Friday, March 24, 2006

Something Rotten in Iraq

It was this picture posted by Zeyad earlier this month, that first filled me with foreboding. The moment when Iraqi mayors and police forces allied with sectarian militias marks the point where things started to fall apart. Deeds of the Shia Death Squads run out of the interior ministry aren't making things better. Stir in an Iran that desperately wants Iraq to become a mess thinking that this will distract or prevent the world from taking action against Iran's nuclear program and I perceive heavy pressures to make things worse.

My suggestion: if it is still possible, for coalition troops to resume supervision and even re-vetting of police forces. Coalition troops should resume and increase night patrols without local police cooperation if necessary. Iraqis and their politicians still have some distance to travel before they can accept the responsibilities and limitations of a free society: sectarian loyalties must not conflict with efforts of the united Iraqi government to forge a peaceful yet liberal, multi-denominational, and multi-ethnic country.

For now, ordinary Iraqis must hold their politicians responsible for much of the mess, yet call on coalition forces once more to protect them. If accepted, the corollary is that any political leaders who persist in violent strife-producing activities must be subject to arrest by coalition forces.

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