For the past year and a half, I’ve followed U.S. efforts in Iraq for the Foreign Policy Association. We always predicted a bumpy road for the nascent democracy in post-American Iraq, but even I wouldn’t have guessed at the tumultuous instability currently rocking the country. To put things in perspective, I’ve compiled a brief timeline:
Sunday, December 18: In the pre-dawn hours, the last American soldier leaves Iraq… after nine tumultuous years spent battling insurgency, and engaged in reconstruction and nation-building.
Monday, December 19: Hours after the final U.S. convoy crosses into Kuwait, Nouri al-Maliki’s hardline Shi’a government surprised international observers upon announcement that an arrest warrant had been issued for his Vice President, the prominent Sunni politician, Tareq al-Hashemi. ALSO, Saleh al-Mutlak’s al-Iraqiya bloc (the party of Hashemi and Ayad Allawi, the man who almost saved Iraq) quit parliament, labeling Maliki a “dictator” for increasing political marginalization at all levels.
Wednesday, December 21: Having tracked down Hashemi in semi-autonomous Kurdistan, Maliki demands his return to face prosecution. Maliki also threatened to purge his government of all officials who refuse to work with him.
Thursday, December 22: A dozen coordinated explosions in Baghdad kill more than sixty people — the first major violence since the U.S. military completed its pull-out.
If I put on my analyst’s hat, it’s pretty obvious that what’s happening in Iraq, in the days since U.S. withdrawal. Maliki is very comfortable playing sectarian politics, shielded by the authority of parliamentary majority. The opposition’s decision to quit the field will only secure his grasp on power. Meanwhile, Sunni insurgents are anxious to demonstrate that the government does not enjoy that old Weberian chestnut… a legitimate monopoly on the means of violence within the country.
What’s most alarming to me is the fact that with every disenfranchised Sunni and alienated Kurd in parliament, Maliki makes himself and his fellow Shi’as gradually more reliant on their friendly neighbors to the East.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?