Monday, January 31, 2005

Wrath of the EoD

Ok, the euphoria of election day has passed. Now grim reality sets in. The task of counting the ballots in a transparently fair way has begun. That alone is monumental.

I fully expect the Enemies of Democracy (EoD) to lash out this week, perhaps with the kind of spectacular attack that they had threatened for election day but couldn't pull off. However, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that for many, many Iraqis the psychological dynamic will have changed. Any attacks will be seen not as "resistence" but as attacks against democracy (that's what they are after all). People didn't stand in line for hours, risk their lives and the lives of their families, just to come out today and support the fascist killers. At least I think that's true for most people.

After all, the vast majority of attacks kill Iraqis, not coalition forces. For the EoD to make their point, any attacks have to be seen as being revenge or punishment for the election. If they wait too long, there won't be a relationship between the attacks and the election. I look for psycho killer Zarqawi to intensify his attempts to starts a Shia/Sunni civil war, probably by committing some unspeakable anti-Shia atrocity, this week while the Shia are still basking in the glow of their collective civic achievement.

Don't let these attacks discourage you. Steel yourself against them (easy for me to say, right, safe at my desk, drinking coffee). Don't buy into the inevitable MSM reports of "the imminent civil war" that are likely follow these attacks. These attacks are expected. Don't flake out, people.

I do expect the number of attacks to decrease over the coming months, especially when the National Assembly is sworn in. However, if the number of attacks does decrease, look for the intensity of the attacks to increase. I don't think it's a fantasy to expect some of least committed or merely politically motivated insurgents to simply put down their weapons and go back to their lives. This will be even more likely if the National Assembly can co-opt Sunni tribal and clan leaders. If this is botched however, then all bets are off.

By the end of the year, when the Iraqi go back to the polls for the third time, to choose the first government under the new constitution, then the only EoD left could be the hardest of the hard core Ba'athists and al Qaeda, (then Iraq would be in a similar situation to, say, Spain, where most Basques don't support ETA yet it continues its bombing campaign year after year, even this weekend). Here's hoping.
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