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[casi-analysis] IPO Iraq News Analysis: Jan 20, 2004

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News Analysis
January 20, 2004

-Direct general elections are the ideal method of picking members of the Iraqi Transitional 
Parliament. However, time restraints, imposed due to upcoming US presidential elections, coupled 
with security concerns within Iraq, render this unfeasible. The next best thing would be to have a 
selection procedure based on previously agreed percentages, as was effectively done last July in 
the selection of the Governing Council, whose breakdown was consistent with the Salahuddin 

The worst option would be to have a selection procedure not guided by agreed percentages, and this 
in effect is what the current 15th November plan is. Fearful of unfair representation or the return 
to minority rule, both possibilities of the current plan, the Shia of Iraq have taken to the 
streets in Baghdad and other cities, calling for general elections. It is this fear which has led 
to Sayyid Seestani's continued insistence for elections, hoping this will push the US to a 
compromise that would guarantee fair representation. It is unclear how much the US is willing to 
change the plan and what suggestions, if any, the UN can offer. What is certain is that the 
transition plan cannot remain as it is.

-Following the capture of Saddam, Iraqis, no longer fearful of the old regime, are tipping off the 
Coalition and Iraqi police about insurgents, most of whom seem to be foreign Arab extremists. This 
comes as the Governing Council clamps down on members of the former Ba'ath regime. Increasingly, 
attacks are aimed against innocent Iraqis, which is fueling anger - further aiding in rooting out 

-A spate of attacks against Sunni and Shia mosques are most likely being carried out by Saddam 
supporters, in the hope of igniting sectarian violence, however this has failed to materialize.

-The Iraqi economy is showing signs of sustained recovery as the new Saddam-free dinar reaches an 
eight-year high, and a trade fair focusing on rebuilding Iraq opens.
News Analysis brought to by the Iraqi Prospect Organisation:
Promoting democracy for Iraq.

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