16 October 2005

Update on the Constitution.

I have some raw numbers about the status of the Iraqi Constitution. It looks like I was right on the money in how it was going to breakdown so far. Results are only in for 8 provinces, but 3 of the 8 were crucial to the success of the Constitutional Referendum.

Al Anbar
Yes: 3 percent
No: 97 percent

Let's start with Al Anbar province, heartland of the Sunni insurgency, turnout was minimal in all areas except Fallujah. It looks like almost every voter in Al Anbar voted against the draft document, no surprise there.

Yes: 280,000 (70 percent)
No: 80,000 (20 percent)
Disqualified: 40,000 (10 percent)

Diyala province which is a Sunni majority province (not by a lot though), but also home to a lot of Shia and Kurds was one that I believed would be a bellwether for the referendum. And it was approved despite recent attempts by the insurgents to suppress the voters in Baquaba and other cities in the province. Of note is that 10% of the ballots were disqualified for an unknown reason.

Yes: 326,774, (78 percent)
No: 90,065, (21 percent)

Nineveh province was the one I mentioned would have the greatest chance of being a strong Sunni majority province that favored the Constitution. I was right, one factor was that many of the Iraqi Islamic Party (a Sunni group that supported the Constitution) are from Mosul in Nineveh province. I said Nineveh would vote to approve, but I'm surprised at home strong the approval is in the raw numbers. Apparently the Sunnis voted Yes in large numbers. One thing of note about Nineveh province is that it is the province where the Coalition has made the most progress in destroying the insurgent networks. Local Iraqis in this province have been ever more supportive of U.S. forces as the insurgency has been taken apart piece by piece. I credit 1st Brigade 25th Infantry Division and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment as well as the brave Iraqi Army soldiers and Commandos as well as the Iraqi people of Nineveh who have recognized that U.S. forces offer hope and economic betterment for all, while the insurgents only offer death and misery.

TAMIM (Kirkuk)
Yes: 341,611 (63 percent)
No: 195,725 (36 percent)

I was surprised at the low percentage for approval in Tamim province (Kirkuk). This is where I am sitting typing right now, I expected it to be higher. My guess is that many of the Turkomen here sided with the Sunni Arabs against the Kurds to lower the percentage of the Yes voters. The turnout here was very high, nearly 80% of the registered voters showed up at the polls.

The other four provinces were all in the Shia heartland of the south of Iraq. No surprises at all in those provinces.

BASRA (Basra)
Yes: 640,200. (97 percent)
No: 19,800. (3 percent)

DHI QAR (Nasiriyah)
Yes: 415,000 (90 percent)
No: 46,000 (10 percent)

KARBALA (Karbala)
Yes: 417,715 (95 percent)
No: 21,985 (5 percent)

Yes: 494,950. (95 percent)
No: 26,050. (5 percent)

So with nearly half of Iraq's provinces reporting the totals for the vote, here is what I think. There are 5 Shiites provinces still to report in, of which all will pass the Constitution, the 3 Kurdish provinces will due likewise, meaning if the Constitution is to fail Salahdin will have to vote it down as well as Baghdad. I only have one thing to say about that; "NOT GONNA HAPPEN" Salahdin may very well vote it down, but I'm not seeing that right now, and Baghdad will pass it just due to demographics within the city. So the only province to outright reject the referendum is Al-Anbar, what a coincidence, the home of the insurgency, the one area that supports Zarqawi and the one area with nothing to gain from a cessation of violence. What this shows is that a percentage of moderate Sunni Arabs supported this Constitution in clear support of moving Iraq forward.

Personally I believe we will now slowly, start to see a collapse of the insurgency in all areas except Al Anbar. I believe Al Qaeda in Iraq will turn on the Sunnis, so in Sunni Arab areas we will see a spike in violence against civilians as Zarqawi and his cronies lash out at the group they feel has betrayed them. I have done three tours in Iraq now, and I can honestly say there is a faint glimmer of hope in the air, that the insurgency is on its last legs. That doesn't make them less dangerous, in fact it makes them more dangerous as any cornered animal will lash out with all the violence it is capable of. That being said, you can feel the hope radiating from the Iraqi people I see on a daily basis. The long night of the insurgency might be passing into the dawn of peace and freedom. Time will tell.


Information compiled from various sources including Al Jazeera and the AP.

Hat tip to the Mudville Gazette and Right on the Right for the open post.


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