters are human. There - as here - many are influenced by their immediate personal needs and the advice of their clergy.
Indeed. It's been a while since I studied game theory but Iraq today would almost certainly provide an illuminating illustration of many of the problems humans have with co-operating for the greater good of all. In Iraq, each voter has voted according to what they believe to be their own best interests. The idea that this will inevitably lead to an outcome which will benefit the country as a whole (and, according to Bush and co, the whole region, and the rest of the world) is woolly headed nonsense.

Marcus says:
It would be foolish to attempt to predict what is likely to happen before the votes are fully counted but the potential future direction of the Arab world in addition to that of Iraq is dependent on the way elected Iraqi politicians behave in the near future.
It's true that the votes have not yet been fully counted and it's true that the future direction of Iraq and the surrounding region depends on what happens next. Some conclusions can already be drawn though. The religious parties of the UIA will get around 130 seat and be the largest alliance in the new government. Sunnis are already insisting that the election was illegitimate and warning of the consequences of ignoring their protests.
International organisations and the United Nations should support the call for another election before a revolt breaks out," al-Dulaymi [Iraqi Accord Front] declared.
Good news or bad news? Perhaps it is too early to say for sure. In the meantime, Harry's Place will, I suspect, continue to ignore anything which might look like bad news while emphasising (or in this case just inventing) anything which might be considered good news. As one of the commentors noted, it is an approach which is increasingly looking like an exercise in clutching at straws.

* I'm not sure about an immediate withdrawal though (as suggested by Eskow in the link).

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