Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Restoring democracy watch (see further update on more demos below):

The American occupation force is holding a meeting of Iraqi opposition groups in Nasiriya, with the aim of quickly setting up a government with Iraqi participation. So why are 4000 Iraqis already protesting the meeting? Could it be that they don't think that the exiles who dominate the meeting, who have spent lots of time chatting up Western governments, and comparatively little dealing with people still living in the country, don't actually represent them? That they take more seriously the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a more local group which is boycotting the meeting, and has announced opposition to any American setup? How could that possibly be?

(NB: RealAudio link to NPR coverage; it's Mike Shuster's report from this morning if you're trying to find it in the archive).

More: It's not just the Shiites that don't want us around. AFP says it wasn't 4,000 people demonstrating in Nasiriya -- more like 20,000. But that's an afterthought; they lead with a separate incident in Mosul, considered Kurdish and Turkomen territory, in which US troops fired on the angry crowd attending a speech by the US-appointed governor, after he had been driven off stage; at least ten civilians died. And then there's this report of US troops trying to prevent reporters from covering yet a third anti-American demonstration in Baghdad. (Once again, via comments at the increasingly indispensible Daily Kos).

Once again, the ultimate problem isn't so much the undermanned, overstressed American troops themselves as the leadership that sent them in without a clear plan, assistance on tap from relief agencies with experience in reestablishing social services, or the amount of force ultimately required to really try to do the job right...

Yet More: Digby on the privatized assistance we're bringing over to help Iraq get back on its feet: rent-a-cops from Dyncorp, which last made the news for trying to cover up trading in sex slaves by its employees in Bosnia. Jeanne D'arc has also been all over this, but her permalinks aren't working, so scroll down...


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