Iraq: November 14, 2003


In response to the continued attacks, the American strategy of turning security work over to Iraqis is to be speeded up. Administrative power may be turned over to Iraqis as early as next June. This was avoided in the past because once coalition troops leave, the risk of civil war remains. The Iraqi majority (Shias and Kurds) have to be strong enough to defeat a Sunni takeover attempt. Putting a lot of untrained and unscreened (for corrupt and pro-Baath Party attitudes) Iraqis into the police or security forces increases the chances that many of these men will turn into warlord militias and fuel a civil war. Baath Party leaders believe that Sunni Arabs can regain power this way. Baath has billions of dollars in cash and thousands of tons of weapons. Many Iraqis are willing to fight for cash, especially using tactics that emphasize ambush, remote controlled weapons and generally avoiding close contact with armed American troops. But after coalition troops are gone, Iraqis will have no problem going after each other if the central government does not have enough troops, police and popular support to defend itself. But the coalition casualties are unpopular back home. Americans and other foreigners don't want to be in the middle of an Iraqi civil war, or the idea of spending money to rebuild a nation sitting on trillions of dollars of oil. Foreigners are now seeing up close why Iraqis have a hard time governing themselves, or avoiding tyrants from taking over. There are too many Iraqis who do not believe in rule of law and democracy, and too many who are in favor of rule of the strongest. Corruption, lack of personal responsibility and the popularity of conspiracy theories have created a certain distaste for Iraqis among many coalition troops. 

Northern Iraq is becoming more troublesome because there are so many different ethnic and religious groups there, and tensions have always existed. Christians, different types of Moslems, plus Arabs, Kurds and more ancient peoples all cling to their unique cultures, and their guns and hostile attitudes towards others. Extremists in these groups are making attacks on others, and more Iraqi police are needed to keep the lid on.


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