International Affairs Middle East — 03 November 2006

The US involvement in building a new political setup in Iraq has been a failure from day one. The governments led by Ibrahim al Jafar or Nour al Maliki have failed in governing or providing much needed security to the Iraqi people. Nour al Maliki has failed to deal with the security situation in Baghdad – the situation has deteriorated even more under his short tenure than what one saw under Ibrahim al Jafar, regarded as a failure by many Iraqis.

Nour al Maliki has been at the centre of much criticism from the US administration and the neoconservatives, who are clearly unhappy with how things are unfolding in Iraq. The level of insecurity is threatening US economic and strategic interests in Iraq and the wider Persian Gulf. In addition, the Iraqi quagmire is preventing the US dealing with other regional security concerns such as Iran and Syria. The US has therefore much to lose if the situation in Iraq persists. In response to the need to rectify the terrible situation in Iraq, it has been reported that the US has been holding secret meetings with senior officials from the Iraqi military behind the Iraqi government’s back, with the hope of engineering an internal coup to bring about governmental change in Iraq. This would remove Nour al Maliki and bring forward someone else who the US believes would be better able to deal with the chaos in Iraq. No one knows who this person is but the US has a history of pulling someone out of the hat to do its work, Hamid Karazai in Afghanistan is a case in point.

This backdoor planning by the US makes it clear that the US is not really interested and will not be interested in allowing the Iraqi government to function of its own accord. This destroys the myth that the Iraqi state has political sovereignty, a line constantly pushed by the US administration post Saddam and post the December 2005 elections. It is also valid to emphasise that blaming of Nour al Maliki for the lawlessness and chaos in Iraq conveniently deflects attention from the role the US has played in the bloodshed we witness in Iraq. Sir Richard Dannatt from the British military recently linked foreign military presence in Iraq to the escalating level of violence in Iraq but such comments are brushed aside and the US and British government, who continue to direct criticism at the Iraqi government.
The outlook for Iraq appears dismal. Even if a new government is put in place by the US, the root cause of the crisis – the military occupation – needs to end, allowing an opportunity for the Iraqi people to determine their own political future. The gathering of Iraqi Islamic scholars and political leaders recently in Mecca, Saudi Arabia indicates their desire to resolve the problems facing Iraq but are disabled while the occupation continues. The end of the occupation will no doubt act as a source of Iraqi political empowerment allowing a path of political self determination to be constructed, providing a platform to lead Iraq out of the mess it is in at the moment.

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