The peaceful polling was remarkable and so were the results. All the Islamic parties lost ground, especially that associated with the so-called "Shia firebrand", Moqtada al-Sadr, whose share of the vote went down from 11% to 3%. The principal Sunni Islamic party, the Islamic Party of Iraq, was wiped out.Is Iraq's long national nightmare coming to an end? Shawcross thinks it may be.
There will be further setbacks. But who knows, Iraq may yet even become a model for democratic change in other Arab countries.The response from the catastrophists? All is silence.