Friday, December 24, 2004

Iraq: First we vote then we kick you out: "There's one overarching question facing the 83 entities - nine coalition lists, 47 political parties and 27 individuals, totaling more than 5,000 candidates - now competing for the 275 seats in Iraq's interim parliament and that will be entitled to write the next Iraqi constitution. The absolute majority of Iraqis want the Americans out of their country as soon as possible. But how?

"The United Iraqi Alliance - the Shi'ite, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani-supervised electoral list (228 candidates) - has a detailed, 23-point platform. According to its main negotiator, Hussein Shahristani, the platform insists on the 'sovereignty, unity and Islamic identity' of Iraq, and most crucially includes a plan with a precise date for the end of the military occupation. Whether the Americans will accept the plan (neo-conservative dreams for the Middle East collapsing in the sand), or whether this will be enough to placate Sunni anger, no one yet knows."

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