After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Shut up you whiners

Apologies for the title of this post - it is just a joke on the the name of Salam Pax's blog.

So the penny dropped, Iraq did not want the secular parties and Salam Pax and Mohammed (of Iraq The Model) published their breakdown of what went wrong and where Iraq is going.

They generally agree - the religious parties had a head start. They were already organised through the mosques long before Saddam fell. Salam Pax goes a step further. He feels the Americans pulled the religious Shi'a on board to save the elections a year ago. But they differ on the future. Salam Pax feels that:
[seculars politicians] are a tiny minority who will very soon lose all because if you are not doing the sectarian/religious double dutch rope jump you are not part of the game, so get the hell out of the playground.
While Mohammed believes:
"We are not the minority but we are the least organized when compared to the religious parties. When people voted for the religious choice that was because religion was in front of them all the time while parties like ours were more like a new face in the neighbourhood"
Both these bloggers are connected to secular politics that supported the American occupation government so both give an analysis that has serious omissions.

Firstly: the American occupation government sought to divide Iraq in a racist way. They divided the people according to Shi'a, Sunni, Christian, Kurd, Turkuman and made quotas for which sect/religion the member of the original governing council belonged to. Then each sect was given its own minsistry to control which they did like a mini fiefdom. The secular parties that joined in this game, happily participated in this farce. Well, if you ride on the back of the sectarian dragon don't come crying when it turns and burns you.

Secondly, the secular parties came on the back of the occupier. They were created from nothing - literally. Read Mohammed's description. The only one that can claim some popular backing was the Communist party and they destroyed their credibility years ago when they accepted positions in the Baathist government. So the only contituency Secular parties have is from supporting the occupier. And this is an occupier that did very little for the Iraqi in the street and promises less for the future. The most substantial thing that the Americans can claim to have done in the past three years is remove Saddam. The rest are token gestures. Iraq's wealth has been frittered away on corruption. The government still can't refine its own oil let alone pay Turkey to do it. Electricity is a sad joke. And large parts of Baghdad are totally lawless. What had the secular parties to offer other than more of the same occupation.

Iraqis are not stupid and they are not sheep to be led to the slaughter. But this is how you are treating them. I read the manifesto of some of the secular parties during the different elections and frankly they are childish nonsense. Even in the latest election - Allawi's whole program was only security and Chalabli's was to franchise the oil. People need a bit more depth than that. The religious parties did not offer much more but in a choice between several bad options you go for the most organised one.

Anyway - on to my point. Iraq desparately needs reconstruction in the same way it needed reconstruction after 1991. To do this Iraq needs national unity. The Shi'a cannot provide this because the Sunni's will never accept a Shi'a government ruling as Shi'a. The Sunni's are too small a group to rule as Sunni's. Nobody will ever accept the Baathists back. Quite simply any dictatorship will not survive. The Shi'a will ruin themselves because they are now tied to a system that is failing and will fail. They do not have any answers to economic or security problems in Iraq. So there is a hole building in Iraqi politics and any popular movement that stands on a platform of national unity and nationalisation of Iraqi resources for reconstruction will gain support very quickly. But this is not a platform America would like promoted.


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