Thursday, April 10, 2003

Iraq Musings-This is looking to be almost too easy. The Kurds walked into Kirkuk, one of the big northern cities not part of the pre-war autonomous region. That doesn't make the Turks happy. The army forces in Mosul are negotiating surrender terms, according to CNN and the Command Post. There was a nuke facility with plutonium that the inspectors missed big-time. This peace might be more messy. Some scores might have been settled already, as a leading cleric that might have been too cozy with the old regime got hacked to death today. That sounds a bit too much like Afghanistan. What we need to aviod is the warlordism of Afghanistan. What the coalition will have to do is to slowly institute a democracy. However, it will take time to get people in place to run the country. What the US shouldn't do is find some seemingly honest and controlable Iraqi officer and put him in charge; it might take a while to set things up. What might make sence in the short term is to set up a US-run interim government in Baghdad and start to set up popularaly-elected local governments within a few months. In each town , the allies should appoint some respected members of the community with a minimum of Baathist ties to serve as town/county councils or until local elections can be held. Once the town/county councils are elected in (for instance) September, you can have each town send representatives to a constitutional convention/temporary legislature. They then can hash out a governmental structure that they can live with and set up elections to ratify the constitution and then to have regional and national elections. Such a constitution will need to have American-style checks and ballances and human rights as well as structures that would prevent it turning into a mullahocracy. There is an open question as to whether Iraq should be one country. The ethnic differences between the Kurds, Shia and Sunni factions would lend itself to a more-federal system of government. Each region could then have a local government style that would reflect local customs and desires while still abiding by basic notions of human rights. That's what should happen from this old Poli-Sci major. I'm not an expert in Iraqi sociology, but I don't think a theocracy will be the result of a free election; the Iraqi people seem a couple of notches too secular. I think a fairly free democracy can work; the big fight might well be on how Islamic the government should be and how open they will be to other religions and other world-views, with my fear being that there will be a pro-Islamic slant built into the legal system. I hope that US guidence can shoo them away from such actions; I hope that's thinking PoliSci and not Pollyanna. This process will take a year at minimum before we have an elected president or prime minister and elected national legislature. To make it work any faster will require the US to be appointing some sort of strong man.

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