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What will the Iraq elections achieve?

04:27 UK time, Sunday, 7 March 2010

Polls have closed in the second parliamentary elections since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Will this poll bring change?

The voter turnout in Iraq's general elections was 62%, officials said, down from the 75% who voted in the 2005 general elections. Preliminary results are not expected for several days but Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's State of Law Coalition is widely expected to win the most seats.

The elections are being seen as a crucial test for Iraq's national reconciliation process ahead of a planned US military withdrawal in stages.

What will the elections achieve? Is Iraq ready to move away from sectarian violence? If you are in Iraq, what is the atmosphere like at the polls?

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Sometimes I wonder what the Iraq elections will achieve. So soon another one, and it's always dangerous to have them.

  • Comment number 2.

    The Iraqi elections will simply deepen the ethnic divide between the Shias & the Sunnis because the former is doing all it can to exclude the latter from taking part in democracy.

  • Comment number 3.

    Another lot of casualties from bombs, no fully agreed democracy, all sides complaining about vote rigging and another civil war on the horizon.

  • Comment number 4.

    When people bomb polling stations and try to stop elections it simply shows the weakness of their cause. The Anonymous ballot was introduced to the election process to protect the voter from individual violence. It might well be that Iraq is still learning this, but on the whole the idea of free elections works better than mob or sectarian 'voting'.
    It will take many years to educate the violent to accept the views of the people, but that way lays peace and prosperity.
    In the UK it took a long , and often violent, process to come to the current state where elections are normal and threat free. In the USA it needed a civil war and years of court cases to ensure Universal Suffrage. Anyone who expects a perfect result in Iraq so soon is ignoring reality, but the effort of the electoral process is worth it in the long run, and the world community must support it.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi there; last four year round with seven adversative block's bosses had debated, clinched deals and voted .The next parliament's round with 335 MPs (no clear winner block) ,could they chime ?? utter sheer!!. likelihood they expose Iraq to calve numerous federal states as they virtually chopped the nation ethnically (Kurd ,Arab ) and sectarianism (Sunni ,Shiite). We foresee that they would have lasted months to form new cabinet ,the Kurds might have steered the political trajectory and they could tip the scale toward their interest and impose conditions in fragile country (Iraqi election aftermath prognostication )
    Aziz Sarhan Iraq /Basrah

  • Comment number 6.

    Nothing. A country divided into tribes and all hating each other cannot possibly hope to achieve any kind of consensus. Islam and democracy are totally at odds with each other. This whole charade is a waste of time, money and life. The only reason the West poked its nose in is because of oil so lets be honest and do business with them and Afghanistan and leave them to run their countries the way they want to.

  • Comment number 7.

    the iraqi democracy such as it is was imposed by the US/UKinvasion force
    you can't force democracy on people it takes years to evolve internally like it did in the uk and otherdemocratic countries it is up to the peoples of nations to realise democracy is the way forward until they do elections in iraq and Afghanistan are a wast of time money and soldiers lives it is up to them not us

  • Comment number 8.

    This election will help stabilize the country for the short term. Its just a matter of time before the hard line religious freaks wreak havoc again. In the long term it will be all in vain. The watch words are vigilance, quick decisive action and no tolerance to fanatics wherever they are and especially in the UK.

  • Comment number 9.

    There is little point in having elections while the occupying forces are still in the coubtry, beacuse if the occupiers don't like the result, they will change to outcome. PM Jaafari was removed from office (by the Americans) when he did not tow the American line; and this time will be the same, if Iraqis vote in someone who dares to stand up to the occupiers he will be removed.

  • Comment number 10.

    The next, American supported dictatorship, which will not be better than the previous one...

  • Comment number 11.

    They'll achieve about as much as ours do - very little. It's not voter apathy - the problems are way beyond any government's reach. Redistribution of wealth is what we should be aspiring to, but as usual, I'm off to Eutopia! Good luck to them (and us).

  • Comment number 12.

    Iraqis are voting in the second parliamentary elections since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Will this poll bring change?

    Really sorry but until after the event I cannot give you a concrete answer BBC, just have to wait and see. I don't EXPECT the poll to change anything however, as if it never works here why should things be different in Iraq ?

  • Comment number 13.

    When I read about the violence emanating from Sunnis against Shias and vice versa and also Islamic militants bombing innocents I rejoice in the fact that I am an atheist because one thing is clear for sure: across the centuries no good ever came from belief in a god of any ilke. Until Iraq has the courage to reject all religion it will never have peace.I am vey sorry for the Iraqi people as they go to the poles; it should be a day to rejoice for democracy not one to dread for fear of death. Saddam was a tyrant but so is the of the god they all fear otherwise they would not do the dreadful things that they do in His name.

  • Comment number 14.

    Despite the nonsense spouted by some of the nay-sayers above this is an important event for Iraq.

