What if the Iran’s elections happened in Iraq? It already did.

The year 2005 was highly eventful for Iraqi democracy, in January the first free elections since the fall of the monarchy was held, the election for a temporary parliament enjoyed popular legitimacy despite the Sunni Arab boycott, only 430 complaints of irregularities or one complaint per 20,000 votes were issued. The results were skewed in favor of the Kurdish and Shia communities, and the major pro-Iranian block, the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), managed to win 4 millions or 48% of the popular votes. And in December the election for a more permanent parliament took place, this time the Sunnis participated in large numbers but the UIA managed to take 5 million or 42% of the popular votes. The December elections had 1985 complaints or one complaint per 6000 votes, over three times the rate of the first elections. To an outsider this would seem not out of the normal, to many Iraqis it is way out of bounds with the reality of politics at the time. I will make three observations to illustrate.
1- The prime minister at the time, Al Jaafari, was so unpopular at the time of the elections that he could not keep his position despite the large apparent swing in his party’s favor, if the swing was real then his party could not possibly abandon him.
2- Like the Iranian elections, there were many complaints of vote rigging, the “International Elections Committee” investigated other complaints but stopped short of investigating vote rigging because it did not have the mandate. The Iranian election committee chair appeared on Press TV, an Iranian government funded station, and used the same argument: his committee had no mandate to investigate vote rigging.
3- An incident well known to observers of Iraqi politics but not widely publicized shows the strongest evidence to a Faustian pact between the Bush administration and the UIA. After being frustrated with the non-compliance of his allies, Ambassador Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Baghdad at the time, lost his temper during a meeting with Iraqi parliamentarians and singled out the UIA members in a threat to remove them from power the same way his administration brought them.

Election fraud leads to one main result; it breeds dictatorship. Fraud in the Iranian elections leads to the dictatorship of the Islamic conservative line of Khamenei and Ahmedi Najad, fraud in Iraqi elections can only lead to a UIA sponsored dictatorship.
Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s current democratically elected president, said: “The West, most notably the United States, has been all too willing to dance with dictators in pursuit of perceived short-term goals. The litany of these policies and their consequences clutter the earth, from the Marcos regime in the Philippines, to the Shah in Iran, to Mohammed Zia ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. Invariably, each case has proved that myopic strategies that sacrifice principle lead to unanticipated long-term consequences”
It is up to the Obama administration to either continue the old policy of dancing with dictators by letting the Iranian elections scenario repeat once more in Iraq, or to assure a free and fair elections by mandating the UN security council to run Iraq’s census and elections.

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