By Gareth Porter in "Asia Times"
WASHINGTON – In escalating their conflict with the United States over its efforts to weaken the Iraqi insurgency by co-opting Sunni political figures, Shi’ite party leaders may have delivered a fatal blow to the US strategy.
US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad has been trying to convince the Sunni population that a share of political power will protect their interests. But the ruling Shi’ite party – supported by the anti-US cleric Muqtada al-Sadr – has now broken decisively with that strategy, castigating both Sunni political leaders and the US as being apologists for terrorists.
Responding to the January 5 suicide bombing in Karbala that killed 60 Shi’ites and wounded 120, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader
of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which heads the ruling Shi’ite coalition, said, "We hold responsible coalition forces and political elements that have openly announced their support for terrorism, for the pure blood that has flowed."
So, I guess Hakim would be a "partisan" critic?
Seriously, this is bad news. If Hakim and his Shia friends are going to do the predictable thing and simply oppose anything that might placate Sunni Arabs enough to lure them away from support of the various insurgent groups, then the effective dissolution of Iraq, either "de facto" or "de jure" is virtually inevitable.
Some people write to me to express their ideas as to how things "ought to be" in Iraq. Often they do not seem to understand the difference between "idea" and "reality." They believe that "right thinking" and "justice" are "reality." In fact they are "idea." Sounds a little like "The Cave?" Even soldiers read Plato. (and not at the University of Chicago)
In Iraq, we have an example of the trouble one can get into by confusing "idea" and "reality." Our "idea" in Iraq has been a transformed polity run on the basis of "one person, one vote," universal suffrage, the rule of law, a belief in the countrywide acceptance of Iraqi nationality as the primary basis of self identification, in short a NEW IRAQ. Unfortunately, this NEW IRAQ does not seem to be emerging from the smoke and flame. A number of senior American government people cling bravely (or egregiously as the case might be) to all or various parts of this "idea" of ours concerning Iraq. I imagine that they will do so even in their memoirs, years after the climax of these events.
Hakim’s "reality" seems to be shared by a great many in Iraq. In his "reality" the Shia (one man, one vote) majority is going to use its voting power to dominate and "punish" the Sunni Arabs for the millennium of oppression which they suffered at their hands.
I can hear it now! Is this not FAIR? Is it not JUST? Yes, it is! Justice will have been served in that outcome, but Iraq as it has been will cease to be and warfare at some level of violence will continue in Mesopotamia indefinitely.
Is Justice not more important than Peace?
I suppose the answer depends on the identity of him who answers.