    It is another small but necessary step on a very long road toward peace.

    Good luck!

  • Comment number 15.

    Elections are not the issue here and the western 'coalition' certainly doesn't give a damn about democracy.

    The whole region was carved up between British and French colonials in the first place. Iraq is a false construct which was the remainder of everything else that remained. The only way to keep Iraq together is through a strong man like Saddam Hussein (like they have in many other countries the UK does business with).

    However, the 'coalition' got rid of Saddam Hussein because he nationalised the oil and moved away from the dollar as a currency of exchange in oil dealings, thus undermining the dollar. Contrast this with Tony Blair shaking hands with dictators like Qadaffi and the Saudi despots who occupy Arabia.

    The difference between these despots and Saddam is that Saddam did not give away his county's oil to the multinationals and neither was he interested in bankrupting Iraq buying western armaments like the al-Sauds and Qadaffi do.

    Oil and weapons are the key driving forces behind the Iraqi and Afghan invasions (Afghanistan is a key pipeline route).

  • Comment number 16.

    Hello people.

    I don't know what the elections will achieve.
    We have gone in there and ring-fenced the oil.
    That was what mattered to Bush and Blair.
    How can they sleep at night?

  • Comment number 17.

    I sincerely hope it will bring the communities closer and prove that the insurgents are nothing more than an irritant who's only answer is to maim and kill innocent civilians.
    As the peace process in Northen Ireland has proven, the ballot box is more powerful than the gun and bomb.
    But Iraq must be left to determine its own democracy.

  • Comment number 18.

    Bush and Blair can sleep at night because they are both deeply religious therefore they defend everything they do by their belief in their god and therefore exuse themselves. It was always about oil and Bush and Blair snuggled up together to do a deal; I wonder how history will eventually judge them both?

  • Comment number 19.

    It will achieve more violence, more suicide bombings in a power struggle. Islam and democracy are not compatible and we are seeing the effects of this in the West now. All the sects of islam will turn on each other too and this is dangerous.

  • Comment number 20.

    Democracy has to take its course and in the same breath be given the fullest support in Iraq. Iraqis suffered under the brutal Saddam. It is time to put memories of all that behind them. The Americans have pumped in so much in terms of manpower, critical supplies and have tried to inject sensible rudiments of governance but the time has come for Iraqis to control the levers of power. Of course extremist elements will try to sabotage all the good work put in. The elections will have to be free and fair with rogue elements weeded out. On balance free and fair elections will be the yard-stick on whether the elections have been a success or not. Hopefully these elections will be a new dawn for Iraq!

  • Comment number 21.

    Who knows what will be achieved? The violence so far suggests that whatever comes out of it will be contested in some way, probably by terrorism. You can't impose by force of arms a Western solution on countries that don't have that tradition. India came through it but only at a terrible cost in violence, and partition. The mindless indiscriminate violence of 'Shock and Awe' was not the way to start pointing Iraq to a better system than Saddam's, and we have to understand that older civilisations than ours cannot be forced into Western style democracy. These people were highly cultured when we in Britain were still running around dressed in blue paint. From our point of view the sooner all Western troops leave, the better, for we'll soon then know whether our intervention was successful or not. But I fear for the minorities, and for the refugees still outside Iraq.

  • Comment number 22.

    It's all a joke. Either they vote for a party that the US approves of, or they get invaded again to bring back "democracy".

    Either way, it is hardly the people of Iraq who are getting to choose their future, is it?

  • Comment number 23.

    " BBThee
    ...We have gone in there and ring-fenced the oil.
    That was what mattered to Bush and Blair.
    How can they sleep at night?"

    They thought they could manipulate the world, but their self deception was deadly for millions.

  • Comment number 24.

    The Iraqi elections revealed that, the democracy has many enemies in our region.

  • Comment number 25.

    "What will the Iraq elections achieve?"
    Like every election in Iraq: 100 steps forward followed by 99 steps back - but the accumulation of all those tiny single steps forward will eventually lead to peace and freedom.

  • Comment number 26.

    In the long term Iraqi elections will not prevent another 'strong man' (or dictator if you prefer) taking the reins of power oppressively. It is only a mater of time. If any Middle Eastern country was going to enjoy western democracy it would have been Jordan, autonomous, peaceful and stable since 1946, but despite the trappings of Prime Ministers and a Parliament it remains an absolute monarchy. It seems to be an Arab necessity to look to a single and permanent all-powerful head of state which is incomprehensible to the Euro-American axis. So while the Iraqi elections may have no ultimate success they will cause the people to consider the political quagmire that tribalism brings about.

  • Comment number 27.

