Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Who to trust, pt. 2

Here's the Wall Street Journal analysis of the Chalabi mess. The Journal's insight: "We think Mr. Chalabi is a pawn in a much larger battle that is strategic, ideological and personal." Most disturbing is this observation:

The ideological battle concerns Iraq's future governance. As a secular Shiite, Mr. Chalabi has sought to make an alliance with Grand Ayatollah Sistani and other moderate Shiite leaders. This puts him at odds with Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. special envoy to Iraq, as well as with the neighboring Arab leaders who are wary of control by the Shiite majority.

Jordan's King Abdullah, a longtime Chalabi enemy who is close to Mr. Brahimi, has already called for another Sunni strongman to run Iraq. Mr. Bremer and the Bush Administration have handed control over the June 30 transition to Iraqi sovereignty to Mr. Brahimi, and one of his demands is that Mr. Chalabi be frozen out.

The Bush Administration is doing entirely too much kowtowing to the UN and other Arab states. If it did not have reelection considerations, my hope is that the administration would have less UN and Jordanian input (King Abdullah has previously said that Iraq needs a Saddamesque strong man and Jordan was on the wrong side of Gulf War I). The UN is NOT fundamentally pro-democracy and no Arab or Muslim state other than Turkey has a functioning democratic government. Nonetheless, I think Pres. Bush is STILL trying to appease Arab rulers, Europeans and UN-philes -- a completely hopeless task.

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