January 24, 2005

Iraqi Shi'ites Going Secular

File this story under "I frickin' told you so two months ago."

(Okay, not really. File it under "I'll gladly trumpet whatever New York Times story supports my pre-existing views on Iraq." But whatever! Let me also add the key caveat: In the event of a civil war the radical Shi'ites will assume a much more powerful position, since they control all the Shi'ite militias.)

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I was absolutely, utterly, positively wrong about one thing: The effect of absentee ballots in Iraq. A little while ago, my conspiracy theory du jour concerned all those absentee ballots that were supposedly going to be counted in Jordan—a hotbed of pro-Allawi, anti-Chalabi sentiment. Chaos and disputes would follow! So thought I. But I never bothered to fact check the numbers; instead I just assumed that there would literally be a million absentee ballots, and they would all make a big difference in this election. Sadly, no. As Juan Cole points out, absentee voting will end up being paltry, barely making a dent in the overall voting numbers. Turns out Iraqis abroad didn't feel like registering. Oh well, time for a new crazy fear with which to whittle away the days. Any suggestions?
-- Brad Plumer 1:40 AM || ||