    Can anybody tell me who ordered this election? Is this just an Amglo/American ruse to make way for a withdrawal of troops or is it what the people of Iraq really want?
    This country is caught between devil and the deep blue sea and the only certainty as another round of voting takes place is more bloodshed and loss of life.
    There is no way you can change what lies deep within a person's heart and mind. No amount of window dressing will make Iraq a democratically run country and it is time that the West stopped pretending that this is their aim.

  • Comment number 28.

    It`s so sad, but I can`t ever see `peace` in this country - even if all the foreign troops were to leave today.

  • Comment number 29.

    More of the same. It appeqars to me that no one is bothered if the Country gets better or not. The only true winners are the terrorists who are doing less than they did but still make more news than they should.

  • Comment number 30.

    We keep giving the world elections after we bomb them. So why can't we who pay for all this "as tax payers" have an election in the UK?

  • Comment number 31.

    What will the Iraqi elections achieve? Probably a much larger turn-out than at the UK general election. In a very short period, Iraq has obviously achieved something that is inconceivable in Britain: They have inspiring politicians.

  • Comment number 32.

    Nothing will come of the democracy in iraq,And why should it just because we in the west think that it should be the way that the country should go,they have been quite ok for thousands of years running their own country in the fudal system they have all lived by? so why should we in the west force "our so called democratic system" on them i mean it dosnt work in britain we dont have a true democracy now do we? the british wanted a vote on europe but we were ripped off by the so called democratic government (labour) and we now want to sell this lousey thing we call democracy on the people of iraq.

  • Comment number 33.

    "Until Iraq has the courage to reject all religion it will never have peace." Rosalind Mercer

    My sentiments exactly. When they got Saddam out, the first thing the conquerers should have done was establish a secular state. But no, they decided instead to please all the various religious factions and so you are still getting people killing each other because they believe their (non existent) 'god' is better than anyone else's.

    Because of that, I think that these elections are just a sham. Give it a couple more years and it will all unravel as the religious zealots will take over the country - and they'll be worse than the Taliban, you mark my words.

    When are politicians around the world going to stop kow-towing to religion and start being brave enough to state that it is the most unnecessary thing on the world and work to get rid of it altogether.

  • Comment number 34.

    Exactly what the West wants! Or we could have vote rigging like in Afganistan.
    The thing is with Iraq, before the election even starts, one side has a majority. The parties will be pro western capitalist because if they are not they will be nutted (no people round the world can for that matter) and sanctions will follow. Democracy in this form is dead.
    It is the 21st century, yet here we are thinking ourselves enlightend as we carry out dark ages politics of invasion and occupation for resources. This is the new world by old world thinkers, still locked in greed and power they force their ideologies in the name of God using weapons of the big bang and forcing Capitalist, Darwinian policies (The richest will survive) When their own countries are in turmoil through the divisions and failed economics it creates.
    I honestly wish the Iraq people a wonderful and being the cradle of civilisation, learn how to come together for your childrens sakes.

  • Comment number 35.

    These are not free elections as the Iraqis are only allowed to vote for the candidates that the US have approved. The Iraqis will not have peace until the US withdraws and, given its pathological addiction to oil, that isn't going to happen.

  • Comment number 36.

    I do not know what the outcome will be but i hope that it will be just and fair. I feel the people of Iraq deserve peace and prosperity and freedom and i hope that those in power obey their people.

  • Comment number 37.

    What will the Iraq elections achieve?
    - Violence & death.
    - A democratic election in which 100% of Baathist Party is disqualified. (Sunni resentment after the last national vote in 2005 fuelled a ferocious insurgency. To attempt representation in the Sunni province of Salhaddin (where Saddam and his sons are buried) tribal chief Munaf Ali al-Nada is seeking election. The poll results in Salhaddin should be very provocative, interesting.)
    - A crucial test for Iraq's national reconciliation process.
    Of course the Iraqis will somehow fail this reconciliation process. Therefore the United States will have to remain and remain and remain and remain…Eventually, inevitably, the United States will forget that it ever had an exit plan.

    In Iraq hundreds of people are still being killed each month, corruption is high and the provision of basic services such as electricity is still sporadic.
    Here's an interesting question:
    If the Americans left; if American contractors left, and suddenly
    - the killings stopped,
    - most of the violence stopped
    - utility provision stabilized,
    what would you think about these results? Would you associate these results with the exit of the Americans and the American contractors?

    Back to the election violence:
    Maj-Gen Qassim al-Moussawi said: Most of the mortars are being fired from Baghdad's predominantly Sunni districts. Okay, but where they are being fired from does not equate to who is firing them. Maj-Gen Qassim al-Moussawi has made a statement that can lead to an assumption, and of course those who make assumptions without evidence...

  • Comment number 38.

    What are they being deluded into voting for? This US approved puppet or that US approved puppet? There is little free choice – many vote the way their beliefs says, as many here vote according to their perceived “class”, “unacceptable” candidates are not allowed to run.
    If this is supposed to prepare the populace for democratic self determination it is a bizarre model.

