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
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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs