A Victory for Secular Iraq

_47545622_allawiwaveap226bThe final results from the 2010 Iraq election are almost in, and the conclusion is very reassuring — the winner is, by just a few seats, Iraqiyya, or the Iraqi National Movement, the “list” led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Allawi only has a slight plurality of votes, and is nowhere close to holding a majority of seats. He now looks to form a government with the other parties to create a government.

Why is this a good thing? Allawi is a Shia but campaigned on a nationalist, secularist platform, and was the favorite candidate of the Sunnis and many secular Shia. He came in with a few seats more than the State of Law alliance led by incumbent prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a “law and order” list with Shia Islamist instincts. These two parties were followed by the National Iraqi Alliance, a primarily Shia Islamist Group, and then the Kurdistan Alliance, which dominates the northern provinces but has little support elsewhere.

Why are Iraqqiya, State of Law, and National Iraqi Alliance described as “lists”? These actually aren’t political parties but rosters of united political parties, candidates, movements and other groups that form coalitions for each election. The constituents of these lists have changed for each election. In the 2010 national election, Iraqqiya stayed the most consistent, including a list of Shia and Sunni secular Parties, together with the Iraq Communist Party. Maliki’s State of Law is centered on the Islamic Da’awa Party that he heads, but it also includes minor parties such as the Anbar Salvation National Front, and the United Independent Iraqi Bloc. The National Iraqi Alliance is centered around Shia Islamist parties such as the Badr Organization and Sadrist Movement but also includes a dozen more minor parties. (That’s Iraq’s very, very complicated political party politics summarised in one paragraph.)

Consider also this fun fact — all the three major coalitions include at least one minor Turkmen party, an ethnic minority that makes up about 5% of Iraq’s population. Iraqqiya includes the Iraqi Turkmen Front, the State of Law list includes the Islamic Union of Iraqi Turkoman, while the National Iraqi Alliance has under its wing both the Turkman Islamic Union of Iraq and the Turkmen Loyalty Movement.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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5 Responses to A Victory for Secular Iraq

  1. Chief Wiggum says:

    Al-Maliki has been making allegations of fraud and may appeal the results. If there could be a peaceful transfer of power, it would be huge.

  2. bob sykes says:

    The much-despised George W. Bush might someday be vindicated.

  3. ElamBend says:

    I’m with Wiggum, we ain’t out of the woods yet and I hope there are some stern talks behind closed doors.

  4. Will says:

    Wasn’t Iraq secular before the invasion ?

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