Thank you Mr. Prime Minister
The Iraqi Prime Minster, Ibrahim Al Jaafari, offers readers of the Washington Post a rare insight into the workings of his mind. If I were being cynical I would say he must have given up persuading the Iraqi parliament to select him as Prime Minister for the next government and appealed over their heads, directly to the people. The American people that is. As usual with such things what is not said is as significant as what is.
He starts as a simple man:
"To this end I am humbled and honored to be chosen by my coalition to lead Iraq's first democratically elected full-term government.
My government's first challenge will be to stifle the terrorism... "
Whoa.. wait a minute there; after three months of bitter negotiations, and burning your bridges with the Kurds, and every other party not in the UIA, claiming you are the government is a little premature. Unless you are counting on the fact that you have the biggest militia, then you can assume what you like.
He then drones on for a while..
"Since I took office.. [blah blah]. I refused to marginalize the Sunni Arabs.. [drone].
Sidelining Moqtada al-Sadr's group .. was a mistake.. [zzz]"
Until we get to this little gem..
Unfortunately, we have suffered setbacks during the past year. The most troubling was the discovery of prisoner torture in an Interior Ministry jail in November. As soon as I learned of these despicable acts I formed an investigative committee made up solely of Sunni leaders, and I await its findings.
And what is he going to do when they report? Slap the Interior minister meaningfully on the wrist maybe? As anybody who knows British politics will tell you, the best way to bury an issue is to form a committee to investigate. This is not an issues of minor corruption but a bloody scandal for a government that is claiming itself to be a liberal democracy.
And finally on to economics:
The other major challenge my government will face is reviving Iraq's economy. Iraq has been drowned by decades of Baathist socialist policies that have made millions reliant on government handouts. We must encourage entrepreneurship and enterprise, while establishing adequate safety nets for the less privileged.
And here we have the crux of the problem, other than Reagan-style privatization he offers no economic program to revive Iraq. Privatization for an advanced economy like the US, UK and Japan can arguably be a good thing. But, as the past three years has shown in Iraq, a broken country in desperate need of basic reconstruction, 'entrepreneurship' and 'enterprise' are just synonyms for daylight robbery.
Iraq needs to utilize all its skills and natural wealth into rebuilding the basic infrastructure to maintain a modern economy. Any profit from privatization, at this stage, will simply be pulled out of the country to be invested where it makes more money. And if the economic policy fails in Iraq, it will slip back into the cycle of dictatorship and war.