Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Iraq Has A President

The presidency in Iraq is a largely ceremonial role. It goes to a Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani. He will now lead a presidential council consisting of three people: himself and his two deputies, one Sunni, one Shia, to appoint a Prime Minister for Iraq. The choice is expected to be Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a conservative Shia Islamist.

What does this all mean? It's hard to say. The Kurds are pro-American so can't be ignored but will a ceremonial post make a difference for them? They are more likely to be secular and want at least some local independence, whereas the Shias are keen on centralization and on an Islamist country.

I am still cynical about the whole situation and if I were a betting goddess I'd put my money on a final result of some kind of a theocracy in Iraq rather than anything resembling a secular democracy. But I desperately want to be wrong about this.