Saturday, February 20, 2010

Going for the Gold!

Foolish me. I thought that Iraq's Sunni Arabs couldn't possibly be so stupid as to boycott next month's national elections despite some controversy over the banning of alleged Baathists from participating in the election. As I wrote only yesterday:

Having ended their war because they were losing and losing badly, the Sunni Arabs are in no position to re-start the war. They'd face complete expulsion from Iraq. They'd be fools to boycott another election. And they don't appear to be leaning toward that level of self-destructive behavior.

Another day, another stupid decision:
Iraq's main Sunni party said Saturday it is dropping out of next month's national elections, seizing on U.S. concerns about Iran's influence in the political process as proof that the vote will not be legitimate.

A statement from the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue stopped short of urging Sunni voters to boycott the March 7 parliamentary election. But the party called on other political groups to join it in withdrawing from the ballot.

Saturday's announcement raises the likelihood that the results of the vote will be called into question. U.S. and United Nations diplomats have expressed fears that a Sunni boycott that hands victory to Shiites would throw the results of the election into doubt. In turn, that could open the door to a new round of violence and delay plans for American troops to leave Iraq.
Note that the Sunni Arabs seem to have been decisively influenced by our statements (including General Oderno's warning), saying the vote might not be legitimate without Sunni Arab participation. That is false, but if the Sunni Arabs believe it, they won't vote thinking they'll get a better deal outside of democracy. Now that's smart American foreign policy!

If the Sunni Arabs were smart, they'd understand that their only option is to participate in elections to the fullest extent possible. If road blocks are in their path--even grossly unfair ones--they still need to participate and work to earn the trust of Shias and Kurds to remove those blocks within the system. Resorting to war with the Iraqi government will just result in the rest of the Sunni Arabs being killed or expelled from Iraq. Terrorism and violence didn't work in 2005 and 2006 when the Sunni Arabs were much stronger and the Iraqi government much weaker. It won't work now.

But I guess I can't assume the Sunni Arabs won't act stupid and make decisions so self-destructive that you'd have to assume it is all a Zionist plot. How else could they commit community suicide when they have options that make sense?

I was stunned and amazed pre-Awakening at their persistent stupidity in allying with the jihadis and angering the Shias and Kurds. Truly, the Sunni Arabs of Iraq are trying to become the new Palestinians.

We're even encouraging the Sunni Arabs of Iraq to wallow in their purported victim status! And the press is going along with this fiction, ignoring the years of Baathist-funded al Qaeda bombings against Shias, the decades of Baathist repression and mass murder of Shias and Kurds, and the centuries of dominance by the Sunni Arab minority. The Sunni Arabs have the burden of proof to show they are worthy of participating in free elections and a democratic Iraq rather than suffering the traditional Middle Eastern consequences of losing a war (repression or destruction).

While I may have been very wrong about whether the Sunni Arabs are capable of mass suicide, I at least did get it exactly right on the press attitude in that three year old post above:

Iraq's Sunni Arabs may be stupid in their choices, but they will continue to get a sympathetic Western press eager to portray them as victims.

This could all be a negotiating ploy by the Sunni Arabs to get a better deal from the government, under pressure from us. But if the Sunni Arabs really do boycott the Iraqi election, they will once again--as they did after the 2005 boycott--regret their decision and vow to participate the next time. And when next time rolls around, the itch to be really stupid will demand to be scratched, and the Sunni Arabs will truly prove that the Palestinians are not the most stupid, self-destructive people in the world.

But hey, if they follow that course, they'll always have that victim status to cling to. They'll always have the comfort of that to explain away their sorry state of affairs.