Monday, August 06, 2007

Bloggers on the Accord Front Walkout

At Iraq The Model, Omar analyzes who benefits from the the (Sunni Arab) Accord Front's walk-out from the Maliki cabinet. He also casts a pox on the entire Parliament for taking a vacation while Iraq's future is at a cross-roads.

One thing makes me worried these days and I'm afraid that someone is planning a different bad solution. The rift between the minister of defense and the senior commanders including chief of staff of the army which led to a group resignation is an ominous sign that indicates a deep dispute between the two leaderships and this dispute seems to be over a political issue given their history in the military institution. It would be too early to speculate that someone is planning a coup-or preparing to crush one-at this point but the mere thought of it remains a little bit scary.
Kazimi, at Talisman Gate, however, sees the situation as...well....

The writing on the wall, which both the Shiite and Sunni political classes can read, says that the insurgency is tanking and breaking down, something that is also registering with American military and policy planners in Iraq.

With the insurgency ceasing to be a threat to established political dynamics in Iraq, the Shiites are turning confident and resorting to political hardball: either the Sunnis kiss-up to them and accept the status of junior partners in running the country or they can be relegated to a noisy, but ultimately irrelevant, opposition in parliament.

The latest dramatic showdown was orchestrated by the Sunni leaders who have most to lose from these mellowing developments...Adnan Duleimi, who got voted out of his role as head of the ‘Sunni’ Consensus (Tawafuq) parliamentary bloc...Khalaf Alayan ["accused of colluding with terrorism"]...and Tariq Hashemi of the Islamic Party.
After going over every likely replacement for a Sunni Speaker of Parliament (and Allawi too), Kazimi says:

For now, it’s great for me to watch the Islamist parties fumble, with no dominant ‘leader’ emerging. Everyone is being forced to play politics within the rules of the game; no more military coups, no more ‘Great Leaders’. The Sadrists have shown themselves to be as inept and corrupt as all the rest, and the shrill Sunni voices are being supplanted by new political forces that can live with the huge cascade of change begun on April 9, 2003.

But Iraqis are still suffering from the ineptness of their public servants, and new and empowered managerial talent must be harnessed to improve basic services and revive the economy, and it's immoral to keep Iraqis waiting much longer.

The best case scenario would be early parliamentary elections in six months, with Maliki acting as a care-taker.
The Kazimi's summing up of all this is as astute as his summings-up tend to be:

Congressional critics and the western media may want to play up this political confusion as a sign that Bush is not making progress in Iraq, and they predictably will. But a fairer analysis would conclude that these are all healthy signs of the re-introduction of politics into Iraqi life. It may not even be as pretty as sausage-making, yet it puts to rest the Middle Eastern instinctual impulse for a short-cut to power through violence and tyranny.
I agree. All this turmoil is the messy way democracies work (look at America's current instance as a perfect example). Are you frustrated that the Iraqi Parliament took a vacation while the country is still at war on so many fronts? So did America's Congress. But at least the leaders are combating each other with debate and political theater rather than coups and firing squads.


Continuing on the subject of the twisted complexity of Iraqi politics, Michael Yon reports on a problem in Baquba in which the Shi'a members of the government were refusing to release food in the warehouses to the (Sunni) people there. (h/t Iraqi Mojo)

Al Qaeda’s efforts to propagate the civil war run far deeper than merely bombing mosques and murdering busloads of people. By seizing the warehouse in Baqubah, they had used the food as both a political and economic tool.

The bureaucrats seemed unreasonable and unhelpful, as if they had declared their own war on Baqubah. But what even we did not know was that warehouses and silos in and around Baqubah were in fact loaded with grain, flour and uncounted tons of sugar. Al Qaeda had stolen it, apparently to dump it or sell it or feed their minions, but Operation Arrowhead Ripper interrupted the plans.

This was a perfect argument. The bureaucrats were right: Al Qaeda had practically owned Baqubah, and was murdering Shia (and Sunni) directly or indirectly, literally by the thousands around Iraq. Why ship food out to Diyala Province to the hands of the enemy? So this was perfect for al Qaeda; they were trying to start a civil war, and because the Ministry will not help with the shipment, it looked like it was the Shia who will not deliver to Sunni.

Additionally, we learn from this article that Al-Qaeda says that ICE is unIslamic.

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