News / Middle East

Iraqi Democracy Remains Shaky Work in Progress

Iraqi Democracy Remains Shaky Work in Progressi
March 24, 2013 4:28 PM
Ten years after the U.S. invasion that led to the end of Saddam Hussein's iron-clad rule, Iraqis say their young democracy is beset by many problems and its future is not certain. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Baghdad.
Iraqi Democracy Remains Shaky Work in Progress
Scott Bobb
Ten years after the U.S. invasion that led to the end of Saddam Hussein's iron-clad rule, Iraqis say their young democracy is beset by many problems and its future is not certain.
Iraq has held four elections - two national and two provincial - and one referendum since the U.S.-led war a decade ago brought multiparty democracy here. Local elections are to be held next month and a national vote next year.

But local elections are not trouble-free. Amid sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites, they have been postponed for six months in two provinces because of unrest by Sunnis who feel marginalized by the current government.
Political analyst Taha Jallo Mare of the Center for Political Analysis says security has improved despite the continuing violence. But the tensions still threaten Iraq's stability.
"The political situation and the sectarian parties have the power to push the people into conflict. The people are patient and peaceful, but, if the conflict worsens, they will take sides in order to protect themselves."
Cynicism abounds

Some Iraqis have become cynical about their young democracy. They say the war replaced one dictator with many dictators. In Zawra Park, retired army general Basil Mohamed Ali says Iraq today needs a dictator.
"Life was much better under Saddam. A dictatorship is the best way to bring peace, unify the nation and unite the people."
Professor Montaser Idani disagrees adding that there are many types of democracies. He says the problem is that Iraq's leaders still have a mind-set from the Baath party era under Saddam.
"We need to make our [own] democracy. Our leaders are not the leaders to make the democracy for Iraq because they belong to the totalitarian thought, like the Islamists.... It [is] the same thing as the Baath problem."
But shop owner Lateef Saleh, in Baghdad's central market, is more philosophical.
"Democracy is something new for Iraq. It is a just a term and is not established on the ground. The disputes between the parties and the politicians makes for instability in the streets. All we can do is hope it gets better in the future."
He says the current leaders are stoking sectarian tensions for selfish reasons and hopes that in the future they will focus more on uniting Iraqis and the country.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs