Good luck to him and to us all.

Xin_13040322004173724451 "U.S. and Iraqi officials are hoping that a government representing Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds will be able to quell both the Sunni-led insurgency and bloody Shiite-Sunni violence that has raged during the political uncertainty. If it succeeds, it could enable the United States to begin bringing home troops.

Mr. al-Maliki has a reputation as a hard-line, outspoken defender of the Shia position — raising questions over whether he will be able to negotiate the delicate sectarian balancing act."  Globe and Mail


The Bush Administration, its "congregation" and what is called the "mainstream media" are all infatuated with political PROCESS as panacea.

Across the world, and Iraq is not an exception, the expectation on the part of these groups is that political processes which are conducted in accordance with our concepts of civic probity and fairness will produce governments which do not wage war against their neighbors and which will be accepted by the people they rule.

In Iraq we have yet another example of this belief on our part.  The clear expectation is that if the Iraqis can succeed in forming a cabinet that represents the major ethno-religious groups, then the JUSTICE of this will be recognized and the Sunni Arabs will stop giving the Islamo-nationalist-tribal-Baathist guerrillas the support that the Bush Administration and its "Amen" chorus used to insist did not exist.  What is wrong with that theory? 

Symbols are only effective in changing behavior if they are believed to be representative of reality.  It is the belief that "counts" here rather than the reality itself.  The formation of a government of "unity" is symbolic and in and of itself changes nothing.  Phony governments of unity and coalitions of this or that occur in the Islamic World with great frequency.  Rebellions are ended through conference and "devolution" of power to minorities and regions with ennui inspiring regularity.  It usually means nothing.  Rather, it is just a reflection of the "conferenciasis" that afflicts the region. 

A "unity" cabinet will be welcomed throughout Iraq.  The peoples will then watch to see if the symbol matches the reality for them.  As I said, perception in such matters is all.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Pat Lang

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2 Responses to Good luck to him and to us all.

  1. zanzibar says:

    It seems that the Daawa-Sadr block played hardball and won. al-Maliki seems no different in that he owes Syria and Iran for harboring him during his decades in exile and he is an ardent Islamist. At the end of the day what all this wrangling has demonstrated is that hardline Shia elements are not going to share that much power. al-Maliki already has stated that he wants to legitimize Shia militias by giving them official cover and paychecks by incorporating them into govt security forces. It seems they have also successfully sidelined all the neo-Baathist elements including Allawi (the neocon favorite).
    Will violence and the insurgency subside? If I had to guess all the major factions are preparing themselves for a power grab conflict. And the ex-Baathists now relegated to the sidelines will play spoiler perhaps with covert US support. However, if the Shia alliance work in concert it is possible over time they will dominate the landscape and suppress the insurgency in their majority areas. The open questions are when do the Kurds decide they need to grab Kirkuk; how long can the Shia be united; who will support the Sunni Baathists; what will Iran & Syria consider the best outcome?

  2. canuck says:

    “In terms of ideology and personal history, Maliki and Jafari appear to be carbon copies. Both men are in their 50s and hail from the Shiite shrine city of Karbala. Both were idealistic and devout Shiite opponents of Iraq’s Sunni Arab rulers and the Baath Party. They became underground members of the Islamic Dawa Party. Both fled into exile in Iran after Hussein came to power.”
    An ongoing dilemma whether Iraq will one day be stable.

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