Thursday, August 23, 2007

Iraq Does Not Exist Anymore

Claims the well-traveled, well-sourced, and best Western journalist on the civilian issues in Iraq and the Middle East---Nir Rosen. On Democracy Now. Listen to the whole thing or read the entire transcript, but the piece is clear: Iraq exists on paper only. It is, as he says, more now like Somalia: a series of fiefdoms run by warlords and militias.

The central government has no power. Criticizing Maliki does nothing because the guy is a useless figurehead. To the degree he has power it is only through militias and Shia-identity (he fled during the Saddam years). His only cred on the street is not to play the Iraqi Nationalist Card, but the Shia group card.

On criticisms of Maliki (Levin, Clinton, Bush):
Well, it’s stupid for several reasons. First of all, the Iraqi government doesn’t matter. It has no power. And it doesn’t matter who you put in there. He’s not going to have any power. Baghdad doesn’t really matter, except for Baghdad. Baghdad used to be the most important city in Iraq, and whoever controlled Baghdad controlled Iraq. These days, you have a collection of city states: Mosul, Basra, Baghdad, Kirkuk, Irbil, Sulaymaniyah. Each one is virtually independent, and they have their own warlords and their own militias. And what happens in Baghdad makes no difference. So that’s the first point.

Second of all, who can he put in instead? What does he think he’s going to put in? Allawi or some secular candidate? There was a democratic election, and the majority of Iraqis selected the sectarian Shiite group Dawa, Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution, the Sadr Movement. These are movements that are popular among the majority of Shias, who are the majority of Iraq. So it doesn’t matter who you put in there. And people in the Green Zone have never had any power. Americans, whether in the government or journalists, have been focused on the Green Zone from the beginning of the war, and it’s never really mattered. It’s been who has power on the street, the various different militias, depending on where you are -- Sunni, Shia, tribal, religious, criminal. So it just reflects the same misunderstanding of Iraqi politics. The government doesn’t do anything, doesn’t provide any services, whether security, electricity, health or otherwise. Various militias control various ministries, and they use it as their fiefdoms. Ministries attack other ministries.

Here's the main issue politically and for the future of US policy (what really has to change after Bush departs):
Well, there is a general aversion on the part of the US administration towards any Islamist movement or government. This is why they brought down the Islamic Courts in Somalia, this is why they overthrew the Hamas democratically elected government in Palestine, this is why they refuse to deal with Hezbollah, an overwhelmingly popular movement in Lebanon: I think a fear of any successful Islamist model.
His conclusion, grim:
In Iraq? It’s too late for anything good to happen in Iraq, unfortunately. If the Americans stay, we’ll see a continuation of this civil war, of ethnic cleansing, until all of Iraq is sort of ethnically -- or sectarian, homogenous zones, which is basically what’s already happened. If the Americans leave, then you’ll see greater intervention of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, supporting their own militias in Iraq and being drawn into battle.

But no matter what, Iraq doesn’t exist anymore. Baghdad will never be in the hands of Sunnis again. Baghdad will be controlled by Shia militias. They’ve been cleansing all the Sunnis from Baghdad. So Sunnis are basically being pushed out of Iraq, period. They can go to the Anbar Province, which isn’t a very friendly place. I think you’ll see that there won’t be any more elections in Iraq. Maliki is the last prime minister Iraq will have for a long time. There is neither the infrastructure for elections anymore, nor the desire to have them, nor the ability of Iraqi groups to cooperate anymore. So what you’ll see is basically Mogadishu in Iraq: various warlords controlling small neighborhoods. And those who are by major resources, such as oil installations, obviously will be foreign-sponsored warlords who will be able to cut deals with us, the Chinese. But Iraq is destroyed, and I think we’ll see that this will spread throughout the region, and this will destabilize Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, as well.


Post a Comment

<< Home