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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 10:36 AM
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Iraq's Electoral Cul-de-sac
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/21109 /

Iraq's Electoral Cul-de-sac

By Dilip Hiro, Tomdispatch.com. Posted January 29, 2005.


Iraq's National Assembly poll on Jan. 30 is already set to become but the latest in a series of "turning points" touted by the Bush administration, which in reality turn out to be cul-de-sacs. Starting with Saddam Hussein's arrest in December 2003, each of Washington's rosy scenarios in which a diminution of violence is predicted and a path to success declared has turned to dust. These include the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis on June 28, 2004, the "Iraqification" of the country's security apparatus (an ongoing theme), and the recapture of Fallujah, described as the prime font of the Sunni insurgency, last November.

Instead of dampening resistance to the Anglo-American occupation, the arrest of Saddam, who was at the time still projected by Washington as the primary source of the growing insurgency, exacerbated it. With the prospect of Saddam's return to power finally dead and gone, Shiites began to focus on the latter part of a popular slogan of the time: "No, no to Saddam; No, no to America." The result the Shiite uprisings of April 2004.

The highly publicized rushed note Condoleezza Rice slipped to President Bush at the NATO summit in Istanbul on June 28, 2004 "Mr President, Iraq is sovereign. Letter was passed from Bremer at 10:26 a.m. Iraq time" turned into a sick joke quickly enough when Iyad Allawi, the Interim Prime Minister of "sovereign Iraq," repeatedly called in American forces to curb the guerrillas. The Pentagon's routine use of fighter-bombers and attack helicopters to strike against the insurgents in urban areas soon enough defeated its own campaign to win Iraqis' "hearts and minds."

Dismal failure also greeted and continues to greet Washington's claims about the successful Iraqification of local security forces. Six months of relentless efforts and constant announcements of further intensification, further speeding up of the process have so far produced only 5,000 trained and dependable Iraqi soldiers for a prospective 120,000-strong army. In the meantime, a third of the 135,000 policemen on the payrolls never even report for duty. Of those who do, only half are properly trained or armed. Time and again, instead of fighting the guerrillas, most police officers either defected or fled.

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