Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Someone asked me whether I thought it was a good thing that Saddam was gone. My response was that it depends what comes after. The presidency of Iraq could go, for instance, to a member of the fanatical Shiite organization which helped set up Hezbollah, among other things. Oh, wait. It already has:

Iraq has its first temporary president, and his name is Ibrahim Jafari. (He'll hold the job for a month: It's a rotating presidency, handed off like a relay baton between nine "chairmen", each of whom was in turn chosen by a USDA-approved 25-member Governing Council.) Jafari hails from the Shiite fundamentalist party Al Dawa.

Dawa? Would that be the same Dawa that carried out a series of Reagan-era bombings in Kuwait of, among other things, the American and French embassies and the residential housing of American Raytheon employees -- bombings that killed five people and injured 80? The same Dawa that took inspiration from the Iranian Islamic Revolution and the Ayatollah Khomenei? The same Dawa that founded and set up Hezbollah in Lebanon? Why yes, it would. Only now, after three decades of guerrilla and terrorist violence, they've surfaced to demand a share of ruling post-Saddam Iraq, and claiming they now believe in democracy and rule of law. And we trust them on this because ... well ... who can keep track of all these guys anyway?

So, we're getting Iraq to "embrace modernity" and get more comfortable with the secular west by putting guys like this in power. But hey, it's only for a month, after which he's just another chairman. Then we get to see who's next.

Besides, at least the Mukhabarat, Iraq's notorious secret police, is no longer operating. Except when reconstituted, under US auspices -- and coordinating with the Mujaedeen Khalq, another armed faction which is too brutal for even some of Saddam's former secret police to deal with in good conscience.

Dawa link via Tom Spencer.


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