Tuesday, January 17, 2006

We Give You This Nice Democracy And This Is The Thanks We Get?

OK so we invade Iraq to destroy the weapons of mass destruction. No wait, to stop Saddam from getting a nuclear weapon. No, that’s not it. Because Saddam wouldn’t cooperate with UN inspectors. Yeah. No. To punish Saddam for his involvement in 9/11. There you go. Well, not really. To punish Saddam for his involvement with Al Qaeda. Ok that’s it. No, wait. Because Saddam didn’t like the Israelis. Yes! Well…to keep from having to fight the terrorists here. Ah, not so much. What’s left? To punish Saddam for being Saddam.

Oh, wait. For democracy. Yeah. The poor downtrodden people of Iraq deserve a chance at a real democracy and we’re just the ones to bring it to them. The whole deal too. Political parties, campaigns, voting, baby kissing, you name it. So we blow up the country, have a bunch of elections, download a constitution form Wikipedia and presto chango we’ve got a working democracy on our hands. Take that you repressive, dictatorial, corrupt, power mongers you. Oh. Sorry Saudi Arabia.

Yeah. Democracy. That’s what we’re talking about. Representative government. Power to the People, eh Abdul? Wait a minute. You mean we let these people vote and they didn’t vote the way we wanted them to?

Increasingly, the US is throwing its weight in Iraq behind Sunni Arabs, about 20 percent of the country, to ensure they are part of a new coalition government. “How were we to know the other 80 per cent of the population would have it in for these people after the Sunni’s had ruled the country for 23 years?” said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

Shiite leaders have responded defiantly, threatening unflinching stands that could push the country closer to full-scale civil war. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), among the most influential Shiite leaders, last week rejected any major changes to the Iraqi Constitution. “We are not in favor of the ‘Do Over’ clause the Americans want us to put in,” he said.

Leading Sunni Arab politicians have also alleged that fraud in last month's elections cost them a number of parliamentary seats. “This is not Florida,” said one Sunni politician.

"I am prepared to go down into the streets and take up arms and fight to prevent the Baathist dictators and the terrorists from coming back to power," says Redha Taki, a leading member of Iraq's most popular political party. “Vote. I mean vote against the Baathist scum…er…my esteemed opponents.”

Naseer al-Any is at ease at the Iraqi Islamic Party's compound in Baghdad. Just one month ago, he and fellow Sunni Arab leaders were organizing demonstrations, and threatening further unrest if their complaints were not heeded. That rhetoric has mellowed. “All we have to do is say ‘Iran’ around the Americans and they fall all over themselves to keep us happy,” he explained.

But even with the US striving to rein in Shiite influence, and increase the Sunni Arab share in the political balance here, many analysts say the US no longer has the political sway to do so. "Clearly the only good way out of this for us is to try and rebalance the political forces in Iraq in order to get the Sunni population to stop supporting the guerrillas," says Long, the former US intelligence official. “To accomplish that we’re going to radicalize the religious elements in the country, stack the Supreme Court and demonize the secular politicians. We call it the Rove Gambit.”

The new US approach is evident in officials' shifting discourse about the insurgency. In the past, the US tended to refer to Iraq's armed groups as holdouts and terrorists. Now, that rhetoric is changing. After meeting with US officials and officers in Baghdad, columnist Roger Cohen concluded in The New York Times that the Iraqi resistance is "composed for the most part of people who want jobs and a stake in the new Iraq. In this country we would call them the middle class…if we had one."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you gift someone precious and they dont know the value of it .. you are to blame .. should have known better