Here is an interesting take on it from the Liberal Oasis.
They wanted a convoluted caucus system (discussed here in 11/03) that would be easier to manipulate, but they relented under pressure from Ayatollah Sistani.
However, that doesn’t mean the Bushies gave up on influencing the outcome.
They gave CIA-buddy Iyad Allawi, who has his own slate in the elections, a leg up by maneuvering to appoint him interim prime minister.
Giving Ahmed Chalabi some anti-American sheen by driving a public wedge between him and White House, easing his transition to being a prominent member of the Sistani-endorsed slate.
In turn, the US has old friends on two rival slates, the two expected to win the most votes. Very convenient.
That coupled with this lovely quote from GOP pollster Frank Luntz:
"Americans will watch the pictures over the next few days and you'll see supportmakes it pretty obvious to me that the whole thing is manipulated.
for the war increase. The pictures over the last few months have been negative. These are the first positive visuals and it will have an impact on American public opinion."
So forgive me if I curb my enthusiasm.