Paging Peter Wehner

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The Washington Post reports on post-election Iraqi politics:

Sunnis, who won meager representation in the 2005 parliamentary election, voted in droves this year, contributing to Iraqiya's narrow lead. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's slate won two fewer seats, but could conceivably come up on top as a result of the manual recount of 2.4 million votes in Baghdad and the disqualification of elected Iraqiya candidates.

That would almost certainly spark widespread anger in Sunni communities, where many view Maliki as a sectarian, and an increasingly authoritarian statesman.

The prime minister and other Shiite leaders have called the recent challenges to the election results lawful processes that must run their course. Allawi said Wednesday's statement would be Iraqiya's final appeal for fairness. He ominously warned that the party would henceforth "revert to the Iraqi people to implement their will."

Adding to the political tension, Human Rights Watch released a report late Tuesday saying that members of a military unit under Maliki's command systemically tortured and sexually abused hundreds of Sunni Arab prisoners.

The report, drawn from interviews this week with 42 men who were formally held at the Muthana Airport military base, says guards beat, shocked and sodomized inmates in an effort to get them to confess to crimes.

Part of me thinks that we've entered into a period similar to 2004-2005, where brewing trouble inside Iraq is either dismissed or ignored. Just as conservatives and the Bush administration pooh-poohed the insurgency right up until the point that it exploded, now (if they're even paying attention) they're dismissing the political violence and declaring President Bush a world-historical figure for the Surge. Liberals, who had an incentive during the Bush years to sound the alarm, have mostly fallen silent (except for Robert Dreyfuss, who thinks Iran has already won). I sure hope I'm wrong. But sectarian torture camps don't bode well for the future of a democratic Iraq.

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