Iraq Trends

Iraq Trends:

Things in Iraq seem to be going better than I'd expected. The death rate has declined since the handover of the cities to Iraqi control, although that may be temporary. It would be wise of an insurgent group to take a low-level approach until they're familiar with the ISF's new procedures. I still expect to see some high-profile attacks exploiting those weaknesses once the various insurgents feel they understand the new lay of the land. Nevertheless, it's nice to see.

Meanwhile, politics continue. Iraq the Model correctly describes the debate. What I noticed back when I read Iraqi newspapers every day was that both sides of the debate -- what he calls the "Federalists" and "Nationalists" -- are using the term democracy. The Federalists claim the flag of 'consensual democracy,' which is to say, they say that giving the three major ethnic/religious groups quotas maintains everyone's consent to participate in the democracy. The Nationalists state that they want a 'democratic system,' which is to say, a more direct majority rule.

I found that the politics don't work out quite the way you'd expect. We spoke with some sheikhs who were Sunni, and you'd think they'd tend to Federalism and the protection of Sunni interests through quotas. Instead, they were strong Nationalists, because they were looking at the Arab/Kurd division in the north as the key issue for the future. They are almost certainly correct.

Sunni/Shia reconciliation appears to be proceeding, with IFCNR's plan for transitioning the Sons of Iraq being put into practice. It's one of those 'a little at a time' things, but that's how Iraq is.

Overall, having been home for a little more than a month, I'm pleased at what I see looking back. BillT, and others still there: my respects, gentlemen.

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