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February 14, 2008

Comments

Eric Martin

Your quote got truncated in the first paragraph. Should read:

"raising the possibility that the accord could again break into rancorous factional disputes in future debates on the same issues."

You stop off at "raising the possibility"

nur al-cubicle

I can't imagine that the US, having invested yet more billions in prison camps for captured insurgents (and people in the wrong place at the wrong time) would release any of these prisoners. Another question is how well does US "reeducation" work, anyway? Any scholarly analysis of such "reeducation"?

Gregory Gause

I know that I am in a distinct minority among Iraq watchers, but I was hoping that al-Mashadani was going to push his nuclear button. I would like to see the parliament dissolved and have new elections. The advantages of new elections, in my mind, are: 1) get rid of al-Maliki, 2) break up the UIA into component parts, let them run separately, see how they do. This could then promote cross-sectarian alliances, which are already appearing, in the next parliament; 3) test the political strength of the Awakenings, which, I would assume, would put together some kind of list, and get them formally into the political process. I understand all the objections to the Iraqi electoral system, but it seems to me that new elections -- national, not just provincial -- would be the best way to take advantage of the somewhat improved security situation.

Badger

Visser has a brief update today (Thurs Feb 14), indicating among other things it looks as if the cross-sect opposition (to the Maliki/Kurd/Hakim front) may have done quite well(at least on the elections-date issue). Worth reading.

bb

It is truly outstanding to see the western and Arab commentariat across the board discussing legislation passed by a democratically elected Arab parliament. Not just a benchmark, but a milestone.

David Martin

A book titled "Order Without Law" describes how ranchers in a corner of northern California deal with the usual problems--damaged fences, stray livestock, possible trespass (un-stray livestock) and so on. There's informal rules for everything, many of them different from the legal versions.

JHM

I know that I am in a distinct minority among Iraq watchers, but I was hoping that al-Mashadani was going to push his nuclear button. I would like to see the parliament dissolved and have new elections. The advantages of new elections, in my mind, are: (1) ... (2) ... (3) ....

This approximates, distantly, to a sort of private mental benchmark of my own. For a couple of years now I have wondered if I am the only person following developments in the former Iraq from Europe or North America who could tell a pollster without hesitation who or what I'd vote for if I was a subject of the International Zone régime myself. (In two words or less: Muqtadá.)

Though much closer than anybody else, Dr. Gause doesn't come all that close to fitting my bill. The type of "advantages" that he specifies are such as a practicing invasionite or tertiary educationalist would think of from the outside, not the thoughts of a voter in the voting booth. Even "Get rid of al-Maliki!" -- though that one sounds promising, maybe even a bit swiftboatlike -- would turn out to be high and dry and academic, I suspect, if the precise reasons for preferring Anybody But Núrí were spelled out a little. Nevertheless, Dr. Gause does put himself in M. al-Mashhadání's position to some extent, if not actually thinking what he would do if they traded places, then certainly making me wonder.

The point of maximum Gause-Mashhadání divergence is Advantage III, to "test the political strength of the Awakenings, which, I would assume, would put together some kind of list, and get them formally into the political process." No practical pol in any nation or province would ever think like that. If it wasn't clear to M. al-Mashhadání that the Salvific Awakeners would vote in a way that profits himself, partisanly or sectarianly or personally, he'd naturally be happy to leave their electoral strength untested indefinitely. Given the nifty triple bundling of bills, and the other now familiar methods of obfuscating who votes for what at New Baghdád,[1] M. al-Mashhadání's exact calculations cannot be reconstructed. All the same, it seems very safe to say he cannot possibly have thought Dr. Gause's thought, nor even the Gausean kind of thought.

What would Hillary do, for Pete's sake, if presented this afternoon with proposals to enlist scads and scads of unenrolled young or African-American donkeys in order to ascertain their strength, and lead them into the formal process, and make sure that the Homeland political system, and especially the Democratic Party, take due proportional account of their wishes?

Gimme a break. Happy days.

____
[1] There are a number of technical and procedural ingenuities in the doings of the International Zone régime that merit more attention than they have received. On the obfuscation of representation front, for instance, would it have satisfied Mr. Edmund Burke if the electors of Bristol simply could not make out whether he had voted the way they instructed him to, not even if al-Jazeera had been broadcasting live from Westminster?


Andrew R.

Two thoughts. The first off is that I've got the horrid feeling that amnesty might begin and end with letting out Sadrists in the spirit in intra-Shi'ite reconciliation and leave everything unaddressed.

Gregory,

I wonder how much of a test of the Awakening/Sons of Iraq/Whatever's strength provincial elections would be, especially since they'd be the folks guarding the polls, transporting ballots, etc.

acomplia

Your quote got truncated in the first paragraph. Should read:

"raising the possibility that the accord could again break into rancorous factional disputes in future debates on the same issues."

You stop off at "raising the possibility"

nur al-cubicle

AA, could you spring DJ Grooverider while you're visiting the Gulf? Thanks.

ella

Any comments on: "Arab information ministers adopt broadcast charter" ??
http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnL12427370.html
Or do your comments deal now exclusively with Iraq and/or US politics?

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