  • Comment number 39.

    not a lot. corrupt will continue as before.

  • Comment number 40.

    Just as long as very undemocratic Iran keeps its nose out, then there is a chance of a long-lasting peaceful and democratic future in Iraq.

  • Comment number 41.

    There is a deep divide between the erstwhile ruling Sunnis and the majority Shias. These two denominations are at each other's throat all over the world. The embers of violence in Iraq have not died down even after seven years in the war. Democracy has not yet sunk in the Iraqis as it is still a novel experience for them. Reconciliation still seems a far-fetched dream. This can be gauged in the increased security at the polling stations. There can be no fair voting amid violence giving fillip to rigging and other election malpractises. It seems democracy is thrust on the common Iraqis who still fear the stalking suicide-bombers.

  • Comment number 42.

    Wouldn't it be nice if this poll made a difference? But it won't be. You can't cure years of division and hatred with a couple of western imposed "elections".

  • Comment number 43.

    I've noticed that moderators are censoring posts. Anyone else noticing this should do as I've done -- gather evidence and make a snail mail complaint. The only reason for the rejection of this post is "off-subject". Well is it?

  • Comment number 44.

    "10. At 10:15am on 07 Mar 2010, Tibor wrote:
    The next, American supported dictatorship, which will not be better than the previous one..."

    Oh dear Tibor, is that all you can see - an "American supported dicatorship"?So all these people have died for nothing... Lets bring back Sadaam, or whoever in his family is still around, restore pre-American-supported dictatorship rule, apologise for meddling, and may be offer to rearm his army. Pay compensation too?

    This bigoted hatred of America blots out all sensible discussion, and offers no solution, which is just the long hard slog of democracy for the people of Iraq.

  • Comment number 45.

    Good luck in the real world Moderators! Can't wait!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Perhaps our Government and the US will admit that the time our services spent in Iraq and all the lives lost was a waste of time and none of those ountries including Afghanistan can ever become Democracies a there are so many sects in their religions they will never agree.

  • Comment number 47.

    Thank god we didn't have HYS during WW2, if we did we'd have to put up with so called anti-war campaigners asking why we invaded France when we were at war with Germany and announce that the war in unjust because Non of the Jews being killed in the camps came from England.

    Every time a Sunni kills a Shiite (or the other way round) an anti-war campaigner will stand up and say that the coalition did it. They are perpetuating the situation and its about time there lies were dealt with in the correct way, by putting them on trial for war crimes.

  • Comment number 48.

    Sectarian violence, bomb blasts. Whose fault is it? What was life under Saddam like? What did the U.S.-led invasion alter in the alleged stability of the country?

    Iraqis may look back to those days of Saddam and compare them to Western-style life now. Also a look to their Iranian neighbor will sober them.

    I think, Iraqis know quite well what they should vote for. They can only continue on the path toward democratic life.

  • Comment number 49.

    Like ours to come ; nothing

  • Comment number 50.

    It's up to the Iraqi citizens what these elections will achieve. If they want stable government by the will of the people, excellent. If they prefer otherwise, that's their problem but their choice as well.

  • Comment number 51.

    If you believe in democracy then the majority of the people who vote will get the canditate they want. I'm afraid thats the way it works. This way the majority of people will be content with their selection. Minorities will never take over and that seems fair enough to me !!
    Minorities will have to be satisfied by having a smaller representation.
    The actual mechanics of election i.e. First past the post, or proportional representation is another matter that should be debated.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    What will the Iraq elections achieve? The illusion for the benefit of the American public that invading Iraq was justified. Real democracy cannot exist in a tribal or clan based society. Simply overlaying Western values on top of Middle Eastern ones is as ridiculous as trying to overlay Middle Eastern values on top of Western ones.

  • Comment number 54.


    Iraq is an enormous country geographically; with ancient and complex tribal allegiances maintained through fear, comfort, safety or situations many Iraqis don't condone? That experience is not so far from UK history either, with endless invasions, unelected power, civil war and massacre of the people for their beliefs too?

    The Iraqi people should know that the world hopes this democratic vote option in Iraq is achieved to provide the Iraqi people with an 'answerable to the Iraqi people' a seat of government, male and female, representatives, behaving as representatives, and not by religious, tribal or sexist dogma .. then that's a noble cause and, if achieved Iraq should be applauded as a noble country of noble people!

    However, Iraqi people are no different to any other people on the planet in that they require: clean drinking water, sanitation, independent food supplies, jobs, decent medical care and an uncorrupted police and legal system?

  • Comment number 55.

