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It's a Fun-Fun-Fundamentalist World

Finally! The Iraq election results have been released: With 58% of registered voters participating, Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani’s fundamentalist Islam coalition dominated with 48% of the vote, the Kurds followed with 26%, and Prime Minister Allawi’s secular coalition trailed with less than 14%.

Early projections showed al-Sistani's Islamic revolutionaries with almost 60% of the vote, then the election committee delayed releasing results for a recount(?!) followed closely by Rumsfeld's "surprise" pow-wow with Allawi. The final tally shows the cleric-backed Shiite coalition with only 48%. Make of that whatever you want.

I've seen conservatives on the talk shows gushing with relief because the fundamentalist Shiites don't have a majority, opining that they'll have to create a real multi-party democracy. Dream on. Sistani's Islamists are already attempting to forge a power block with the Kurds. The deal would be along the lines of a Kurdish president and more autonomy for Kurdistan (and probably possession of oil-rich Kirkuk), in exchange for a Prime Minister from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and a free hand everywhere else.

Several weeks ago, I predicted that Ayad Allawi and the other pro-US expats would retain some of the top spots. He, Ghazi al-Yawer, Adnan Pachachi, and Ahmed Chalabi are all savvy politicians, so I'm sticking by it. But mostly I'm sticking by it because if I'm wrong, it means Iraq has likely become an anti-US Islamic state just like Iran. Allawi is in Kurdistan trying to block the Sistani/Kurd deal, and the US still has some influence there, so it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Many critics of President Bush's Iraq adventure predicted that, without a totalitarian regime in place to keep Islamic revolutionaries in check, many countries in the Middle East would revert to anti-American Islamic states - a sort of Islamist domino theory, if you will. As validation, it's interesting to note that Islamists made huge gains in Saudi Arabia's first free municipal elections in Riyadh.

In his book, "Intelligence Matters", Senator Bob Graham writes about a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before Bush's invasion of Iraq. Mubarak told him,

"If you succeed militarily - and you will - and if Iraq were to become a democracy, it would almost surely elect a religious extremist government. You will end up with another ayatollah as the head of the government. And that election could cause a cascading throughout the Middle East. The result of your actions, whatever their intentions, could well be two or three more Irans. Is that what you want?"

And that's what we've probably got, isn't it? Even short of a full majority, by tucking the Kurds snugly away in Kurdistan, al-Sistani becomes spiritual head of an Islamic fundamentalist government in Iraq, and where Middle Eastern countries are opening up to democracy, their very conservative and religious populations are voting for Islamists and bringing Osama bin Laden's fundamentalist Islamic movement into the mainstream.

Posted by American Pundit at February 14, 2005 3:39 AM