Elections across this region have long been viewed as not much more than window dressing to tidy up the image of authoritarian leaders and absolute monarchs eager for greater legitimacy.
So from the outset, when Iraqis poured into the polls on Sunday to elect a new Parliament, the mere act of voting was not seen as a step toward democracy. That perception, combined with Election Day violence, American occupation and Iranian influence, left few analysts and commentators in the Middle East declaring the elections a success and Iraq on the road to stability.
“Iraq is a failure and a big mess,” said Hussein al-Shobokshy, a columnist for the Saudi Arabian owned pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Alawsat. “Iraq is a scary model right now,” he added. “It is so divided, vulgarly so. MORE HERE