    The political vacuum In Iraq cannot be filled by holding elections. It will take decades for the Iraqi people to settle down, as Saddam’s execution has made some people happy, but it has also made majority of the people unhappy.
    Saddam was not ousted through political and democratic process but he was removed by invading a sovereign state on wrong pretext that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, where it did not have weapons of mass destruction.
    Every day bombing and killing of innocent Iraqis are the outcome of foreign invasion. It is still to determine whether US got the desired results or not, but one thing is clear that due to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, US went into recession with its allies.

  • Comment number 56.

    is so sad that we cannot relinquish the past. One million deaths and a few millions refugees and unaccountable sufferings. Who are the responsibles?

  • Comment number 57.

    As a matter of trust/Iraq is all bundled up in burying the past-or even the future-the ability to live free in Iraq seems broken in human rights(terms)/of sustaining freedom-the Iraqis move more around being the disease because of anothers institutions,,they avoid freedom with all thoughts.

  • Comment number 58.

    Simple, more violence and death.

  • Comment number 59.

    I don't practice any religion, but do believe in God. Therefore, am praying for the Iraqi people to democratically achieve a government representative of the Iraqi people.

    I pray for an Iraqi government made up of the elected by the electors. An Iraqi government, with male and female representatives of all faiths, that openly, bravely and honestly argue with each other, but still uphold and represent those who need them most .. ordinary and normal people who just want peace in their neighborhoods, not protection racket gangs. Ordinary people who want clean drinking water and decent sanitation?

  • Comment number 60.

    One would obviously hope for stability, but we are talking about a country where the people are separated by a common religion and by which Imam they follow and the terrorists know this and feed on this...
    What follows after the results will really show how far the country will have progressed...One can only hope...

  • Comment number 61.

    Will this poll bring change?

    I hope that the poll will bring massive changes in the political system in Iraq, but, with my skeptical nature, I am sorta of cautious of the poll will make many changes in the country.


    (D)

  • Comment number 62.

    The only thing that the Iraqi elections will do is to further inflame the hatred and mistrust between the Sunni and Shia tribes and, undoubtably, force the UK and USA goverments to pour more cash into the area trying to secure their share of the oil reserves.

  • Comment number 63.

    This so relevant to Iraq elections and other majority Muslim countries?

    PLEASE. Can any Muslim, OR any professor of theology, explain why Muslim Sunnis and Muslim Shias fight/or appear to hate each other? Is it tribal, historical, cultural or racial?

    Should HYS have a debate about this? Do Muslims want this discussed openly and globally?

  • Comment number 64.

    Of course the Iraqi elections have been "marred by violence". What else would anyone expect? For the sake of the Iraqi people and their future, that is a problem that will have to be overcome. There's no turning back and clock - and if there were, it would not be for anyone's benefit other than the fingers-in-the-pie gangsters that Saddam encouraged.

    Iraq, we wish you well. It's been a long, hard struggle, and we hope (for all our sakes) that there will come a time when your elections can be held without fear of serious violence and murder.

  • Comment number 65.

    Democracy is failing in the United States so I don't have high hopes it will work in the Middle East.

  • Comment number 66.

    Not a lot! Iraq is still tribal. The tribes hate each other. That is true in Afghanistan as well. Unfortunately our western politicians seem to think that they can make changes to this way of life when in fact the local people of both countries are quite happy with their tribal/war lord system. Arrogance is too polite a word to use about our politicians in these circumstances.

  • Comment number 67.

    This election like previous only prove that "meaningful" regime change can only be achieved through the "internal majority Will" of the people of Iraq.. Since The UK Government together with USA invaded Iraq .Around 400,000 Iraq deaths and things are still the same !!!.. It was wrong yesterday ,wrong today and wrong tomorrow to invade Iraq ..As a result many more deaths than under Sadam . Not only that people still being tortured it's just that theUK can justify such torture now ...WHY oh WHY just not let the people of Iraq establish a Government by discussion... then by the ballot box. UK should keep out

  • Comment number 68.

    These elections will once again prove that democaracy is no some magic syrum that can be injected into any situation and improve it. People must make there own choices and if the people of a country don't like what there governent is doing it is their responsability to change it and no one else's. We (the U.S.) must mind our own business and fix our own domestic problems. Iraq was bad off. Now it is way worse and democracy isn't the answer.

  • Comment number 69.

    Before we start celeberating the joys of democracy let us not forget that it is a western concept and it has never succeeded in a Muslim country.

  • Comment number 70.

    Give it a couple of years at most, and Iraq will revert to a condition of unrest, where tribal disharmony usurps what little democracy there is now.

    Even our government must realise that the war has achieved nothing of consequence. Soon, another leader will emerge as dictator, and all the countless lives will have been sacrificed for nothing.

    History will show that it would have been better to have left Sadam Hussein in power, and use diplomacy instead of "Shock and Awe" tactics.

  • Comment number 71.

