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Mideast Fears Violence After Iraqi Elections (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 01/30/05)Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=76087 INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Millions of Iraqis are to vote in national parliamentary elections Sunday under worried eyes of Arab neighbors, Israel and the United States.

Other Arab kingdoms fear that successful Iraqi elections may force them to follow President George Bush´s attempt to democratize the Mideast. But they also fear that violence during and after the elections will set off an eruption of internal violence, starting with Turkey.

Shiite Moslem alliances are expected to win, and there are fears that the Sunni Moslem minority that ruled under Saddam Hussein will not sit quietly if it loses power.

"If it´s a successful election, then everybody will be scared of it," said Ali Shukri, a veteran Jordanian general and advisor to the late King Hussein. "If everybody tries to take the Iraqi model, there will be upheaval in the region."

Jordan´s King Abdullah II already has announced plans to establish elected councils to oversee development in his kingdom. He also is concerned that a Shiite victory will lead to the emergence of a strict Islamic government in Iraq, similar to Iranís. The results of spreading Islamic fanaticism could be devastating for Israel, which already fears Iran´s nuclear ability.

The immediate fear of election results revolves around the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, an oil-rich area with a large Kurdish population. Turkey considers the area to be part of its country. Turkish officials have said hundreds of thousands of Kurds have returned to the city to vote. A large Kurdish victory could cause civil war with Turks and a declaration of independence.

A strong Shiite victory would spell trouble for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates which also have sizeable Shiite populations. Saudi Arabia has been rocked by several terrorist attacks the past two years.

The elections also may determine the future of the United Statesí armed forces in Iraq. If the government wants the American forces to pull out, there is the danger of uncontrolled violence, but their presence also provokes anger. (IsraelNationalNews © 01/30/05)

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