2003 June 04 Wednesday
Occupation Officials Dismiss Basra Iraqi Administration

In Iraq's southern city of Basra the occupation officials have dismissed the local leaders appointed to run the Basra government arguing that these leaders were too closely associated with the old Baathist regime. That was certainly a criticism made against those leaders when the occupation forces first appointed them several weeks ago. Now the occupation officials are going to rule directly arguing the Iraqis are not ready to rule themselves.

Occupation officials say Basra's political leaders and their parties -- from aging communists to liberal socialists to Islamic religious organizations -- are either too inexperienced or unproven to assume leadership positions. In addition, officials say, some may be hostile.

In particular, the occupation officials say that they fear that extremist Islamic groups and their leaders could attempt to play an oversize role in any Iraqi-run government by manipulating people to rally around their clerics and buying loyalty with food, money and other aid.

Note the fear of the Islamic groups. On top of that there is the problem that family and tribal loyalties trump other loyalties among most Iraqis and there is just not a mindset there that places a high enough priority on being fair to the populace as a whole.

Are the occupation officials slowly learning the basics by a process of trial and error? Or did a different crew come in that understand the nature of the problem that they face? Either way, it is still doubtful that the US government has the will and wisdom to pursue policies with the wisdom and on the time scale required to make Iraq into a benign sustainable secular liberal democracy. The Turkish military has been trying to transform Turkey along those lines for many decades and the outcome there is still in question. Iraq is an even tougher challenge with occupiers who lack the staying power of the Turkish military.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 June 04 12:27 PM  Reconstruction and Reformation


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