Sunday, July 09, 2006

Following up on my April 25 post of Iraq Timetable : May 22,2006

The first trigger date has technically been achieved with the news over the weekend that Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had named 37 cabinet members on the surface is good news. Albeit some of the functions are not exactly what many of us would consider to be significant (Minister for Immigration, Minister for Tourism and Antiquities, Minister for Culture, and Minister for Sports and Youth may have open time on their daily planners.) The three main functions are still undetermined -- Minister of National Security, Minister of Interior and Minister of National Defense. Also, disappointing is that that only four women were named to the cabinet which implies that one of Bush’s talking points of promoting women’s role in government may not be achieved. The previous interim governments had more women involved.

Establishing a functioning government with so many political parties, which seem to be based on ethnic, regional, tribal and obviously religious basis, is extremely perilous. The spoils of governance can be disseminated through patronage and nepotism. When jobs are assinged to persons that are less competent or experienced, will not only lead to a poorly functioning government but also a more factional government as minor parties may elect to not participate in the government giving rise to increased violence and increased dominance of miltias. PM al-Maliki has stated one of his prime concerns is ending corruption and embezzlement (in government offices) – let’s hope he succeeds.

The real positive news (if it comes to pass) is that The Organization of the Islamic Conference may propose sending a peacekeeping force led by itself or the United Nations to end violence in Iraq. many have suggested, the peace may best be accomplished when Arab and Muslims are participating as peacemakers. Quieting a civil war may be easier when the troops have an indigenous understanding of the language, culture and religious practices.

My concern still is that Bush will buckle to political pressure of the November elections and start pulling troops out before a national army is in place. The country could easily implode and the region would be in a mess.

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