"No Major Violence"
That's how the AP describes Iraq's provincial elections. I mean, sure, they put the entire country under effective martial law for a day and had voters pass through security checkpoints and razor-wire, but there were no major incidents. See, this time, only eight candidates were assassinated prior to the vote.
I am actually hopeful that President Obama will live up to the security agreement and withdraw from Iraq, but let's not kid ourselves that the place is like Cape Cod on a windswept morning. It's still a war zone and we still broke it, and we'll need to be engaged diplomatically and financially for a long time.
Cernig has more that is interesting:
But there are still deep-seated problems in Iraq which these provincial election's won't touch, or will actually make worse. The Kurdish North didn't participate and neither did the disputed region of Kirkuk. Iraqi troops and Kurdish peshmerga have already faced off there a few times and most analysts see Kurdish aspirations as the primary future source of violence. Then there's the resurgent Sunni minority, where the old and entirely undemocratic tribal power structure is set to be the election winner. And among Shiites, factional infighting which has fractured Maliki's own coalition heavily, looks to be another potential source of future violence. We may not know the full results for a month or more and there are going to be divisive allegations of intimidation, vote-rigging and double-crossing to navigate.
These elections are a good thing, but they're not a universal panacea. Still, the American Right wants to have its cake and eat it. They want to pretend that provincial elections mean "victory" while getting ready to blame only Obama if Iraqi social fractures ignored by Bush for so long lead to more violence later.
...Sunnis in Baghdad were left off the voter rolls. Iraq IS learning about American-style democracy!