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Shrubbyist Fear and Loathing of Democracy in Iraq

Back in September it was clear (and I wrote) that a moral and effective approach to liberating the Iraqi peoples from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein and his minority based tribal government would require:

The White House has failed in all three measures, dramatically, miserably.  If the current drive to war is not halted these failures will result in inestimable, and unnecessary tragedy.  That tragedy, the White House's  psycopahic disregard of the need for planning, coordination, and adherence to democratic processes and objectives, will initially impact on the Iraqi people, murdering perhaps hundreds of thousands to more than a million of the most vulnerable Iraqi's - children, women, and the aged.  (Link)

Over the longer term, the damage their failures have done to America's alliances and respect throughout the free world will seriously reduce our own and the entire world's security and safety.  And the resentment engendered by our invasion and occupation of Iraq, unaccompanied by a strong, visible moral commitment to democratic and pluralist rule there,  will immensely increase resentment of the US hegemony in the Mid East, swelling the ranks of the disaffected and recruiting untold numbers of young people into the ranks of terrorist organizations and suicide bombers.

With respect the the third of these three measures:  Two articles follow which point up the failure of the administration to adequately consider and plan for the "day after" the invasion.  With the White House lunatic fringe talking about "days not weeks" before a resolution authorizing invasion is presented to the UN, and threatening invasion even without such a resolution in "weeks not months", it is a bit late to find plans for post invasion governance in such disarray, and the White House proposals raising such animosity among the groups who were earlier supposed to have been the basis for popular support and post invasion democratic institutions.

But most significantly, these articles point up the fear and loathing of democracy which this White House has exhibited over and over again.   The (un)Patriot Act in the US, the failure to emphasize and support the development of pluralist and democratic institutions in Afghanistan, and now the very overt rejection of both "democratization" and 'federalism' in Iraq show how deeply this White House hates true democracy.

May God forgive us all.

Jim Pivonka
PO Box 751
La Crosse, KS  67548

Please see also:

"Shrubbyist Deceptions, America's Credulity, and the Betrayal of Iraq"

US falls out with Iraqi opposition -- America to run country as squabbling parties fail to agree strategy
Julian Borger in Washington, Michael Howard and Luke Harding in Irbil, Dan De Luce in Tehran
Friday February 21, 2003 - The Guardian,2763,899986,00.html

The Bush administration is on a collision course with its closest allies in the Iraqi opposition over how the country should be run after the fall of Saddam Hussein, compounding the confusion now surrounding Washington's preparations for war.

Guardian interviews with four of the seven leading opposition figures have revealed the depth of the rift between Washington and several of the main parties claiming to represent the Iraqi people.

The split has overshadowed a much-delayed meeting in Irbil, northern Iraq, now slated for this weekend, which will bring together opposition leaders who have spent much of the past decade at loggerheadS. It is hoped that the meeting will forge unity between the disparate groupS.

But their temporary reconciliation has come too late for the United States, which has given up hope of unifying the Iraqi exiles, and opted to run the country itself in the aftermath of the war.

The Bush administration told opposition leaders at a meeting in Ankara earlier this month that it plans to install a transitional military governor and keep much of the existing Iraqi bureaucracy in place.  The proposals have opened such a deep gulf between the US and its traditional allies in the Iraqi opposition - particularly the Iraqi National Council headed by Ahmad Chalabi - that a leading INC member has even raised the possibility of a revolt against the American occupation troops after the war is over.

The rift has also added to the uncertainty dogging US war plans, already on hold in the absence of an agreement from Turkey to provide bases for a northern front, and in the face of determined opposition in the UN security council.

Mr Chalabi is seeking to declare a provisional government when the war startS. The Chalabi plan, which has been seen by the Guardian, envisages the establishment of a leadership council, drawn from the 65 members of a steering committee appointed at an opposition conference in London in December.

At the onset of a US invasion, this new body would become "a leadership council of the transitional government of Iraq", which would oversee the preparation of a temporary constitution and assign an executive committee head to create the first post-Saddam cabinet.  The plan lists the various ministries that would be created but fails to tackle the thorny issue of representation for the country's different ethnic and religious groupS.

The plan has alienated some of Mr Chalabi's most enthusiastic backers in the Pentagon and in Congress, who fear the announcement of a provisional government made up of exiles would split anti-Saddam sentiment inside Iraq.

"People in this administration tried very hard to put the [INC-led] opposition into power," said Leith Kubba, a founder member of the INC who is now non-affiliated.  "But after a total investment of $100m, they are saying look at the money spent and ask what do we have to work with? Is there a coherent front? The answer is no."

