Monday, August 30, 2004

When Your Friends Say It...

In the Comments on Salam Pax's new blog, I encountered the Alphabetcity blogger, who, judging from his links and news references, is a true neocon. S/He was incredulous when I mentioned the rigging of the recent National Convention in Iraq. You remember, when selected rather than elected delegates - selected to give Interim Governing Council parties a majority, and with some hundred more delegates thrown in in the last minute because they were not even territorially representative - had to vote for a list of 81 delegates into a permanent committee, rather than vote on them individually, with the remaining 19 unelected members being the ex-IGC members.

Now, in a Christian Science Monitor article that concludes from interviews in Baghdad that Muqtada al-Sadr came out strenghtened from the Second Najaf Battle (see UPDATE to the article below), a US-friendly Iraqi political activist had this comment:

"A small organized minority is more effective than an unorganized majority," says Ghassan Atiyyah, head of the Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy in Baghdad. "The question for the government is this: What have they offered the silent majority to get them involved in politics? They had the National Conference, and they squandered it. Instead of showing what the future of Iraqi democracy could look like, they played the same game of ruling party politics."

Meanwhile, Salam was in Sadr City, and reports that the Americans are continuing with their provocations (his word!):

What I saw there can only be described as a provocation. Sadr City is not just surrounded by American tanks but they seem to have cut it off the rest of the city. I was trying to get to the big square with the huge Sadr portraits but there was no way to get around the Americans. I had to stay in the outer quadrants moving along the inner streets and asking people which way in. We got to a street where it looked OK to film, No American troops in sight and no groups of frowning young Sadr dudes...

...Why do I think the American presence today is like poking a stick into a hornets nest? because many of the Mahdi guys will be coming back whipped and feeling they have wasted three weeks and what do they find when they get home? More Americans at their doorsteps. Not just a couple of tanks, but totally surrounding the center of the district. Am I surprised that there was a fire exchange? Not really.


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