·Su iniziativa di Ali al Sistani, che ne ha affidato la responsabilità a Hussein Shahrestani, è stata creata una coalizione elettorale di forze sciite, Alleanza Unita Irakena (United Iraqi Alliance), che gode anche della benedizione dell’Iran, e che presenterà 228 candidati e dovrebbe ottenere il grosso del voto sciita.
· Tra i candidati, esponenti del SCIRI, A. Chalabi, rappresentanti di Moqtada al Sadr, e anche sciiti curdi e turcomanni e il capo di una tribù sunnita di Mosul.
· Incerta la reazione dei gruppi sunniti, divisi tra partecipare e boicottare.
· I certificati elettorali (o i moduli per ottenerli?) vengono distribuiti utilizzando la catena di distribuzione delle razioni alimentari.
· Citato caso di negoziante cui la guerriglia ha ingiunto di ritirare tutti i certificati finora distribuiti: li sta chiedendo indietro in cambio delle razioni.
Fear of Being Marginalized
May Move Sunnis to Retreat
From Threat to Boycott Vote
By FARNAZ FASSIHI
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
December 10, 2004; Page A12
BAGHDAD, Iraq — In a sign that Iraq is shifting away from Sunni Muslims’ traditional dominance, Shiite political parties backed by their sect’s top cleric formed a formidable alliance and entered the campaign as a joint political entity ahead of this country’s scheduled Jan. 30 election.
The emergence of the coalition could spur disaffected Sunnis to back off their threat to boycott the vote — on grounds the war-torn country isn’t prepared for it — out of fear they will be further marginalized if they don’t participate. That in turn could give the outcome much-needed legitimacy. Yet it isn’t clear whether the Shiite slate would retain postelection unity given the disparate factions it comprises.
Shiites make up about 60% of Iraq’s population and the coalition, which has the blessing of Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and close ties to Shiite-dominated Iran, is expected to win a majority of seats in the national assembly and thus would have a major hand in drafting a new Iraqi constitution. There is a good chance it would favor a government infused with religion.
The new bloc, called the United Iraqi Alliance, is putting up 228 candidates. Under Iraq’s voting system, the percentage of votes a ticket receives will determine how many seats its candidates secure, and names at the top of its list more likely will be elected than those lower down. Among those at the head of the UIA’s roster are Vice President Ibrahim Jaffari, Abdul Aziz Hakim from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and Ahmad Chalabi, a former Pentagon ally who spent decades in exile before returning to Iraq amid the U.S.-led invasion. Others include representatives of militant cleric Moqtada al-Sadr; Shiite Kurds, Turkomens and Yazidis; and a Sunni chief from Mosul’s prominent Shemer tribe. One of every three names is female.
Hussein Shahrestani, appointed by Ayatollah Sistani to unite Shiites under one political umbrella, said he believed this group would be popular with the Iraqi public. “We have the backing of the Marjayat [Grand Ayatollahs]; most people on the list are so well known they don’t have to even campaign,” he said, adding that “the reality is that most Iraqis are religiously inclined, and this list reflects that.”
Sunnis remain divided on whether they should join elections or boycott the process altogether, but the Shiites’ pooling strategy could change that. Political observers and U.S. diplomats here agree that Sunni participation is crucial to the validity of any vote, and that unless the Sunnis come on board the chances of stabilizing Iraq will be undermined by more instability and violence. Analysts warn of ethnic and sectarian rivalries, and fear civil war may brew if the Shiite majority — who have lived under Sunni rule for centuries — feel their newfound freedom and embrace of democratic methods are being undermined by Sunnis. Likewise, Sunnis may retaliate if they feel sidelined and irrelevant.
“This is a concern,” said a senior American diplomat here. “The feeling is growing that the Sunnis will even be more marginalized.” So far, the Shiites’ determination to hold elections on the timetable set last summer has had some influence on more-pragmatic and moderate types. Former Governing Council member Adnan Pachachi, a Sunni who had called for delaying elections, recently registered his party. Radical Sunni voices, however, such as the influential Association of Muslim Scholars — which has close ties to the insurgency — consistently call on their constituents to stay away from the polls.
The violence gripping areas of Iraq, and intimidation tactics by insurgents, are fueling concern that the public could be scared away from casting ballots. Yesterday, a car bomb exploded in a market in Mosul and mortar rounds were fired at a National Guard base in Baghdad, killing three Iraqis and injuring seven more.
This has made planning the election’s logistics difficult. Many employees of the Independent Electoral Committee have received threats. According to Karen Triggs, who works with the United Nations team assisting the group, security is such a concern that even details such as the exact location of polling stations and vote-counting methods haven’t been decided with less than two months to go.
Voter-registration sheets have been distributed to grocers nationwide based on lists for food-ration cards. Last week, one Baghdad grocer received death threats for distributing the registration forms, and insurgents demanded he recall every form he handed out and turn over the pack to them, according to one Iraqi family who had gotten a form from the shop. The grocer stopped giving out the forms and told customers he wouldn’t give them their food ration until they returned the voting forms, the family said.