About that election in Iraq...
I have to say, we are all rather fortunate that over the past few years we've had access to Patrick Cockburn's reporting from Iraq in the British paper, the Independent. It's some of the best Iraq overview coverage out there (while we are talking about great coverage, I want to recommend Christian Parenti's book "The Freedom" from last year).
Here's Cockburn's latest take -- on the elections:
"Iraq is disintegrating. The first results from the parliamentary election last week show that the country is dividing up between Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions. The secular and nationalist candidate backed by the US and Britain was humiliatingly defeated.
"The Shia religious coalition has won a total victory in Baghdad and the south of Iraq. The Sunni Arab parties who openly or covertly support armed resistance to the US are likely to win large majorities in Sunni provinces.
"The election marks the final shipwreck of American and British hopes of establishing a pro-western secular democracy in a united Iraq. Islamic fundamentalist movements are ever more powerful in both the Sunni and Shia communities. 'In two-and-a-half years Bush has succeeded in creating two new Talibans in Iraq,' said Ghassan Attiyah, an Iraqi commentator.