Well, I’m paraphrasing, but here’s what US ambassador in Baghdad, Zilmay Khalilzad told a reporter for The Independent yesterday:

The US ambassador in Baghdad, Zilmay Khalilzad, sounded almost despairing yesterday as he reviewed the results of the election. “It looks as if people have preferred to vote for their ethnic or sectarian identities,” he said. “But for Iraq to succeed there has to be cross-ethnic and cross-sectarian co-operation.”

So what exactly has him down in the dumps? I thought the latest Iraqi election was a “good news” story for the Bush team? Well, after the initial glow of happy talk wore off, it seems that the result of the election was about as bad for US interests as it could possibly get. We’ve apparently created a polarized electorate, defined by their ethnic and religious preferences, as opposed to the secular pro-Western democracy that was supposed to arise:

Islamic fundamentalist movements are ever more powerful in both the Sunni and Shia communities. Ghassan Attiyah, an Iraqi commentator, said: “In two and a half years Bush has succeeded in creating two new Talibans in Iraq.”

Two new Talibans? Lovely. Well, Dubya has always been more comfortable with people of faith, and the more fundamentalist their predilictions, the better, but isn’t this overdoing it a bit? What about all those freedoms for Iraqi women we were supposed to be bringing them?

“People underestimate how religious Iraq has become,” said one Iraqi observer. “Iran is really a secular society with a religious leadership, but Iraq will be a religious society with a religious leadership.” Already most girls leaving schools in Baghdad wear headscarves. Women’s rights in cases of divorce and inheritance are being eroded.

And do we really want this guy to play a prominent role in Iraq’s government?

Another victor in the election is the fiery nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Mehdi Army militia fought fierce battles with US troops last year. The US military said at the time it intended “to kill or capture him”.

And do we want to have to rely on the good will of Iran’s President (who now appears to have increased his country’s influence astronomically as a result of the vote last week)?

Iran will be pleased that the Shia religious parties which it has supported, have become the strongest political force.

Ironically, Mr Bush is increasingly dependent within Iraq on the co-operation and restraint of the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly called for the eradication of Israel. It is the allies of the Iranian theocracy who are growing in influence by the day and have triumphed in the election. The US will fear that development greatly as it constantly reminds the world of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Not to mention all the “election fraud” claims that are suddenly popping up:

Sunni Arab leaders were aghast at the electoral triumph of the Shia, claiming fraud. Adnan al-Dulaimi, the head of the Sunni Arab alliance, the Iraqi Accordance Front, said that if the electoral commission did not respond to their complaints they would “demand the elections be held again in Baghdad”.

Mr Allawi’s Iraqi National List also protested. Ibrahim al-Janabi, a party official, said: “The elections commission is not independent. It is influenced by political parties and by the government.” But while there was probably some fraud and intimidation, the results of the election mirror the way in which the Shia majority in Iraq is systematically taking over the levers of power. Shia already control the ministry of the interior with 110,000 police and paramilitary units and most of the troops in the 80,000-strong army being trained by the US are Shia.

Of course, we aren’t hearing any of these negative vibes from our American media sources, are we? It seems they’ve moved on to something else more important:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A successful Iraq election and an improved domestic economic outlook have lifted U.S. President George W. Bush’s job-approval rating to its highest level since March, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Monday.

Forty-seven percent of Americans now approve of Bush’s job performance, up from Bush’s all-time low approval rating of 39 percent in November and the president’s best showing since March when it was 50 percent, ABC said.

Struggling with low popularity ratings and wide public discontent with the war, Bush last month launched an aggressive campaign to bolster American support for the U.S. mission in Iraq and shore up his standing.

Bolstering our Bush. That’s the media I know and love: Iraq election? A great success for President Bush! Our poll results don’t lie.

No of course not. I’m sure with the Iraq election success meme properly planted, they will now get right to work burying the “Bush spying on Americans” story. You just know they will, don’t you?

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