Democrats & Liberals Archives

I'm Ayatollah al-Sistani, and I Approve This Message

I know the legitimacy of Iraq’s election will be challenged, but I hadn’t considered the campaign finance aspect. Silly me. After participating in the most expensive political campaign in the history of the world, I can’t believe I never wondered where the Iraqi political parties were getting their funding.

...There are also questions about how the parties will fund their campaigns. Some politicians suspect the United States will funnel money toward parties it prefers, such as Mr. Allawi's Iraqi National Accord. Other candidates are accused of getting backing from neighboring Arab countries.

The biggest worry is that Iran - which shares religious ties with the Shi'ites and cultural ties with Iraqi Kurds - will try to prop up its favorites.

"I think the number-one beneficiary of all this are the parties that are backed by Iran," said Hatem Mukhlis, leader of the Iraqi National Movement, a small secular party.

The mention of US meddling reminded me of an article I read recently about how the International Republican Institute, a GOP-backed, government-funded global democratization organization, was training and funding political opposition to Aristide in Haiti before the coup. And how the US is being accused of interference in Ukraine's election, too.

But I don't want to minimize Iran's meddling in Iraq. I suspect they'll have much more influence than any US interference short of President Bush ordering Marines to shut down the polls.

Are there any campaign finance laws in Iraq? Who's in charge of monitoring and investigating misuse of funds (if there's even a concept of such things)? Is Iraq's judicial system robust enough to handle this? Could Iran or former Baathists "buy" or "steal" the election?

Posted by American Pundit at December 20, 2004 3:15 AM