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I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.


I welcome all opinions.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Neither success nor failure:
   I am starting to take an cynical view
   towards Iraq's future

In the wee hours before the Iraqi elections, Jeffrey White and Brooke Neuman have written an excellent PolicyWatch article for the Washington Institute entitled Iraq's Sunnis Play the Election Card.

Briefly, the Sunnis have realized that the "boycott" politics of the previous year scored merely a short-term tactical success and have found themselves marginalized in the flowering Iraqi democracy. The Sunnis are now turning towards "participatory" politics to regain lost momentum, but they do not appear to be ready to abandon the leverage that the largely Sunni insurgency gives them.

Sort of like Sinn Fein and the IRA of Ireland, or as White and Neuman compare it, like the

“Nazi path to power” using the political system to destroy it from within. The Sunni bloc in the government will also likely function as a restraint on government counterinsurgency actions and as a critic of the extralegal actions of the security forces.
The Sunnis are driven by a complex set of issues. These include the Sunni resistance to the U.S.-led occupation; the rise to power of the Shiite community; the perceived escalation of government and militia attacks on the Sunni community; the quest to restore the political power of the Sunni community; and the trial of Saddam Hussein. Participation in the political process is seen as another means—alongside armed resistance—of handling these issues.
Sunni Arab politicians in the new parliament will likely constitute a substantial bloc of seats. As such they will be able to exercise more political leverage. Iyad Allawi, a secular Shiite, and the Kurds will be looking for partners.

Given that the Sunnis and Kurds each make up only 20% of the population, wheeling and dealing with the more secular Shiites may lead to interesting bedfellows.

And you know what the Chinese say about living in interesting times...


Blogger Curious Dave said...

Cynical Jay,
it ain't so!
Please say.

12/13/2005 11:40 PM  
Blogger Jay Cline said...

Cynical, yet eternally hopeful.

Yet not ever regretful.

12/14/2005 10:21 AM  

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