Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Astrologer Picks Winners and Losers in Iraq’s Election

Elaph correspondent Abdel-Rahman Al-Majidi has a story today about the predictions of an Iraqi astrologer for the results of next month’s elections. The astrologer, Khudhayer Taher, has been in the business for 20 years and currently lives in the United States. He uses Pythagorean Numerology and the movement of planets to unwind the secrets of the universe, and to analyze the significance of the election list numbers that were assigned to each contender by lottery.

I’ll spare you the details, but Ayad Allawi’s ‘731’ list will get the largest share of votes, according to this seer. The United Iraqi Alliance list (the Islamists) are saddled with the number ‘555’ (see cultural significance here, and their own numerological spin here), which signifies lethargy, larceny, and laziness. They are not going to do well according to Mr. Taher.

Ahmad Chalabi’s ‘569’ list is associated with Mars, who is known for bravery, bravado and obliteration. The galaxy is telling Mr. Taher that this list will siphon votes from the UIA list, but will give a disappointing performance at the polls.

But what Taher calls the “resounding surprise” is going to be Mithal Alusi’s ‘620’ list, where the heavens predict a major victory.

Khudhayer Taher: who needs Zogby when you've got this guy...

Astrology has been a long established tradition in Iraq, practiced by Babylonian Jews and infused with the Indian variant during the 8th century AD at the Abbassid Court. For more, read this overview of its leading lights in the Arab world over the centuries.

Hey, as far as I’m concerned, Khudhayer Taher has as much credibility as Rime Allaf and the International Republican Institute. Here are their predictions from the last elections, carried in a Bloomberg story “Allawi May Prevail Over Shiite Rivals in Iraq Ballot” (January 28, 2005):

``People have agreed it's in their interests to elect Allawi prime minister,'' said Rime Allaf, an Iraq analyst at Chatham House, a London foreign-policy institution that advises European governments. Many Iraqis ``don't want a religious government.''

A poll by the International Republican Institute, a nonpartisan U.S. research group, showed that almost 60 percent of Iraqis say Allawi, a Shiite, has been effective since taking office. The survey was based on 1,903 interviews from Nov. 24 to Dec. 5 and had a margin or error of three percentage points.