S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Late, late, late

The Bush administration has made a bit mess in the Middle East. So what else is new, you might say. The Middle East Mess is getting worse and worse and just now administration leaders have decided that a bit of diplomacy might be a good idea. The U.S. government has also decided that pouring arms into the region might also be a fine thing. None of it will help, because we are too late.
The Bush administration has also been guilty of being "too early" in the Middle East. We left Afghanistan too early and invaded Iraq. The resulting mess in Iraq is really big. So what else is new, you ask again. And the government of Iraq is responding too late. Prime Minister Malaki has "fiddled while his country burned." The so-called unity government has never been a reality. Past and current headlines have made that abundantly clear.
Sunni Arabs leave Malaki government - Professor Juan Cole, who writes at Informed Comment, posted an excellent exploration of the Iraqis' "unity government" crisis brought on by our poor planning, procrastination and inadequate leadership in both countries. It always was "an accident waiting to happen." To quote,

Six cabinet ministers and the vice premier, Salam al-Zawba'i, tendered their resignations. Adnan al-Dulaimi a leader of the IAF, said that the Sunni resignations were final and that they gave al-Maliki a chance to govern without a party the PM had branded "a source of problems" in the country. Al-Dulaimi said that from now on the Iraqi Accord Front would expose the sectarian policies of the government [i.e. Shiite policies].

The project of a national unity government was pushed in spring of 2006 by the US ambassador of that time, Zalmay Khalilzad, as a way of mollifying the Sunni Arabs, who had been left out in the cold during the government of Ibrahim Jaafari. Jaafari's Shiite United Iraqi Alliance had a simple majority in parliament in 2005. It only achieved about 46% in the December, 2005, elections, however, and Jaafari's successor, Nuri al-Maliki, at first needed at least 15 or so supporters from other lists to retain his majority. As time went on, al-Maliki lost the support of the Fadhila Party (a splinter of the Sadrist movement popular in Basra and loyal to Ayatollah Muhammad al-Yaqubi), which has 15 seats in parliament. Then the Sadrists or followers of Muqtada al-Sadr (32 seats) withdrew from his government, pulling their ministers. Now the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front has departed.
Iraqi populace in crisis - People hurt by national lateness, in addition to our brave men and women in uniform, are the people of Iraq, particularly the innocents. And they have been desperately injured by the tardiness and ineptitude of their respective leaders. Here is a particularly grievous example. Aljazeera recently headlined, "Half of Iraq in 'absolute poverty' " To quote,

Up to eight million Iraqis require immediate emergency aid, with nearly half of the population living in "absolute poverty", according to a report by Oxfam and a coalition of Iraqi groups.

About four million people are lacking food and "in dire need of different types of humanitarian assistance", said the report, released in Amman on Monday.

The report also says two million people within the country are currently displaced, while more than two million are refugees. Most of those refugees have fled to Jordan and Syria.
Being too late in turning to diplomacy had been the most egregious error of the Bush administration's Middle East policy. The headline, "US Launches broad diplomatic strategy in the Middle East," reads as bitter irony to me. Paul Reynolds of the BBC News (8/1/07) wrote the article. To quote from it,

The United States has embarked on a diplomatic strategy in the Middle East in which it hopes to rally support for Iraq, arm its allies, isolate Iran and launch a new conference for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The strategy is being launched in visits to the region by the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

The aim is to try to put some long-term cohesion into the various strands of US policy in the region. These have faced difficulties recently because of the war in Iraq, the refusal of Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and the failure to make any progress in the Palestinian/Israeli peace process.
My links: Cross posted at The Reaction.
My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Good Second Mondays is a "meme" on me.
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