    In VS Naipaul's prophetic novel A Bend in the River, Salim, the Indian-African narrator, laments his community's political immaturity, envying Africa's European conquerors: "an intelligent and energetic people", who "wanted gold and slaves, like everybody else," but who also "wanted statues put up to themselves as people who had done good things for the slaves". Salim believes that the Europeans "could do one thing and say something quite different because they had an idea of what they owed to their civilisation"; and "they got both the slaves and statues".

  • Comment number 72.

    As an Iraqi, it always amuse me how leftists and Islamists think their opinion about Iraqi elections does matter, it is even more amusing that they actually agree with each other. Stuck deep in Soviet style of assigning conspiracy to everything and trying to impose their vision of denying freedom on Iraqis.

    This elections despite the leftists perception is important to us as much as it is important to them to impose taxes on the successful as a punishment, maybe this comparison will make it finally known to them what this means, the puppets of world socialism can not tell us we are the puppets of the west, have some respect for the millions of Iraqi voters. Don't preach about freedom when you fail to allow anyone to achieve it.

  • Comment number 73.

    Maybe now the Yanks and Brits will finally pack their bags and go home.

    I know: wishful thinking.

  • Comment number 74.

    # 63 - I'm no professor of Islamic theology, it isn't even my faith, but as I understand it the fundemental different theologically between Sunnis and Shi'ites is that the Sunni believes he has a direct link to Allah (praise be to him) via the Holy Qu'ran and prayer, while Shi'ites prefer the intermediary of a preacher to interpret the writings of Mohammed (pbuh)... although why that should cause them to come to blows baffles me as well.

    Historically, I understand that the divide began after the death of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) with differences of opinion about how the spiritual leadership of the faith should be organised.

  • Comment number 75.

    Democracy is very NEW to Islamic countries so there is hope that it will work better for the women and children in the form of better opportunities for education, health-care and economic opportunities. Iraq is facing the threat of the left over angry men from Saddam's regime, they have funds stashed and weapons to cause death and destruction. Hopefully with election there will be the ability of the civil government to serve all levels of Iraqi population. Law and order will have to restored with an iron fist, otherwise groups of roving thugs will start carving the city for their own benefits.

  • Comment number 76.

    The problem is a simple one. The world is plagued by politicians and would be politicians. Occasionally you get one who is genuinely good and can be trusted but they are such a rare breed that I think, generally, the world would be a far better place without them.
    There was an evil in Iraq in Saddam. There is no doubt and very little denying it. I really fail to see that there is less evil in Iraq now. There is an evil that would never have been there were it not for the Bush/Blair adventures, ably supported by their puppets who went out to drop bombs and kill.
    To try and suggest that there is anything noble, patriotic or in any way admirable to go off and illegally fight an illegal war is nothing short of dillusional at the best.
    How any politician can still claim that invading Iraq was a good thing only demonstrates a supreme arrogance and absolutely no empathy, understanding or sympathy for the people of that country. How anyone can still be a part of the band of individuals who lend support to these politicians by going off to fight their wars under the labels "Defending their country" is beyond me. These people are the tools by which it has been strongly argued that war crimes have been committed, and so under the principles established at the Nuremburg trials are probably also guilty of war crimes. Why would people do that? Where are their moral values?
    Under Saddam there was undoubtedly an evil but it was a centralised evil. It was contained and it was possible to some extent suppress it. The Bush/Blair evil is entirely different. It is anywhere and everywhere. It is spread out among many different factions and it has become a part of an international ring of evil. It will probably stay for many years to come, maybe even generations as was the case in Ireland. The crimes committed by Bush, Blair and the forces that supported them are far greater than those committed by Saddam.
    So do I think that elections will resolve anything? Surprisingly, no

  • Comment number 77.

    Nothing

  • Comment number 78.

    Better to have a democratic election then to still be living under Saddam’s rule!

    So long as it isn't a fixed democratic election of course.

  • Comment number 79.

    I think this is an important step for the Iraqi government to strengthen democracy in the country, despite the obvious hardships, but it may even draw a thicker gap between peace and hatred.

  • Comment number 80.

    Post #55 3.16pm 07 March. 'Syed' Karachi, Pakistan.

    You mention 'political vacuum in Iraq cannot be filled by holding elections'. Did Saddam hold elections? Correct me sir.

    However, let's be clear and calm on one thing at least? The majority of UK population was against the invasion of Iraq and despite enormous/vociferious demonstrations and endless petitions by UK people against any attack on Iraq, all was ignored by Tony Blair and the infamous G W Bush and his so-called foreign policy!

    The UK population are still angry and disgusted by UK involvement in US led Iraq invasion and now in Afghanistan?

    You sir, cannot be more angry than the majority of the UK people!



  • Comment number 81.

