Monday, January 31, 2005

Iraq's real resistance fights back

This is interesting and surprising that it is in the Sydney Morning Herald.

On Sunday, the real resistance in Iraq revealed itself. Namely, the resistance of courageous Iraqi men and women to the prevailing terror of Saddam Hussein loyalists and the al-Qaeda-aligned terrorist forces led by the Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In spite of specific attacks on electoral officials, voting places, candidates and electors, a surprisingly large number of Iraqis went to the polls to exercise their new-found rights.

It is too early to judge the extent of the success of this election. But it does appear to have been successful - measured in terms of voter participation in a climate of extremely high levels of intimidation. There is a possibility that Iraq might become one of the few representative governments in the Middle East - along with Israel and Turkey. The Palestinian Authority is also elected.

He goes on to take the anti-war movement to task and concludes with this.

Yet the position of some European critics of the Bush Administration is not obvious. Most notably France. Does President Jacques Chirac really want the US and Britain to withdraw immediately from Iraq and leave the country at the mercy of insurgents? If not, what is France proposing? The UN is so discredited over the oil-for-food scandal that it seems incapable of playing any significant role in Iraq.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the parameters of the debate are clear. The Prime Minister performed well at the Davos economic forum last weekend in stating a clear, albeit unfashionable, position - that Australia continues to support the Bush/Blair stance, which happens to have the support of a majority of Iraqis (including at least some of the Sunni minority). What's more, Labor's leader, Kim Beazley, has junked the ALP's all-troops-out-now policy and acknowledges that the Australian Defence Force has to remain in Iraq for as long as Australia has diplomatic representation in Baghdad.

There is still a long way to go in Iraq. However, President Bush's advocacy of freedom during his second inaugural address seems more realistic today than it did a couple of weeks ago. The television news on Sunday carried the story of an Iraqi woman who said she wished to thank the Prophet Muhammad and President Bush for being granted the right to vote in a free election. She represents the real resistance in Iraq - the soldiers and citizens who have defied the insurgency.

Well worth a read.

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