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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

How Arabs are Reacting to Iraq's Elections

You all know I don't care much about the "Arab street opinion". I tend to focus on what Iraqis think and not on what my fellow Arabs believe about the events in Iraq. I sometimes feel guilty for that. I am a not an Iraqi after all and I might never visit Iraq in my life, but I just feel that I'm simply losing time and energy by focusing on what non-Iraqis think about an Iraqi business.

Well, Egypt's official papers commented on the huge Shia and Kurds turnout but stressed on the Sunni "boycott". I am sure you know that most Sunnis didn't get a chance to vote because of the bad security and not because of a political boycott. Even those parties that withdrew from the elections did so not because they didn't want this "zionist, imperialist, American" elections, but because not many of their voters will head to the polls as a result of the bloodbath that the terrorists threatened to do. To sum up, the news agencies here made sure to stress anything negative in the elections just to save face. A famous journalist even wrote that the election was nothing but a "comedy set by George Bush". Ummmm, very interesting, this "comedy" will then be the biggest show in the world since it has over 8 million "actors"!!!!!!

The truth is my friends, despite the few shortcoming of Iraq's elections (hello, it was the first election in 50 years!!), the government of Iraq will have more legitimacy than any member of the Arab League. If the National Assembly elected Iyad Allawi (who did very well in the polls), Shahrestani, or even Pamela Anderson to become the prime minister, he will have more legitimacy than any of his fellow rulers except Palestine's Abu Mazen who took power after an OK election.

Even though very few Arab intellectuals will admit it, Iraq's election last Sunday will definitely slowly rock some boats. I predict muted discussions will start to emerge as Iraq slowly moves evolves into something decent. Not a Denmark, not a Sweden, but something more decent than its fellow Arab states. I believe Arab commentators and thinkers will silently listen to the roaring sound of Iraq’s 8 million march to the polls even if they don’t want to admit it.

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