    Sam Slade wrote:
    The problem is a simple one. The world is plagued by politicians and would be politicians. Occasionally you get one who is genuinely good and can be trusted but they are such a rare breed that I think, generally, the world would be a far better place without them.
    There was an evil in Iraq in Saddam. There is no doubt and very little denying it. I really fail to see that there is less evil in Iraq now. There is an evil that would never have been there were it not for the Bush/Blair adventures, ably supported by their puppets who went out to drop bombs and kill.
    To try and suggest that there is anything noble, patriotic or in any way admirable to go off and illegally fight an illegal war is nothing short of dillusional at the best.
    How any politician can still claim that invading Iraq was a good thing only demonstrates a supreme arrogance and absolutely no empathy, understanding or sympathy for the people of that country. How anyone can still be a part of the band of individuals who lend support to these politicians by going off to fight their wars under the labels "Defending their country" is beyond me. These people are the tools by which it has been strongly argued that war crimes have been committed, and so under the principles established at the Nuremburg trials are probably also guilty of war crimes. Why would people do that? Where are their moral values?
    Under Saddam there was undoubtedly an evil but it was a centralised evil. It was contained and it was possible to some extent suppress it. The Bush/Blair evil is entirely different. It is anywhere and everywhere. It is spread out among many different factions and it has become a part of an international ring of evil. It will probably stay for many years to come, maybe even generations as was the case in Ireland. The crimes committed by Bush, Blair and the forces that supported them are far greater than those committed by Saddam.
    So do I think that elections will resolve anything? Surprisingly, no

    Since this new model HYS haven´t any approvel mechanism, so i have to copy and paste this commentary to say that i totally agree with it.

  • Comment number 82.

    A small step to determine which sect will dominate the other. Democracy is not a realility in ethnic and religion divided countries.

  • Comment number 83.

    I think it is for the Iraqis themselves to decide what this election will achieve or fall short of because such things are never perfect in their outcome and never to the saitsfaction of any one group. There is however one thing that seems a guiding motive this time among Iraqis of all persuasions even the radicals and that is they have realized that the sooner they have a semblance of a functioning government the sooner the foriegn invaders will be ousted from the country because not many Iraqis view the western armies present on their soil as "liberators" but as selfserving oppotunists and Iraqis want to see them gone forever. Once this is achieved the Iraqis will go back to their sectarian bickering free of the chains of foreign occupiers. Western leaders for their narrow purposes are of course hailing this election as a vindication of their policies but Iraq does not have a wall around it and the regional influence of Iran and Syria will make its mark on Iraqi politics. Do not be surprized if some future Iraqi leaders call for the destruction of Israel or at least join the general anti-Israeli front. Iraq will not be another Morocco and any ideas of such by the US or UK is selfdelusion. Iraqis have no brotherly love for the Jews given realities in the region especially the situation of the Palestinians.

  • Comment number 84.

    Although Iraq is under a brutal occupation by it's enemies, these elections are not a farce like the Afghan elections, thanks to the leadership of religious parties and statesmen like Ayatullah Sistani.

    These elections can further shore up the legitimacy of a central government that can shut the door on foreign armed intervention by both West/Zionists as well as Al-Qaida.

    Enough of this nonsense about Iraq not having a democratic tradition. The root of democracy is nothing but equality of mankind, which this land understands better than anyone else.

    Sunni Arab have held power here since time immemorial, their population is about 25%. They should be given a choice through a referendum to choose all the power in 25% of Iraq or 25% of power in all of Iraq. I hope they choose the later.

  • Comment number 85.

    God .....why so many pessimists?.....
    .It means that as a nation they are steadily moving in the right direction and beginning to understand the power of their individual vote. Not a bad start for a country that has never had a democracy.
    And as a Brit I am NOT angry that we helped the Iraqis get that freedom for without the Americans and us Saddam would still be in power today ...... (he managed to kill half amillion fellow Iraqis during his reign) ...but to many of you that would be fine, just fine....so long as it wasn't your family dying or disappearing.
    Tell me why having Saddam in power today would be good for Iraq? Tell me what the UN would have done to influence Saddam ??? Talk?? ... Dream on... the UN are useless.
    Saddam has gone.... Iraq has a chance. I hope the elections lead them to a better future for the people of Iraq.

  • Comment number 86.

    "15. At 10:39am on 07 Mar 2010, Dissident wrote:
    Oil and weapons are the key driving forces behind the Iraqi and Afghan invasions (Afghanistan is a key pipeline route)."

    Oh can we please drop this whole "oil" conspiricy already??? Why would we engage in a war that will come with a bill of $3 Trillion for Iraq alone just to get a good deal on oil for a few $Billion.

    Whatever your opinion of America, they would not be so daft as to go to war for the sole purpose of buying five pound notes for a Tenner.

  • Comment number 87.

    corum-populo-2010 wrote:
    However, let's be clear and calm on one thing at least? The majority of UK population was against the invasion of Iraq and despite enormous/vociferious demonstrations and endless petitions by UK people against any attack on Iraq, all was ignored by Tony Blair and the infamous G W Bush and his so-called foreign policy!

