Saturday, June 23, 2007

The border-crossing fraudulent Iranian voters

"Outside the precincts of government, Muqtada's popularity grew in the months following the US-led invasion, but not because of his anti-Iranian posturing.  In fact, his superficial nationalist rhetoric belied his actual interest in drawing Iranian money and support.  Iranian birth and citizenship did not diminish Ayatollah Sistani's broad support among Iraq's Shias, and despite close ties with Iran, SCIRI was able to deepen its support in Baghdad and the south.  At the same time, Iyad Allawi, [ many Iraqis like Shaqawa do not like Allawi] who campaigned in the January elections as a bridge-builder, reaching out to Sunnis, did poorly; by some estimates his support was even weaker than his numbers suggested.  Almost a year later in the December 2005 elections his popularity would plummet even further.  All this showed that amid the raucous accusations of Iranian influence-peddling in Iraq, for the country's Shias the enemy was not external - not Iran - but rather internal.  The problems, as Shias saw them, were Ba'thism and Salafi-style extremism, which were casting a grim double shadow over Sunni politics."

-Vali Nasr, The Shia Revival

This reminded me of Khalid Jarrar:

"Iraqi Sunnis' attitudes were from the outset shaped by their belief that they would able to get back on top.  Many Sunnis clung to the illusion that the Shias' majority status within the country was a myth spread by America.  One Sunni talking point, repeated by no less a figure than Jordan's King Abdullah as well as then Defense Minister Shaalan, was that Iranians were crossing the border into Iraq in order to inflate Shia numbers.  The insinuation was that many, if not most, Shias were not actually Iraqi at all - that Iraq was being turned into a Shia state by force and fraud."  [ Sometimes I find these beliefs amusing.  We know that king Abduallah's not the sharpest tool, but damn, he's the king!  Ya gotta pass that stuff through your wife before you try it in public, ya hmar. ]

The currency of such beliefs among Sunni Arabs was important in driving the Sunni decision to boycott the January 2005 elections - a choice that the weight of Sunni opinion later came to recognize as a mistake.  Many Sunnis at the time, however, were still overestimating their own share of Iraq's population and so believed that sitting out the January vote would hold turnout below the final mark of almost 60 percent."

-Vali Nasr, The Shia Revival

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