May 31, 2004

Rare "Big Media" Post

Hat tip again to Laurie Mylroie for alerting me to this Dave Marash essay on Iraq, from ABCNews.com. Not a lot of news here, but an optimistic analysis, and some sensible commentary rooted in the article's theme that, "the strategic threats to the state of Iraq are declining". Marash celebrates the fact that the Iraqis themselves have asserted their own influence over the other players...

However it is spun, the truth is the Governing Council seized the leadership selection process for Iraq's next "interim" government away from the U.S. and the U.N., and was able to do so for three simple reasons: 1) They are Iraqi. Ambassadors Bremer and Brahimi are not. Iraqis today are far more likely to accept a government appointed by Iraqis than by anyone else. 2) They have the only really functional political organizations in Iraq, with party structures, local leaders and community networks. 3) Most of them have paramilitary resources. Therefore they are the only ones whose displeasure at the choices for the new government matter.

Therefore, when they were displeased by the Shiite Hussain Shahristani's nomination as prime minister, it was withdrawn. When they said they wanted Alawi, they got him. Now, they are left with a largely generational choice for president: the 80-something Adnan Pachachi or the 40-something Sheikh Ghazi Ajeel al-Yawer, both, Sunni pragmatists, both members of the IGC "club" Shahristani never joined. Either way, the Council has won.

Posted by dan at May 31, 2004 12:27 AM