Monday, October 23, 2006

US Mid-term Congressional Elections & Iraq

The situation is in Iraq is worsening partly because of the way it is managed politically and militarily. The Iraqi security forces still need more training & equipment as well as cleansing from insurgence sympathisers. The US should open dialogue with Iran, which is religiously and geographically close to the Iraqi Shiaas. It also should take Syria into account which has borders with Iraq. The US should succeed in persuading Iran & Syria that the situation in Iraq should be dealt with separately despite its worsening diplomatic relations with them. If Iraq's borders aren't secure, they will remain open for insurgents who prefer armed struggle to national reconciliation under US military presence in Iraq.

For the US mid-term elections, the situation in Iraq will be exploited by both the Republicans and the Democrats. The Republicans will play on the chord of national security and interests around the world, which for them remain fragile as long as terrorists are roaming around the world, supported by fanatic groups and regimes. The Democrats will try to pinpoint the negative results of the Bush administration’s campaign in Iraq. For Bush critics, the war has been longer and more costly than expected in term of human losses and material efforts.

But the elections can bring surprises despite the growing pressure for US withdrawal from Iraq. George Bush Sr lost the election in 1996 to Democrat Bill Clinton despite his administration success in evicting Saddam from Kuwait with little damages compared to the current situation. In 2000 George Bush Jr was elected although the Democrats were popular under Clinton’s administration. In 2004, he was re-elected despite the mounting criticism of Iraq invasion.

What can decide the next mid-term elections is the state of the US economy and the way ordinary Americans fair in their daily lives. Sometimes or rather more often, it is the popularity of the candidates that decides the outcome of such elections and not the parties for which they stand. So let's wait and see.

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