Monday, November 27, 2006

Leadership in Iraq: The Great Mystery

The control of the country of Iraq seems to be in flux. For a long period of time, the country was ruled by an evil dictator. But as anyone in Iraq will tell you, under that dictator there was electricity, water, food, and relative peace. Suicide bombings and death squads were not the daily norm. But all that was shattered when the United States decided that the evil dictator had to go. Now the leadership situation in Iraq is a mess of a mystery.
Iraqis have had two major elections since the fall of Saddam. The first was to elect a temporary government that would write a constitution and set-up government services again. The second was a larger election to elect a president, prime minister, and a parliament. And all of these things have done nothing to stabilize the country. The things that existed under Saddam are no longer there for most Iraqis. They were destroyed by an invading army. And since no one is quit sure who leads Iraq, nothing is being done about it.
The leadership of Iraq seems to be a war between two major players. I'm not talking about the "sects" of Islam in the country. I'm referring to the President and the Prime Minister that were both elected by the people. Now whoever had the idea to have both a president and prime minister I do not know. That person is mighty stupid. These two officials seem to have polar opposite ideas about who to talk to and who to work with about governing Iraq.
The President of Iraq is a man named Jalal Talabani. As mentioned before, he was elected by the people of Iraq. However, Talabani's meetings with the President of Iran have not set well with the American leadership. Our distrust of Iraq's neighbor has carried over into how we feel about Iraq's newly elected leaders. We do not think these talks should occur. Iran has said it wants to "take a more active role in Iraq's future." And the only reason people think this is a bad idea is because it has gotten in their heads that Iran = Terrorism. I wonder where they got that idea? Couldn't be from our "Axis of Evil" hating president. But the talks continue even if the US disagrees. I say, what right do we have to tell the elected officials of Iraq how to govern their country? If they want to have a trade relationship with their neighbors, we need to get over it. There is really nothing we can do about. But "W" is trying. He has his own Iraqi official.
The Prime Minister of Iraq is Nuri al-Maliki. He has not visited the leaders of Iran or Syria and instead runs to the nearest US official whenever they are in the region. This week, the PM is meeting with President Bush in Jordan. It is unclear what the talks with Bush are suppose to accomplish for Iraq. The United States is doing nothing but trying to stop an endless insurgency in Iraq and babysitting a civil war. If anything, these talks show that it is not clear who has control of Iraq and who is making the decisions. Something that is vitally important to a democracy is clear leadership. With this divided meeting, Iraq does not have this key element.
The United States needs to back-off the political dealings of Iraq. If they want to make friends in the region, they need to talk to their neighbors. If they want to be seen as more than a US puppet government, they need to have a clear leader. The PM is obviously not that leader. It seems to me that the President of Iraq is making more headway in the political process. As I have said before, if Iraq has to make a deal with Iran and Syria to stop the insurgency, then let that deal happen. Otherwise this war will never end.

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