Shiite Factions, With Chalabi And Al-Sadr In Tow, Take Nearly 50% Of Iraqi Vote
The long awaited Iraqi election returns were reported this morning, and to no one’s surprise, the various Shiite parties combined for just under a majority at 48% of the total vote. The Kurds came in second at about 26%, with Mr. Allawi’s party running a distant third at 14%. I do find it interesting that the Shiites finished just under fifty percent, given the size of their earlier leads in the south and west.
It’s also interesting to note that within this block of Shiites that will now be cobbling together a ruling majority in the National Assembly will be Ahmed Chalabi, who is angling to be a compromise candidate for Prime Minister, and he apparently has the support of another growing player in the newly liberated Iraq:
One Iraqi who may hold the key to Chalabi's future is Muqtada al-Sadr, the young cleric who led a series of uprisings against the U.S. military last year. According to aides for both men, Al-Sadr has promised to back Chalabi in his bid to become prime minister. Despite his outlaw status -- he is under indictment for murder and has been in hiding -- Al-Sadr fielded several candidates in the election. And his coalition appears likely to emerge as the largest single bloc inside the Shiite alliance, with as many as 21 seats.
Al-Sadr's backing would give Chalabi a substantial boost toward his goal. Without it, Chalabi's chances would seem slim.
Yeah, I’m sure that the PNAC guys mapped this all out several years ago. Toppling Saddam, installing our toady as interim PM, only to see him tank in the election and lose out to a block controlled by religious Shiites, a firebrand who likes to kill Americans, the Kurds, and an Ahmed Chalabi now bent on payback.
I’m sure with Chalabi and al-Sistani in charge in Iraq, there won’t be many more secret drone surveillance flights over Iraqi air space into Iran either.