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June 05, 2008



If this account is accurate, the visiting delegation truly believes reconciliation is something the government can give them, the way some governments deliver new highways or pension benefits. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."


interesting.. I actually heard it a bit differently - nothing warm and fuzzy about how they talk about "reconciliation", but a question of power and resources. They want money, not hugs.


First, start providing massive economic assistance for reconstruction yesterday.

... nothing warm and fuzzy about how they talk about "reconciliation", but a question of power and resources. They [the Salvific Awakeners of Sunnidom™] want money, not hugs.

Ah, the mother’s milk of politics! Plus of course the root of all evil.

"The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to the _Independent_. US negotiators ... [have] suggested that if the UN mandate, under which the money is held, lapses and is not replaced by the new agreement, then Iraq's funds would lose this immunity. The cost to Iraq of this happening would be the immediate loss of $20bn."

Happy days.


Marc, that sounds like a very interesting meeting. I just wondered whether the group had any ideas about what practical steps are needed to arrive at the ideal situation they describe, i.e. less sectarian security forces, more balanced constitution and so on? Did they envisage constitutional revision? International or American pressure? The problem as I see it is that few of the existing mechanisms are likely to produce anything in that direction. The group rightly dismissed the “national reconciliation” antics of the Maliki government, which seem designed to produce minimal change. Also, the constitutional revision process is on the back burner – it seems not to be a Bush administration priority, and progress is at any rate blocked by Kurdish-ISCI dominance on the revision committee. And, as has been pointed out by Greg Gause earlier, even under the rosiest of scenarios, provincial (as opposed to national) elections will not automatically create any changes at the national level. I find it depressing that many Iraqi nationalists have few ideas about how to promote their goals within the existing framework, and some talk more or less openly about a military strongman as the best option. Surely, if the system itself is rotten or on the wrong track, spraying it with American money cannot be a good idea.


Did these Sunni Arabs give any sense that they thought reconciliation demanded anything of them? Besides not aiding and abetting any more mass-casualty attacks on civilians in Baghdad, I mean.

I'm pretty sure that when Americans hear Bush administration officials talk about reconciliation in Iraq, they are not thinking only in terms of bribes given at gunpoint to tribal leaders. If there is a real difference in how reconciliation is defined by one of the parties we are hoping will reconcile, it would be good to know that.

nur al-cubicle

What is the stance of these Iraqis on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)?


What about the $40 billion dollars that the Iraqi government has in banks and is unable to spend?

Why not make direct welfare distributions to each and every Iraqi based on retina scans (to eliminate cheating completely)?

Every faction including Americans are complaining about destitution and crime and how that begets political and military insecurity. But no one has any idea what to do with the $80 billion (and rising) oil money received every year? Strange.

With direct payment, each Iraqi family will get about $1,000 a month, if 1/3 of the oil money is allocated to direct payments.

Its so strange to hear complaints about destitution when there is so much sitting in the bank and retina scans are so simple even a bank teller could administer that, and there is no real way to cheat.


abu a: I'd like to say that answers were forthcoming, but...

Were you one of the people in a position to provide any answers, or were you there strictly as an observer/interviewer?

If the latter, would you characterize if you can those who were there in a position to provide (or not) answers to the delegation's questions?

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