News / Middle East

Iraqi Democracy Remains Shaky Work in Progress

Iraqi Democracy Remains Shaky Work in Progressi
X
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid