Democrats & Liberals Archives

Governing Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, just got his new government approved. Sort of. Two deputy Prime Minister posts and five ministries including defense and oil are still vacant. And only 185 assembly members out of 275 even showed up to vote. Ugly and unrepresentative as it is, though, they have a freely elected government.

Unsurprisingly, President Bush's one-time golden boy, Iranian spy, and ally of the Shiite insurgent al-Sadr, Ahmad Chalabi, got a top spot as deputy Prime Minister and acting oil minister. He's still a wanted for bank fraud and embezzlement in Jordan, so he probably won't be making any goodwill tours.

Also unsurprisingly, Chalabi's nephew - not Salem who runs the Iraqi International Law Group (your one stop shop for investing foreign capital in the "new Iraq") and is one of the lawyers trying Saddam Hussein, but one of Chalabi's other nephews - Ali, got the finance ministry.

Poor Rumsfeld. He's already been racking up frequent flyer miles, begging the Iraqi government to stop already with the nepotism, cronyism, graft, and corruption - oh, and also the government sanctioned extra-judicial killings, political detainments, and torture. And it doesn't look like it'll get much better anytime soon.

The Sunni's got screwed - again, as expected. Jaafari did include four token Sunnis in the cabinet, but they got insignificant positions like Minister of Tourism (LOL!!!) after Shiites objected to giving them the defense ministry and human rights ministry because the Sunni candidates once belonged to Saddam's Baath Party. Heh. As if Jaafari didn't know full well putting ex-Baathists in charge of human rights and defense wouldn't be controversial.

The one surprise I did have was finding that former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi decided to boycott the government because his secular Iraq List Party was only offered two ministries instead of four. I'm sure you'll hear more from him in the future. He's scrappy, just like Chalabi.

Well, it all looks like I predicted it would. The Shiites and Kurds have an understanding, the Sunnis are screwed, and fundamentalists from Islamist organizations like Dawa, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and al-Sadr's bunch are in firm control.

There are seven women in Jaafari's cabinet, but since that's an outrage in the eyes of Allah and prominent women are getting picked-off one by one (Lamia Abed Khadouri al-Sakri being only the latest of about forty high-profile Iraqi women assassinated), that probably won't last.

All in all, I'm not too impressed with the new Iraqi government's chances of becoming a liberal, free-market society. It'll be interesting to see what kind of constitution they come up with.

Posted by American Pundit at April 29, 2005 7:49 AM