Iraq: January 24, 2005


Two weeks before the 2005 Iraqi elections, al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi released an audio tape on the Internet, where he bluntly stated that, "We have declared a bitter war against the principle of democracy and all those who seek to enact it." He made it clear that anyone who voted on January 30th would be seen as an infidel (non-Moslem). Since the senior Shia Arab clergy have been very eager to have elections, this puts al Qaeda very publicly into opposition with Shia Islam, the form of Islam practiced by sixty percent of Iraqis. The Kurds also want elections, and have been holding them for a decade. Al Qaeda does not like Kurds either, even though they are Sunni Moslems. That's because the Kurds have long been eager for elections, and they aren't Arabs. The Kurds are descended from the Indo-Aryan tribes that moved off the steppes thousands of years ago and settled northern India, Europe, Iran and other bits of disputed territory. The Kurds have long occupied disputed territory, unable to establish their own independent country. The Turks and Arabs have a hostile relationship with the Kurds that goes back centuries. But when it comes to democracy, the Kurds and the Shia Arabs agree with one another. 

Al Zarqawi calls the upcoming elections a "plot" to put the Shia Arabs in power. This is a strange, and revealing, statement. Since Shia Arabs are sixty percent of the Iraqi population, an election would, of course, put them in power. Al Zarqawi's comment was directed at his fellow Sunni Arabs, who have long run Iraq, even though they are a minority there. Al Zarqawi is making it clear that he, and al Qaeda, are champions of Sunni Arab supremacy, in the Middle East and elsewhere. 

It's taken a while, but the mass media outside Iraq have finally noticed that the majority of Iraqis want to vote, will vote and that the anti-government forces are not in a position to stop the vote. A country of 26 million is being threatened internally by several thousand active terrorists. These thugs launch 100-200 attacks a day, most of them nothing more than a few dozen bullets sprayed at police or American troops. In the last month, al Qaeda has detonated more bombs in Iraq than American warplanes have dropped. But these efforts are a distant event for over 90 percent of Iraqis. There are simply not enough Sunni Arabs, willing to take up arms, to dominate the majority of Iraqis. The Shia Arabs and Kurds have guns too, and use them when threatened. As a result, Al Zarqawi  and his Baath Party allies are directing most of their efforts at Sunni Arabs who want to vote. The terrorists have done the math and concluded that they cannot stop a majority of Iraqis from voting. It's not just a matter of numbers, but of determination. It's been largely ignored how determined the majority of Iraqis are to vote, and how small and vile are the groups that are trying to stop the elections. The anti-democratic forces represent Sunni theocracy and Baath Party dictatorship. The majority of Iraqis want none of this, and are openly telling anyone who will listen that they are not going to run for cover on election day.


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