Essential reading from Michael Rubin on what the post-election period is likely to bring. Rubin, who has been on the ground in Baghdad, doesn't minimize the problems, but he isn't throwing up his hands in despair:
While news-agency stringers can always find an Iraqi who will play to the cameras and demand the Yankees go home, the majority want the Americans to stay. Most pundits and academics who suggest the Iraqis will demand an immediate withdrawal have likely never been to Iraq and are more often than not voicing their own prejudices or basing their informed comment on rote repetition of Arabic newspapers. Most Iraqi politicians quite specifically say they would welcome a continued American presence subject to a Status of Forces
Agreement such as the Pentagon retains with countries like Turkey, South Korea,
the Philippines, and Germany. The issue is less American troop presence than
Time, says Rubin, to let the Iraqis take the reins. The Green Zone may have to go, and de-Baathification will be back on the agenda:
... Iraqis trace the downturn in the security situation to the April 2004 Coalition Provisional Authority reversal of de-Baathification. Many American diplomats will be tempted to resist such changes. One senior embassy official confided that reintegration of former Baathists has become a mantra among Green Zone diplomats. Many of these embassy employees stake out positions without having to face the consequence of their actions. If they travel outside the Green Zone, they do so in armored cars amid military convoys. Ordinary people do suffer the consequence of unrealistic diplomatic theory.

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/what-next-essential-reading-from.html|||1/29/2005 09:35:00 am|||||||||