Robert Fisk is a long-time correspondent on the Middle East, and is now back in Iraq. This is a single short snippet, just one brief monologue, part of a longer interview.
ROBERT FISK: …The issue is, what is going to be the American involvement in providing Iraq with its next interim government? Again, I repeat this election was for a national assembly to write a constitution, which will have to be approved by a referendum, which in December there would then have to be another election for a “real” government.
The issue here you see is this: In the aftermath of these elections (and we don’t know the results and won’t know them for days to come) it is quite possible that the administration here (which, of course, is effectively in the hands of the United States and here Ambassador Negroponte will be involved) will try to form a government coalition. This would include certain leading Shiite politicians who won seats in yesterday’s election. It would include some Sunnis who were running, in some cases, on Shia tickets. This was a list system, proportional representation election, and of course, it would undoubtedly include some Kurds.
Now, it would look very nice and democratic and free if a coalition government could include Shiites and Sunnis and Kurds. And that I’m sure is what the Americans would like to see. But then the largest Shiite alliance, which scored seats in the election, could turn out to be the official opposition and Shiites would then say, “Well, it is very nice to have this lovely coalition of all our ethnic groups. But we won the election! We are 60% of the people and now we’re in a coalition where we don’t have the majority of power and our largest party is confined to being the opposition in parliament!”
And that, at the moment, is the biggest danger, that we’re going to see such administrative refining of the results that we will produce and westernize infinitely fair coalition government comprising Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds, but which will not represent the overall election results, which must show a Shiite majority.
I mean there are actually members of the largest alliance of Shiite groups saying now that they are certain they’ve got more than 50% of the vote which was cast yesterday. Now if that’s the case, the Shiites will say “Well hold on a second, we’re the majority, we got the most votes, we got the greatest number of seats and you are making us part of a coalition and the biggest party of the opposition in parliament,” and that, of course, would then be betrayal just as it would be if they suddenly find that the American and British and other foreign forces here are not going to leave…
Full Interview at DemocracyNow.org