3/28/2005

A fair and balanced view of democracy in the Middle East

This is also what's going on...
From Knight-Ridder:
While American officials point to the bargaining among Shiite Muslim and Kurdish politicians over an interim Iraqi government as evidence that democracy is taking hold in Iraq, some Iraqi analysts and politicians are increasingly worried about the group that's missing from the equation: Sunni Muslims. Almost two months after national elections, Iraq's Sunni minority remains fragmented and largely alienated from the horse-trading. If that continues, the group that's long dominated Iraq could find itself shut out of December's prime ministerial election as it was on Jan. 30, when Sunnis won only a few seats in Iraq's new parliament. Lawmakers had planned to meet this weekend to form a coalition government that's expected to be dominated by Shiites and Kurds, but the session was postponed at least until Tuesday. On Sunday, Shiite and Kurdish leaders said that many of the key decisions about the new government had been made. Both groups stand to receive most of the key positions - prime minister, president and the major cabinet posts - leaving the Sunnis further estranged.

And from the LA Times:
With political tensions rising, the Egyptian government jailed about 100 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and on Sunday sealed off part of the capital to prevent the popular group from staging a scheduled demonstration. The crackdown began Saturday night, when Egyptian agents swept through Cairo and outlying provinces to arrest about 60 people in predawn raids. The detainees were accused of disturbing public order and possessing anti-government literature, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Badr Mohamed Badr said. The large Islamist party had called upon its followers to convene in front of the Egyptian parliament Sunday to protest the slow pace of election reforms introduced by President Hosni Mubarak. But the demonstration was blocked when thousands of police in riot gear formed a tight ring around downtown, sealing off all traffic toward parliament.

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