Saturday, May 29, 2004


Background - Post-invasion Climate

Exactly a year ago, in May, 2003 a month after the fall of Baghdad, I wrote:

The Problem

It is natural to assume that a typical Iraqi holds two conflicting feelings:
• A feeling of gratitude to the U.S.A. and the U.K. for ridding the country of a brutally oppressive regime which most Iraqis believe that it would not have been possible (or even imaginable) to overthrow without the military intervention of the U.S.A.
• A feeling of resentment at the presence of a foreign military power and the visible occupation of the country by a foreign army. This presence offends deeply held convictions of nationalism and pride.

The passage of time will only tilt the balance towards the second feeling.

One can safely assume that it is the intention of the coalition to establish a democracy in Iraq. But any government installed by the coalition, no matter how sincere, will be viewed with suspicion as a puppet regime.

Furthermore, the political vacuum at present in Iraq, which is a result of active policy of the past regime, means that there are no widely accepted, credible and independent public figures readily available. The new political parties, now mushrooming, need some time to organize themselves and formulate their programs.

Also, it is almost certain that the present security situation can be ultimately brought under control through the deployment of military/police forces to maintain law and order. In the longer term though, this is bound to lead to more popular resentment!

It is in the long-term interest of both the coalition and Iraq for the coalition to retain the good will of the Iraqi people.

It is therefore of paramount importance that the U.S. administration establishes, as quickly as possible, a truly democratic government.

A year later, I still stand by those words except for the assumption that “…it is the intention of the coalition to establish a democracy in Iraq”!

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