Zalmay Khalilzad, the White House "special envoy and ambassador-at-large for free Iraqis", only agreed to attend this weekend's rebel congress after its Kurdish hosts guaranteed there would be no declaration of a provisional government.  "The Americans are coming," Hoshyar Zebari, of the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP), said, suggesting a deal has been done.

The Kurds were ambivalent over the INC's plan, seeing the provisional government as a vehicle for Mr Chalabi's ambitionS. "The trouble is it's all about Ahmad [Chalabi]," said one Kurdish official.  "Who else do you think he has in mind for the head of the executive committee.  He knows that if he enters Baghdad without this kind of deal, he'll not have the leverage he craveS. There will be so many other exiled Iraqi technocrats returning that he'll just be one of the crowd."

Mr Khalilzad's arrival in Irbil has been postponed several times, apparently due to bad weather in Washington, but if and when he finally turns up he is likely to be given a cool reception.  The INC is furious with him.  The Kurds are anxious over reports that the US has promised Turkey that its troops will have free run in northern Iraq once the war startS.

And all sides suspect him of trying to undermine their clout by persuading other opposition leaders, including Ayad Alawi of the Iraqi National Accord, and Sharif Ali, the most prominent monarchist, not to attend.

The Guardian has learned that Mr Khalilzad is trying to arrange a rival meeting with 15 Iraqi opposition figures and exileS. Mr Chalabi has so far not been invited, but the meeting is expected to include independents like Adnan Pachachi, an 80-year-old former Iraqi foreign minister now living in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Khalilzad has recently been courting Mr Pachachi as a possible elder statesman to add legitimacy to the "advisory council" the US is hoping to set up as a complement to the post-war military administration.  The day-to-day government would be left in the hands of the existing bureaucracy, made up of low-level Ba'ath party memberS.

The meeting in Irbil at least appears to have cemented the truce between the two rival Kurdish groups, the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which spent half the past decade at war with each other.  Both have repeated their commitment not to attempt to secede, but to respect the integrity of a federal Iraq.

Jalal Talabani, the PUK leader, pledged his party would play a role in a post-war central government, telling The Guardian "I think it is the duty of Kurds to play an important role in Baghdad for reshaping Iraq into a democratic, pluralist system."

The main Shi'ite movement, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) has forged a temporary alliance with the PUK, and is attending the Irbil meeting but the Kurdish-Shi'ite axis is tenuous over the issue of federalism.

Mohamed Bakr al-Hakim, the SCIRI leader, said he is not prepared to accept a federal post-war Iraq.  "Kurds want this kind of configuration but this matter should be left to Iraqis," he said.

{JP note:  This statement is in contradiction to the "Declaration of the Shia of Iraq" which explicitly states that "The signatories believe that Iraq can only be revivified if its future is based on the three principles of democracy, federalism and community rights."}

Full U.S. Control Planned for Iraq - American Would Oversee Rebuilding
By Karen DeYoung and Peter Slevin, Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 21, 2003; Page A01

The Bush administration plans to take complete, unilateral control of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, with an interim administration headed by a yet-to-be named American civilian who would direct the reconstruction of the country and the creation of a "representative" Iraqi government, according to a now-finalized blueprint described by U.S. officials and other sources.

Gen. Tommy Franks, the head of the U.S. Central Command, is to maintain military control as long as U.S. troops are there.  Once security was established and weapons of mass destruction were located and disabled, a U.S. administrator would run the civilian government and direct reconstruction and humanitarian aid.

In the early days of military action, U.S. forces following behind those in combat would distribute food and other relief items and begin needed reconstruction.  The goal, officials said, would be to make sure the Iraqi people "immediately" consider themselves better off than they were the day before war, and attribute their improved circumstances directly to the United States.

The initial humanitarian effort, as previously announced, is to be directed by retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner.  But once he got to Baghdad, sources said, Garner would quickly be replaced as the supreme civil authority by an American "of stature," such as a former U.S. state governor or ambassador, officials said.

Officials said other governments are being recruited to participate in relief and reconstruction tasks under U.S. supervision at a time to be decided by Franks and officials in Washington.  Although initial food supplies are to be provided by the United States, negotiations are underway with the U.N.  World Food Program to administer a nationwide distribution network Opposition leaders were informed this week that the United States will not recognize an Iraqi provisional government being discussed by some expatriate groupS. Some 20 to 25 Iraqis would assist U.S. authorities in a U.S.-appointed "consultative council," with no governing responsibility.  Under a decision finalized last week, Iraqi government officials would be subjected to "de-Baathification," a reference to Hussein's ruling Baath Party, under a program that borrows from the "de-Nazification" program established in Germany after World War II.

