January 20, 2004
general elections are the ideal method of picking members
of the Iraqi Transitional Parliament. However, time restraints,
imposed due to upcoming US presidential elections, coupled
with security concerns within Iraq, render this unfeasible.
The next best thing would be to have a selection procedure
based on previously agreed percentages, as was effectively
done last July in the selection of the Governing Council,
whose breakdown was consistent with the Salahuddin percentages.
The worst option would be to have a selection procedure
not guided by agreed percentages, and this in effect
is what the current 15th November plan is. Fearful of
unfair representation or the return to minority rule,
both possibilities of the current plan, the Shia of
Iraq have taken to the
streets in Baghdad
and other cities, calling for general elections.
It is this fear which has led to Sayyid Seestani's continued
insistence for elections, hoping this will push the
US to a compromise that would guarantee fair representation.
It is unclear how much the US is willing to change
the plan and what suggestions, if any, the
can offer. What is certain is that the transition
plan cannot remain as it is.
the capture of Saddam, Iraqis, no longer fearful of
the old regime, are tipping
off the Coalition and Iraqi police about
insurgents, most of whom seem to be foreign Arab extremists.
This comes as the Governing Council clamps down on members
of the former
Ba'ath regime. Increasingly, attacks are
aimed against innocent
Iraqis, which is fueling anger - further
aiding in rooting
spate of attacks against Sunni
and Shia mosques are most likely being carried
out by Saddam
supporters, in the hope of igniting sectarian
violence, however this has failed to materialize.
Iraqi economy is showing signs of sustained recovery as
the new Saddam-free dinar reaches
an eight-year high, and a trade
fair focusing on rebuilding Iraq opens.