In Iraq the votes are now being counted ,so far it doesn't not look like "President" Bush will be pleased with the results. The Sunnis for the most part did not participate in the elections to the extent that Kurdish representation surpassed them. The majority Shia went to the polls in relatively large numbers. The Shia have voted for the candidates who are followers of Ayatollah Sistani (who prefer government under Islamic law). The U.S. backed Ayad Allawi seems to be totally out of the picture. This puts the Bush administration in a very uncomfortable position. Since Allawi looks like he will not be the Iraqi head of state, U.S. influence in the new government will be minimal. It is obvious that Bush doesn't want a religious state, but it looks like that is exactly what is going to happen. Columnist Ken Layne described U.S. backed candidate Ayad Allawi in these terms. "Allawi, a secular Shiite from a wealthy merchant family, was a spy and -- maybe! -- assassin for Saddam Hussein. As a high-ranking officer in the dreaded Mukharabat, the Ba'athist secret police, he was Saddam's friend, colleague and eventual rival. His Baghdad medical degree is said to be phony; the Ba'ath Party gave it to him so he could travel Europe on a World Health Organization grant and infiltrate Arab student groups." Mr. Bush continues to be very hesitant about giving a date when U.S. troops with leave Iraq. By now he must realize the gravity of the situation. What was thought to be an easy invasion and installation of a friendly puppet government has gone awry.
Iraq was the first step in the quest for empire. Both the vice president and the secretary of defense have hinted about a future invasion of Iran. But Iran is a bigger country that is not in the disabled state Iraq was in prior to the US occupation. Under Heussein Iraq was a secular state, whoever the Iraqis chose as president he will have to appease the country's most powerful Shia cleric, the Ayatollah Sistani who is an advocate of an Islamic state.