Criteria by which officials would be designated as too tainted to keep their jobs are still being worked on, although they would likely be based more on complicity with the human rights and weapons abuses of the Hussein government than corruption, officials said.  A large number of current officials would be retained.

Although some of the broad strokes of U.S. plans for a post-Hussein Iraq have previously been reported, newly finalized elements include the extent of U.S. control and the plan to appoint a nonmilitary civil administrator.  Officials cautioned that developments in Iraq could lead them to revise the plan on the run.  Yet to be decided is "at what point and for what purpose" a multinational administration, perhaps run by the United Nations, would be considered to replace the U.S. civil authority.

"We have a load of plans that could be carried out by an international group, a coalition group, or by us and a few others," one senior U.S. official.  President Bush, the official said, doesn't want to close options until the participants in a military action are known and the actual postwar situation in Iraq becomes clear.

The administration has been under strong pressure to demonstrate that it has a detailed program to deal with what is expected to be a chaotic and dangerous situation if Hussein is removed.  The White House plans to brief Congress and reporters on more details of the plan next week.

No definitive price tag or time limit has been put on the plan, and officials stressed that much remains unknown about the length of a potential conflict, how much destruction would result, and "how deep" the corruption of the Iraqi government goeS. The administration has declined to estimate how long U.S. forces would remain in Iraq.  Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman told Congress last week that it might be two years before the Iraqis regained administrative control of their country.  But "they're terrified of being caught in a time frame," said retired Army Gen. Barry R.  McCaffrey, one of a number of senior military and civilian experts who have been briefed by the Pentagon on the plan.  "My own view is that it will take five years, with substantial military power, to establish and exploit the peace" in Iraq.

Although more than 180,000 U.S. troops are on the ground in the Persian Gulf region, U.S. officials continued to emphasize that President Bush still has not made a final decision on whether to go to war.  Negotiations at the United Nations, where Bush is seeking a new Security Council resolution declaring that Hussein has violated U.N.  disarmament demands and authorizing that he be disarmed by a U.N.  multinational force, are at a delicate stage.

A majority of the council's 15 members have said they believe a decision on war should be delayed while U.N.  weapons inspections, launched in November, continue.  Bush has said that, if necessary, the U.S. military and a "coalition of the willing" will disarm Iraq without U.N.  approval.

The administration also is continuing discussions with Arab governments about the possibilities of exile for Hussein and several dozen of his family members and top officialS. Sources said, however, that even if Hussein and a small group of others were to leave, uncertainties about who would remain in charge, the need to destroy weapons of mass destruction, and concerns about establishing long-term stability would likely lead to the insertion of U.S. troops there in any case.

Among the other parts of the post-Hussein plan:

Iraqi military forces would be gathered in prisoner-of-war camps, with opposition members now receiving U.S. training at an air base in Hungary serving as part of the guard force.  The Iraqi troops would be vetted by U.S. forces under Franks's command, and those who were cleared, beginning with those who "stood down or switched sides" during a U.S. assault, would receive U.S. training to serve in what one official called a "post-stabilization" force.

U.S. forces would secure any weapons of mass destruction that were found, including biological and chemical weapons storeS. "At an appropriate time," an official said, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency, who are conducting U.N.-mandated weapons inspections in Iraq, might be brought in to examine weaponry, scientists and documentation.

In addition to the consultative council, an Iraqi commission would be formed to reestablish a judicial system.  An additional commission would write a new constitution, although officials emphasized that they would not expect to "democratize" Iraq along the lines of the U.S. governing system.  Instead, they speak of a "representative Iraqi government."

Officials said the decision to install U.S. military and civilian administrations for an indeterminate time stems from lessons learned in Afghanistan, where power has been diffused among U.S. military forces still waging war against the remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda, a multinational security force of several thousand troops in which the United States does not participate, and the interim government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The administration is particularly keen on averting interference by other regional powers, and cites the "ability of people like the Iranians and others to go in with money and create warlords" sympathetic to their own interests, one official said.  "We don't want a weak federal government that plays into the hands of regional powers" and allows Iraq to be divided into de facto spheres of influence.  "We don't want the Iranians to be paying the Shiites, the Turks the Turkmen and the Saudis the Sunnis," the official, referring to some of the main groups among dozens of Iraqi tribes and ethnic and religious groups.

A similar anxiety led to the decision to prohibit the Iraqi opposition based outside the country from forming a provisional government.  The chief proponent of that idea, Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, was informed this week that any move to declare a provisional Iraqi government "would result in a formal break in the U.S.-INC relationship," the official said.

                                 © 2003 The Washington Post Company

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