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February 08, 2008

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Andrew R.

Yeah, they're an armed state-within-a-state. But at least these are folks who can be negotiated with and have more reasonable demands than al-Douri marching triumphantly into Baghdad and a full restoration of the Ba'ath party.

Solomon2

I never did like the Parliamentary system suggested by the U.N. and accepted by the U.S. and said so at the time. Its winner-take-all-power-and-goodies approach encourages violence. Doubtless the solution is to revise the constitution: (1) make it a more federal system, and (2) make all Iraqi officials accountable under the law (since the gov't revived a Saddam-era law making ministers immune to prosecution for corruption.) Coalition forces - local commanders - can use the credibility and trust earned to advocate this, and perhaps gently suggest to Iraqis what kinds of questions they could be asking of their elected officials.

Craig

It was so much better before. Wasn't it? :O

Damn, Mark. I saw the title of this post on Toot and I actually thought you had something good to say about something... anything... for a change. I guess I should know better by now.

Do you actually make a living doing this? Or do you just do it for fun? Do you speak sanity and have a positive message, in your professional life? I have trouble believing anyone with such a one-sided (and negative) world view can find employment in the field of "public diplomacy" - what the hell kind of diplomacy is that? It's propaganda, this stuff you do. Your position never changes, and you always predict the worst (for the US/West) possible outcome with your "analysis".

alle

So how did your own predictions work out for you, Craig?

tulanealum

Marc,

Fair enough if you don't like the Awakening groups...got a better idea?

Davebo

"Fair enough if you don't like the Awakening groups...got a better idea?"

There are no better ideas. Just as there weren't in 2005, 2006 or 2004 for that matter.

I'd say my CEO in Vegas analogy still covers this reaction.

bb

Re the Parliamentary system - the Iraqis eventually chose this system rather than a presidential one to avoid the risk of power being over-centralised in one party or person. This was because of the Shiite and Kurd experience under the minority totalitarian government of the Baath, which they were determined would not be repeated in Iraq. They chose the proportional representation electoral system for the same reason. Their system of government is very similar to that adopted by post-apartheid South Africa, which also had gone through multi decades of tyrannical rule imposed by a small minority regime.

The Iraqi constitution virtually ensures powersharing, compromise and consensus. It is the anthesis of "winner take all", which is why so many recent decisions have been able to be held up by the Parliament and re-negotiated.

Non-Arab Arab

Seems hard to argue "the Iraqis" chose anything. A small handful of exile politicians and local warlords cut deals with American occupiers that produced the dysfunctional mess we see today. Iraq under American occupation and in civil war versus post-Apartheid South Africa yields far too many differences to be a useful standard of comparison.

Ed Marshall

So how did your own predictions work out for you, Craig?

Oh, they just led to untold death, destruction, the ethnic cleansing of millions of people.

But he's still smiling! You gotta be positive about creating human suffering on a massive scale.

bb

"A small handful of exile politicians and local warlords" seems to be a highly perjorative (and I must say Baath-centric) term for the members of the Iraqi Governing Council who painstakingly drafted, negotiated and approved the Transitional Law (see Rajiv Chandrasekaran's account in "Imperial Life in the Emerald City") not to mention the democratically elected government which put the final draft to the vote in October 2005, the nearly 10 million voters who faced an insurgency down to turn out and the nearly 80 percent of those 10mill who voted "yes"?

The South African model is significant, in that the Iraqis chose not to have a "winner take all system" but instead adopted a power sharing, consensus model as the South African 80 per cent majority blacks did. It's hard to imagine the SA blacks being so generous and far sighted had they been facing an Afrikaaner insurgency killing their civilians by the thousands?

Derfel64

Isn´t it a bit suspicious that the following day after the CLCs "withdrawal" from posts in Baquba, unspecified "gunmen" tore through various neighborhoods in the city killing ten people?So far no one has been arrested.

There is a real, scalating power struggle going on.

Bruce Webb

Craig and fellow travellors just won't recognize that operationally the Awakening Councils are simply the successors to the Sunni Insurgents we fought in Ramadi and Fallujah in 2004. After we went to full scale battle against them in an effort to demand they knuckle under to central governmental control and in the process largely destroying their major cities they allowed the formation of what became AQI on condition that it focus its attacks on Shi'ites, the central government and occupation troops. It is only when AQI turned on their Iraqi Sunni sponsors and tried to assert total control over their areas by such tactics as forced marriages to their daughters that the Sunni Insurgents in Anbar cut a deal with the US Marines there: largely turn over Anbar security to us (i.e. admit defeat) and we will turn on our former clients now contenders for power.

A similar dynamic happened in the south, we simply surrendered control to the people we had previously been fighting in Najaf and Samarrah, in both cases we cut deals with former enemies in the form of us asking them: "Stop attacking us, and start reining in your terrorist clients, and we will largely pull out our combat forces from areas under your control". Looking back we could have had pretty much this same deal by not attacking Ramadi, Fallujah, Najaf and Samarrah 3 and 4 years ago. That whirring sound is war supporters desperately trying to spin surrender on the ground into victory on the basis that the real victors aren't killing many of us anymore. No they don't have to, we are leaving their areas as alone as we possibly can while arming our former enemies and putting them on the payroll for $10 a day.

Who lost Iraq? The warmongers who continue to insist that if you squint just right and shove every past stated measure of victory down the Memory Hole and replace it with a metric of 'marginally and temporarily less combat deaths than when we were in all out urban combat' by gum you can still see that we are in post war conditions and due for a victory parade any FU now.

anna missed

What Bruce Webb said - or is it all just Jay Garner redux? With the unfortunate addition of over a million pointless deaths yet to be accounted for. Suck on that Craig.

toasterhead

Seems hard to argue "the Iraqis" chose anything. A small handful of exile politicians and local warlords cut deals with American occupiers that produced the dysfunctional mess we see today. Iraq under American occupation and in civil war versus post-Apartheid South Africa yields far too many differences to be a useful standard of comparison.

Posted by: Non-Arab Arab | February 10, 2008 at 12:07 AM

Which is pretty much par for the course considering "the Iraq" is just an RAF coaling station cobbled together in the 1920s by Winston Churchill.

Andrew R.

Bruce,


Forgive my naivete, but there seems to have been a massive climb-down in demands on the part of those Sunni insurgents who have joined the Awakening/Sons of Iraq/Whatever. Like I said in my first comment, demanding Iraqi soldiers not come into your neighborhood is a far, far cry from demanding that the Ba'ath Party be recognized as the sole legitimate ruler of all Iraq from Basra to Kirkuk.

Eric Martin

Andrew,

And then there are statements made for convenience/strategic purposes, and real goals.

JHM

Is there not some question whether any "massive climb-down in demands" has taken place?

Those who set up as Salvific Awakeners today are not, I believe, the same persons as demanded a restoration of the traditional Sunni Ascendancy -- whether in a Ba‘thí or a salafí form -- immediately after the aggression of March 2003. By their own account (as I have heard it), they merely went along with the likes of M. al-Dúrí or M. al-Zarqáwí, perhaps under threats and pressures, and did not take the lead themselves. For all I know to the contrary, the now Baní Sahwa may never have wanted anything more than to set up little independent city-states of their own.

Abú Aardvark might be able to tell us whether any unmistakable heirs of Saddám or avowed disciples of Bin Ládin have moderated their ambitions lately. They spend a lot of time and energy accusing one another of that and other betrayals, but are any of the accusations fact-based?

Happy days.

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