Paris-based Iranian writer Amir Taheri is in Iraq and has found little in the way of anti-American sentiment among Shiites in southern Iraq. He has even found a phenomenon I've read in previous reports: Iranians hired by Mullahs allied with Iran to come in and participate in street demonstrations. If a faction has to hire political workers from another country it doesn't have many domestic supporters. At the same time, he is finding many disquieting indicators that the American agencies operating in Iraq are operating at cross-purposes that reflect splits in the Bush Administration.
Much of current American "political" activity among the Shiites consists of an extension of the fight within the Bush administration about who to promote as the interim leader for Iraq.
This leads to comical scenes. A local mullah is first approached and offered money by an American "contact" in exchange for supporting Ahmad Chalabi, a former exile leader now back in Baghdad. Later, another American "contact" calls on the same mullah and offers him money not to support Chalabi.
This boggles the mind. I expected the Bush Administration to make a lot of avoidable mistakes in administering Iraq post-war. But this is one mistake that came as a surprise. Can they be that foolish? Apparently.
The US is allowing a power vacuum in Iraq that is providing an opening for hostile forces to organize. There is reticence in the Bush Administration to admit just how heavily it has to manage Iraq. The Iraqis are expecting us to take charge. If we don't do so in a big way they will think we are politically incompetent. Also, groups with extreme views and high levels of motivation will move to fill our place.
The extent of the Bush Administration's bumbling in Iraq is demonstrated by the meetings it is holding with exile and local Iraqi leaders to organize a new administration that will start operating months from now. Put yourself in Iraqi shoes. How would you personally like to have no police protection because your political leaders were pursuing negotiations that were going to drag out for months instead of dealing with the very basics of public order first? Iraq needs order. We wiped out the previous government. We have to accept our role as the provider of the new government and we have to do it now. Failure to do so is grossly irresponsible and is strongly against our interests and against the needs of the Iraqi people.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 April 29 11:19 PM Reconstruction and Reformation|