(In UK politics, where there are more MPs and five year terms, by-elections have more importance in that a government with a small majority will tend to have it eroded by subsequent by-elections which tend to go against the party in power. This happened to the 74-79 Labour government).
Also the fact they still use the FPP system.
As for Iraq, it is only still a "state" on outdated maps, it no longer exists. Even after the first gulf war in 1991 the Kurds established their own defacto state. They have their interests, so do the Shiite militias and parties, and the Sunni are between a rock and a hard place, hardly keen to rejoin an untrusted Iraqi government and "state" that is totally dominated by Shiites, that is the "rump state" down the South East, what is left of Iraq. It will NEVER be one state again, as it was.
Yep, there have been predictions from high-up people that the artificial boundaries drawn up by Sykes and Picot will go the way of Yugoslavia. And just as messily too.
And what could have been...
* Business Insider: A detailed look at the Middle East that might have been
I googled him - he makes documentaries. *headdesk*
Local or overseas-based?
Only downside is suburban screamers who descend on Saturday and Sunday nights.
IE, the bridge-and-tunnel people?
Newsweek reckoned last month the Kurdish forces may be able to seize Mosul soon – and may not be too keen on handing it back to Iraq. That would be very, very messy.
Isn't it yet another legacy of the ill-conceived Sykes-Picot Agreement?
Cutting off the supply of funding and weapons would hurt the big nations far too much. Unthinkable.
Yep, I've always thought that accountants are better weapons against ISIS than soldiers. But potential trading partners might be at stake.
The Iraqi army? Not the ones who deserted to join ISIS but the ones who stayed, really? The Syrian army? Those are the ones using poison gas on their own citizens in Damascus.
I'm left with the impression that NZ's effort will do little more than add an extra hammer to the long game of whack-a-mole, if the West keeps on attacking the symptom.
If the real reason for going into Iraq (again), as with the 2003 invasion, isn't to genuinely make the world a safer place, then what is? Oil? Guns-for-butter? Or some twisted desire to resurrect the Crusades?
And the Auckland CBD's population is now heading for 50,000 – up from only 1400 in 1991. It's a massive change in after-hours density.
To a lesser extent it's a similar thing in Wellington too. I've noticed quite a few Welly CBD office blocks from the 1980s that have been re-purposed as student accomodation.
The poor handling of the Cohen issue and the doctrinaire cosying-up with National over the ISC, however, have reinforced my opinion that Labour are trying for the National-style top-down autocracy, but are hindered by deep-seated chronic incompetence.
Could it also be a symptom of Labour attempting to pander to "Waitakere Man" by keeping distance from the Greens? I've said it before, but such a strategy didn't work out so well for US Democrat primary candidate Howard Dean in 2004.
"Howard Dean had it wrong when he tried to woo the "Pickup Truck with Confederate Flag" vote. In fact, while Kerry won urban areas by a whopping 60 percent--that actually represents a 15 percent drop in urban support from 2000 when Gore won the election. The lesson? Democrats have got to tend to their urban base and grow it."