Welcome back, Ali

After a two-and-a-half-month hiatus, the essential Iraqi blogger Ali has resumed posting with a mixed assessment on conditions in his country:

So generally things are still bad and the real danger and what’s making things worse now is the increasing power of the radical She’at religious parties especially with the enormous help they’re getting from Iran and with their militias intimidating people and interfering in almost every detail of their lives. Yet, there’s hope and liberal and democratic parties are growing and grouping too. Also the Sunnis participation in the vote on the draft and their expected heavy participation in the upcoming elections had made a big difference that can be even noted by the reduced violence all over Iraq.

The pro-democracy party that Ali helped organize has merged into a coalition with other secular parties to form the Iraqi Nation Party, led by Mithal Al Alousi. In another post, he makes this observation about Mithal:

When he started his own party… a year ago he had only 1600 members in it. Today, only in Hilla he has 15000 registered members in his party. He’s a secular Sunni that gained a lot of support in the south among She’at. That’s something that gives hope. Moreover, and to me this is the most important point, he’s the only Iraqi politician who says it loud and clear all the time that Iraq’s interests lie in a strong strategic alliance with the United States and the free world, and people are not pushed away by that or by his visit to Israel for that matters but in fact it’s having the opposite effect!

(Note: I’m closing the comments box for this post, but Ali’s blog has comments boxes, making it easy for those who have never set foot in Iraq, and live thousands of miles away, to explain to him how wrong he is.)