I'm certainly no expert, but it seems to me that the focus on the Iraqi election may be misplaced. Democracy is about a lot more than elections. The Soviet Union had elections. Iran has elections today--and calls for wiping Israel off the map. Hitler was elected, after all. As were Bush nemeses Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe.
It may be that this Iraqi election turns out not to be all that important in the long run. It may be that what takes place in Iraq in the days, weeks, months and years following this election will make all the difference.
And about that--as Sam Goldwyn quipped-- it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future.