Iran,  Iraq,  Islamism

The winner is Iraq

That was the headline announced on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning reporting on the success of Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s Prime Minister, secular election victory in Baghdad and Basra.

He managed to pull support from religious parties, including the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council in a triumph for secular politics over religious groups and achieve a victory for his State of Law coalition, which includes his own religious party (the Dawa Party) that pushed the secular card to win support.

The win is good news after some doubted his ability to crackdown on the militants. It is also a blow to Iran as well as the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, which is close to the Iranians, did not win a single province having previously controlled much of southern Iraq for the last four years.

The Times reported that the results indicate a drastic shift in the political map nationwide, with Sunni Arabs securing a better representation after boycotting the last polls four years ago in protest at the US-led occupation.

Hasan al-Kurdi, 37, a civil servant and part-time barber, told the paper: “The people want Mr al-Maliki because he achieved something that nobody else has, which is security. In addition salaries have improved, which pleases us public servants.”

The welcome election news followed reports of a woman suspected of grooming rape victims to become female suicide bombers in Iraq was arrested. Terrible story. Samira Ahmed Jassim, 51, confessed to helping to organise the rape of young Iraqi women who out of shame were recruited to become bombers. She is accused of recruiting 80, including 28 who carried out attacks.

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