Cigars in the Sand

Commentary, Notes and Pictures from my time in Iraq

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Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Farmer by genetics, Lawyer by training, currently "vacationing" in Iraq and advising the Iraqi government on border security issues. Before moving to Baghdad, I served in the White House as Deputy Counsel for the Homeland Security Council. I can be reached at opusxryanathotmaildotcom.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Successful Iraqi Elections

Despite what you may be reading, I expect the January 30th elections to be a big success. I define "success" as high participation resulting in the formation of a new Iraqi government with representation from almost all Iraqi interests. The Shia's will undoubedly be the big winners, with the Kurds also making a strong showing. Neither group, however, is going to establish a government that ecludes the other voices. They can't; both groups know that the security situation is too tenuous to start picking fights with the opposition at this early stage.

As for participation, here is where we are today:

"IRI conducted the poll Dec. 26 to Jan. 7 in 16 (of 18) Iraqi provinces. It shows that 'anticipated participation numbers among Iraqis remain consistent [with previous polls], with over 80 percent stating that they are very likely or somewhat likely to vote on Jan. 30.'
Contrast that 80 percent turnout with our own 60 percent turnout last November - America's highest since 1968. "

Even the unstable parts of Iraq should show promising results:

"The survey also indicates that more than half of all Iraqis living in the troubled Sunni areas — and nearly half of the Sunnis, themselves — are "likely" or "somewhat likely" to vote."

Will the elections be perfect? No way. Will there be attacks on election day? Undoubtedly. But Iraqis are ready to go to the polls. And they will go- just wait and see.