Friday :: Feb 4, 2005

Iran-Backed Religious Coalition Overwhelming Allawi In First Returns From Iraq

by Steve

"Americans are in for a shock, (they will realize one day that) we've got 150,000 troops here protecting a country that's extremely friendly to Iran, and training their troops."
--Sharif Ali bin Hussein, head of the Constitutional Monarchy Party

Let’s see if Karl Rove can fix this election.

According to Friday's NYT, the religious Shiites who are backed by Iran have opened what may be an insurmountable lead over the party headed by our stooge Allawi in the votes counted so far in Iraq. Worse yet for the Bush Administration, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s forces, sensing victory, are already laying the foundation for a coalition government with the Kurds, and are bypassing Allawi.

Preliminary election returns released Thursday by Iraqi authorities showed that 72 percent of the 1.6 million votes counted so far from Sunday's election went to an alliance of Shiite parties dominated by religious groups with strong links to Iran. Only 18 percent went to a group led by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite who favors strong ties to the United States. Few votes went to Sunni candidates.

The religious alliance, an amalgam of political parties and independents forged by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country's most powerful religious leader, took nearly 1.2 million votes, more than a third of them in Baghdad, against about 295,000 for the coalition led by Dr. Allawi.

Let’s see how Bush and Rove steal this one for their stooge Allawi. Can you imagine the problems that the Pentagon will have in keeping its bases and troops in the country if they are dealing with al-Sistani’s people and the Kurds in a coalition backed by Iran rather than a coalition headed by Allawi?

Update: Both the NYT piece by Dexter Filkins and this piece by Borzou Daragahi, the San Francisco Chronicle’s foreign service writer, report that the Kurds are already demanding either the presidency or prime minister slots, due to their likely second place showing in the voting, which would push Allawi’s party to third. How would Allawi lay claim to either the top slots if his party comes in third? And if al-Sistani’s coalition comes in first, you know who becomes a major player, but one who may not be so friendly this time to American direction?

You guessed it: our man Chalabi, an Iranian spy who has watched the Bush Administration redirect its affection from him to Allawi.

Steve :: 12:29 AM :: Comments (23) :: Digg It!