Sunday, April 27, 2014

Editorial: The media and the Iraqi elections

Today's Sunday Times of London carries Hala Jaber's "Iraq PM 'as bad as Saddam' set to win new term" which opens with this sentence, "The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is expected to emerge the victor in this week's elections amid a surge in violence to levels approaching the sectarian bloodshed that tore the country apart in 2008."

We get the violence part but what's this "expected to emerge the victor"?

We've seen that a lot lately in a lot of so-called reports.

The people writing them never cite a poll.  Because no poll exists.


Nouri  is the alleged front-runner because the western press has declared him to be the front-runner.

The western press predicted Nouri would sweep the 2013 elections, of course.  This despite his not being on a single ballot in Iraq.

How did that turn out?

Oh, that's right State of Law didn't fare too well.

Last week, Amir Taheri (Asharq Al-Awsat) pointed out:, "The coalition that has sustained him in power has simply melted away. Maliki’s core support -- coming from one wing of the Al-Da’wah party --accounts for around 11 percent of the electorate."  Sunday's Zaman notes, "Although the Shiite-dominated State of Law Coalition (SLC) led by Maliki -- who is seeking a third consecutive term in office -- is widely seen as the front-runner, experts believe the outcome of the elections may yield a surprising result as there are criticisms of Maliki's leadership. Iraq's election not only offers real competition, but there is also uncertainty about the outcome."

But the western media insists Nouri is going to sweep the elections?

While the western media tries to handicap the race, it's left to the Arab media to offer anything of substance.

The editorial board of the Daily Star isn't optimistic about this round of parliamentary elections and notes, "At the last elections, in 2010, it was clear that what the people of Iraq wanted did not really matter, and that with Iran’s backing, Nouri al-Maliki was sure to be re-elected."  Abdul Rahman al-Rashid (Arab News) observes, "The Americans, spending trillions of dollars, tried to do a similar thing and created a democracy in Iraq. The result, however, is disastrous. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki has grabbed more power than the former dictator of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein. "

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