Iraq: January 1, 2005


A new year brings forth predictions. So here are ours for Iraq, and why.

Election security, will Iraqis refuse to come out and vote because they are scared?

No. The 80 percent of the population that is Kurdish and Shia Arab are eager, willing and able to vote. Some of the Sunni Arabs may be able to vote as well, in areas where the terrorists are not strong enough to scare people away from the polling places.

Election legitimacy, will the rest of the world believe that the elections are real?

Yes. With 80 percent of the population voting, and the 20 percent not voting prevented from doing so by terrorists within their community, it will be a legitimate vote. One group calling for a boycott does not invalidate a vote. This is not a new problem, terrorists often threaten democracy by trying to prevent people from voting.

Osama bin Laden called for Iraqis to not vote. Will he be obeyed and is he still a strong figure in Arab world?

No. Because of all the Iraqis killed by al Qaeda terror attacks in Iraq, bin Laden and al Qaeda are widely despised and hated. Moreover, bin Laden and his Taliban buddies openly tortured and killed Shias in Afghanistan, thus the 60 percent of Iraqis who are Shia see bin Laden as an enemy.

Is Abu Musab al Zarqawi now stronger and a bigger public figure than Osama bin Laden?

No. Zarqawi is "stronger" than bin Laden right now because he is bankrolled and protected by the Baath Party in Iraq (and the Baath Party in Syria as well, and possibly Shia Islamic radicals in Iran as well.) Zarqawi was a lower level al Qaeda leader in early 2003, living in Baghdad as a guest of Saddam. He's not a very bright guy, more mouth than anything else. Right now Baath is using him as a front man to attract suicidal volunteers, and to mask the Baath Party's sordid record of atrocities in Iraq. Bin Laden is trying to get other al Qaeda commanders into Iraq, but that is proving difficult, as these guys tend to get killed quickly. Some suspect Baath assassins are more responsible than US troops.


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