Monday, September 26, 2005

Is Sunni Voting a Victory?

Andrew Sullivan points out that a large Sunni Arab turnout in the referendum on the Iraqi Constitution has its perils.

Of course, this doesn't mean that Sunni Arabs signing up to vote is a bad thing; that they are willing to try to voice their concerns at the ballot is, of course, better than if they elected to stay home; in which case the only method left to them for getting power would be violence. However, it hardly means that we are out of the woods, and it definitely does not represent the major defeat for the insurgency that some pro-warriors want to paint it as.

There seems to be the assumption amongst a lot of pro-warriors that voting is in and of itself a repudiation of the insurgency. But it strikes me that there is no reason why someone could not vote "by day" and join the insurgency "by night." That is to say, if the various Iraqi groups view voting as a means of gaining power over other Iraqis, there is no reason why they might not vote as one prong of their strategy (that is, their strategy to get power for their group in Iraq) and use attacks on coalition troops and/or rival ethnic groups as another prong.

Of course, there is one particularly bright spot in this situation; because the Sunni Arabs live in the areas of Iraq with fewer resources, they have little interest in splitting Iraq up, or in redrawing its borders. This means that one large motive for insurgency in the face of voting (that the insurgents believe that the current borders are illegitimate, and that they would win if the borders were drawn differently) is not present. (I think this statement about borders is a variation on something that Steve Sailer said, but I can't find the link right now).

That is all.

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