Friday, October 22, 2004


Robin Wright's story Religious leaders ahead in Iraq poll sure makes Bush's move look like a master stroke -- for Iran. (Matthew Yglesias' theory about Iran running Bush's policy, posited in early July, sure looks more likely as the months pass.). From Wright's article:
Leaders of Iraq's religious parties have emerged as the country's most popular politicians and would win the largest share of votes if an election were held today, while the US-backed government of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is losing serious ground, according to a US-financed poll by the International Republican Institute.


Within the Bush administration, a victory by Iraq's religious parties is viewed as the worst-case scenario. Washington has hoped that Allawi and the current team, which was selected by US and UN envoys, would win or do well in Iraq's first democratic election, in January. US officials think a secular government led by moderates is critical, in part because the new government will oversee writing a new Iraqi constitution.

"The picture it paints is that, after all the blood and treasure we've spent and despite the [US-led] occupation's democracy efforts, we're in a position now that the moderates would not win if an election were held today," said a US official who requested anonymity because the poll has not been released.

The poll indicated that the most popular politician is Abdel Aziz Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The group was part of the US-backed opposition to Saddam Hussein and is receiving millions of dollars in aid from Iran, US officials say.

Sure makes Yglesias look prescient.

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