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The British newspaper The Guardian reported earlier today that the Sunni hardliners who called for a boycott of the January elections have now admitted the move was a mistake. Rory Carroll confirms that Sunni leaders now want to support the new democratic processes and hope that the new government will reach out to them as a result:
Iraq's Arab Sunnis will do a U-turn and join the political process despite their lack of representation in the newly elected national assembly, Sunni leaders said yesterday. ...
All three blocs have promised to reach out to the Sunnis, who comprise a fifth of the population but won just a handful of seats because of low turnouts in their areas. This will soon be tested as parties forge alliances and tussle for government posts, including that of prime minister and president.
Secular Sunni leaders yesterday accepted the victors' invitation to participate, potentially draining support from the insurgency.
"We can't say it was wise or logical to not participate; it was an emotional decision," said Mr Samaray. "Now the Sunni community faces the fact that it made a big mistake and that it would have been far better to participate."
His party, the main Sunni group since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, was in talks with Kurds and Shias. He added: "The Sunni community will accept to share this country with others. They do not need to dominate."
Guardian readers might find themselves astounded by this turn of events, as the newspaper had often railed against American/UK policy of holding the elections, even under the threat of violence. The Guardian followed the lead of many American media outlets, chiefly the New York Times, in predicting disaster and civil war as a result fof supposedly forcing elections down the throats of people who did not want or need democracy. At first the leftists sneered at the notion that democracy solves anything, and then declared that the concept was too alien to Arab sensitivities to catch on.
As the new reaction from the Sunni groups show, however, democracy transforms societies in ways that nothing else can. The sight of so many Iraqis celebrating their chance to select their own leadership moved the entire world, and those who listened to bitter leaders of sectarian oppression have now realized that they missed their chance to do the same. These leaders -- even without their participation in the elections -- now are being held accountable for their idiotic decision to boycott. Their followers likely have demanded better leadership, and that means either they improve Sunni standing by getting behind the new democracy or face replacement with others who will.
Fortunately for everyone, the other factions in Iraq want Sunni participation just as much as the Sunnis now do, and will grant reasonable concessions in order to get it. As the Guardian explicitly observes, such developments will take the steam out of an insurgency which so far hasn't gotten the message that they lost on January 30th -- not just a battle, but the whole war. They can still kill people, but they have lost any legitimacy they may have had with the Iraqi people.
And that's how democracy transforms, and why it stamps out terror.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Sunnis Pull a 180 from The Desert Tusk
The Sunni's gambled by boycotting the election and lost. They were hoping that the elections would turn out badly (helped along by their boycott) and that pressure on the U.S., both domestic and foreign, to pull out of Iraq would skyrocket. [Read More]
Tracked on February 15, 2005 2:35 PM
» Sunni leadership admits boycott was a big mistake from sheepdog.blog-city.com
Captain Ed has the story for us here:"We can't say it was wise or logical to not participate; it was an emotional decision," said Mr Samaray. "Now the Sunni community faces the fact that it made a big mistake and that it would have bee [Read More]
Tracked on February 15, 2005 5:42 PM
» Sunnis Admit Election Boycott Was A Blunder from CALIFORNIA YANKEE
The Guardian reports that Iraq's Arab Sunnis now realize that boycotting the election was a blunder: Iraq's Arab Sunnis will do a U-turn and join the political process despite their lack of representation in the newly elected national assembly, Sunni [Read More]
Tracked on February 15, 2005 8:59 PM
» Iraq's Sunnis admit election boycott was a mistake from No Illusions
This story didn't get much press, but it could mark the second significant milestone, after the election itself, on the road to real democracy. Yesterday the Guardian reported a major development:Iraq's Arab Sunnis will do a U-turn and jo... [Read More]
Tracked on February 16, 2005 6:46 AM
» Daily Dish from The Cool Blue Blog
A political murder in Lebanon created an earthquake and the aftershocks are still being felt. Without specifically accusing Syria, yet, the US ambassador to Syria has been recalled and before leaving, Ambassador Margaret Scobey delivered a demarche to ... [Read More]
Tracked on February 16, 2005 7:30 AM
» Iraq election returns are in from INCITE
ABC News has the details. Long story short: Sistani's Shiites (a.k.a. United Iraqi Alliance) claimed less than half the vote and will have to form a coalition. [Read More]
Tracked on February 16, 2005 1:06 PM
» Hear Ye! Hear Ye! from King of Fools
Village News - 02/16/05 Captain Ed points out that Jimmy Carter has finally decided that elections in Iraq are a good thing. (So have the Sunnis for that matter, although too late to partipate.) Speaking of Jimmy Carter, Scrappleface clarifies the ... [Read More]
Tracked on February 16, 2005 5:32 PM
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