    I would suggest that the election in the UK and US that followed were a clear indicator that the majority of people supported the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and a number of people that protested represented a small minority. Considering a large number of those protesting supported the terrorists actions and aims, supported Saddam's regime or were just anti-western, anti-capitalists and anti-Semitics, its no wonder the so called 'anti-war' camp was a minority vs the anti-dictatorship one.

    Why are some people happy for others to live under a brutal dictatorship? I don't remember Bush ever dropping poison gas on American towns?

  • Comment number 88.

    This is an old society and it could take many years for us to see much change. These people have to change their world view and this will take time. It requires a strong desire for change, much like those that created the USA, caused the French revolution, etc. It is certainly good that Saddam is gone but the west has to be patient and coutinue to support change in this nation and this region if we want to have peace in our global community.

  • Comment number 89.

    Nothing will be achieved until foreign forces are out of Iraq. Forget revenues oil revenues!

  • Comment number 90.

    Sam Slade wrote:
    The crimes committed by Bush, Blair and the forces that supported them are far greater than those committed by Saddam.

    So what crimes exactly did they do that justify that comment? Did they drop WMDs on British and US towns? Don't judge a nation's leader by how they treat the people of other nations but by how they treat the people of there own.

  • Comment number 91.

    07 Mar 2010, tc wrote:
    God .....why so many pessimists?.....
    .It means that as a nation they are steadily moving in the right direction and beginning to understand the power of their individual vote. Not a bad start for a country that has never had a democracy.
    And as a Brit I am NOT angry that we helped the Iraqis get that freedom for without the Americans and us Saddam would still be in power today ...... (he managed to kill half amillion fellow Iraqis during his reign) ...but to many of you that would be fine, just fine

    What planet are you on re "steadily moving in the right direction"? Incidently, Saddam was told that he could remain in power provided he gave up his WMDs. Mind you, that was before they found out he had none.

  • Comment number 92.

    I hope for high turn out and a start of the great sucess of democracy for the Iraqi people so we can shove it down the throats of "nay-sayers" and terrorists.
    Honestly the war happened,i didn`t support it but it happened now let Iraqis create a prosperous society instead of the pathetic comments most anti war,anti Americans are leaving.

  • Comment number 93.

    With a bit of luck these poor people may get back to how their lives were before the Bush/Blair illegal war.

  • Comment number 94.

    The elections will prove that the war inflicted by Tony Blair and his associates was wrong and therefore they should be put on trial for their mistakes. That probably includes the majority of the labour party as well.

  • Comment number 95.

    There is the heretical view that western style ballot box democracy doesn't fit well in societies outside the west. In fact - does it even work inside the west? Remember the Bush/Florida scandal? The terminally declining voter turnouts in the UK? (which I don't think Labour's pat answer, National Curriculum Citizenship, is in any danger of fixing). "Ballot boxes" themselves smack of 18th/19th century hustings. Is it time for some root and branch modernisation of how we vote? Are there any other brilliantly innovative models of voting anybody can think of? New technology? Electronic voting? Laptops or mobiles? Put Simon Cowell's or Philip Schoffield's producers in charge? (Don't mock - they get rapid, high turnouts!)

  • Comment number 96.

    So the Iraqi people have free elections and despite the threats and bombs still vote in their millions and hold up their fingers proudly in defiance of all the violent maniacs who would return Iraq to the Saddam Hussein days

    Yes, Democracy can be a slow and painful process and also imperfect but hail to the Iraqi people who value their new found freedom by voting - something they would never have had under the moronic Hussein and his blood thirsty followers

  • Comment number 97.

    You cant give somebody freedom. They have to take it. The Iraqis know people are out to kill them when they vote, yet they still turn up in their droves. If Iraq isnt working why do they bother? Hope is still alive and I think Iraq grows stronger with every election. Best of luck to your Iraq and may your troubles rot away with Saddam.

  • Comment number 98.

    Democracy is when people can vote for who they want withour fear of reprisals.
    Good luck to those who vote not fight.

  • Comment number 99.

    #74 @ 4.21 07 March in response to #63 of 07 March.

    Thank you very much for your prompt, educated and informed response to my question. Good to know we are equally baffled by conflict between Muslims with a different lineage of belief within Islam?. Kindest regards, and thanks again.

  • Comment number 100.

    Sam Slade wrote:
    The crimes committed by Bush, Blair and the forces that supported them are far greater than those committed by Saddam.

    So what crimes exactly did they do that justify that comment? Did they drop WMDs on British and US towns? Don't judge a nation's leader by how they treat the people of other nations but by how they treat the people of there own.

    "Shock and Awe" againsy Iraqi citizens. Remember Faluga?

 

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