The Iraqi invasion began on the eve of March 20, 2003.
For a duration of a month and a half, U.S. forces waged war against Saddam Hussein and Ba’ath party forces. At the time of the invasion, a respectable amount of people supported the conflict.
The inevitable process of nation building loomed on the horizon following the initial military frontal assault. It is during this timeframe that a large portion of world citizens wanted to forget about Iraq––let it perish, pull out troops, and retreat.
Quite the opposite occurred.
U.S. and international forces remained in Iraq to help secure key areas of the country. An undoubtedly rudimentary government was created to maintain relative control over the nation. Despite three dominant ethnic groups with individual agendas––the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites––Iraq’s political jigsaw puzzle began to take shape.
Elections this past week provide a glimpse into the continued success in Iraqi self–governance. However, before proceed to electoral analysis, it is necessary to investigate events leading up to the national elections.
According to the New York Times, Iraq’s Supreme Court postponed election campaigns for five days for the March 7 elections. This campaigning delay was set due to lack of cohesion on which candidates would be running for the election due to complicated election laws.
Consequently, the Iraqi people accepted this ruling from their judicial branch. Only the legislative branch of the government protested the decision, which wanted to immediately begin campaigning for the elections.
Evidently a respectable governing body has been established in the eyes of the people. Since Iraq’s interior has been secured by a massive military decree, political stability has begun to prosper in the nation.
Tensions undoubtedly began to escalate before elections, predominately among sectarian lines, according to the Washington Post. Some public officials began to claim Shiite officials had unfairly established voting concessions against Sunni candidates.
Despite the sectarian tension, electoral commissioners reviewed all cases of fraud and barred the guilty candidates from running. These actions show substantial progress from previous Iraqi elections, where the complicated system permitted corrupt candidates to run in the elections.
Iraq’s recent elections have been described as “arguably the most open, most competitive election in the nation’s long history of colonial rule, dictatorship and war,” according to the Heritage Foundation and New York Times.
On March 7, all eyes were fixated on Iraq. According to USA Today, the recent elections were of “enormous importance to Iraq.”
This point cannot be overstated. Fair and competitive elections are a fundamental gauge of democratic prosperity. Since previous election attempts have been condemned with fraud, skepticism remained at high levels.
Skepticism is one thing the global community should eliminate. Rather, it will be essential to remain critical of Iraqi democracy.
Although regarding this previous election’s results, criticism does not seem necessary. According to the Associated Press, election turnout remained at 55 to 60 percent.
This turnout percentage is extremely respectable; it is even higher than most U.S. elections.
While these are all good signs for Iraqi political stability, there are factions that demand attention and reform. The Kurdish ethnic group (located in the northern sector of Iraq) is predicted to dominate the recent elections.
Kurdish political parties Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party recently worked together to achieve electoral victory, according to Reuters. Many speculate that this regional domination in the Iraqi Parliament will disrupt the current balance of political power among the three ethnic factions.
Perhaps the international community should not overly speculate on political power balances. Transfer of power from one political group to another begins to enhance and filtrate the democratic system. Without doubt, this transfer of power continually occurs in the United States political system.
The once desolate country of Iraq now contains high notions for future progress. Internal stability and security has effectively yielded to political participation and civic engagement.
However, Iraq is one small piece of the puzzle in the Middle Eastern controversies. Let Iraq represent a functioning example.
Unfortunately, Iraq has different demographics than other nearby countries and should not be copied for stability. Iraqi democracy has and will function for Iraq, and only Iraq.
Clay Moran is a member of the class of 2013. He can be reached at [email protected]