Saturday, October 28, 2006

Real progress in Iraq

Despite all of the disturbing news reports out of Iraq, it finally looks like real progress is being made towards a free, democratic, and independent Iraq. The real danger all along was that any "democracy" that we "installed" in Iraq would simply be a short-term puppet facade doomed to ultimately crumble. So, it is actually quite good news when we hear that Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is finally standing up to U.S. pressure and stating quite firmly that "I'm not America's man in Iraq."

Additional American forces in Iraq are not the answer.

Merely "crushing the insurgency" is not the answer.

De-baathification under terms dictated by the U.S. (under pressure from the the so-called Pro-Israel Lobby) is not the answer.

Disarming the militias is not the answer.

Reconciliation is a huge part of the answer. The Iraqis themselves need to come to grips with how they see their own society and nation.

The real bottom line is that the U.S. cannot create a democracy in Iraq. The best the U.S. can do is create the preconditions on which the Iraqi people themselves create a form of democracy that suits them, even if it does not suit the U.S., the Neoconservatives, or the rest of the so-called Pro-Israel Lobby.

Despite all of the carnage in Iraq, we may actually be approaching the point where the Iraqis finally recognize that they are responsible for their own security and will actually request the U.S. to leave soon enough. I strongly suspect that such a request will come within the next eighteen months and possibly sooner rather than later.

The militias are not the cause of the unrest, but simply a reaction by the various constituences, which are essentially trying to say that they aren't yet happy with the governmental structure of Iraq. A big part of the unhappiness stems simply from the fact that the governmental structure "feels" too much like an imposed order of the U.S. rather than a negotiated relationship among the real parties.

While the Democrats currently chatter about how to extricate the U.S. from Iraq and the chaos that might follow, I strongly suspect that six months from now the chatter will be about how to satisfy Iraqi demands for troop departure in an expeditious manner.

To my mind, the big issue warranting our most intense consideration is not getting out of Iraq, but how to build a robust relationship with whatever power structure emerges in Iraq. We should not be trying to fight Iraqi independence from U.S. "policies", but doing our best to act as facilitators.

Much of the fighting in Iraq is not so much to fight against the government, but more to establish power bases to gain better seats "at the table."

Democracy in Iraq will continue to be a real struggle for quite some time, but incremental progress is being made. I have every confidence that the Iraqis will find their own way. I simply hope that the U.S. will be a polite "guest" and not overstay its welcome and not abuse its host's hospitality any further than it already has.

-- Jack Krupansky


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