Monday, January 24, 2005

Turbans Need Not Apply

On this Monday, January 24, the worst day of the year, some hopeful signs that the pending Iraqi elections may set an example not just for the democratic act of the voting process, but also for the model of government to be created.

According to today's New York Times, the concerns about Iraq becoming a greater Iran might be unfounded based upon a prevalent commitment to secularism:
"There will be no turbans in the government," said Adnan Ali, a senior leader of the Dawa Party, one of the largest Shiite parties. "Everyone agrees on that."
And that view appears to be widespread, and based upon a negative perception of the Mullahs of Tehran:
The conviction that the Iranian model should be avoided in Iraq is apparently shared by the Iranians themselves. One Iraqi Shiite leader, who recently traveled to Tehran, the Iranian capital, said he was warned by the Iranians themselves against putting clerics in the government. "They said it caused too many problems," the Iraqi said.
These hopeful signs are mitigated somewhat by the background of one of the likely candidates for Prime Minister, to be chosen by the Party that is able to assemble a government from the 275-seat National Assembly:
Adil Abdul Mahdi, the Iraqi finance minister and a leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, flirted with communism in his youth, has two master's degrees from French universities and maintains a home in France.

Communist background, French educated (sic), French landowner. Now that's reason enough to brave the car bombs and head to the polls.

A thorough roundup of all the Shia, Kurdish, Sunni, and National list parties up for election in Iraq can be found here.