Iraq: February 26, 2004


Shia leaders in the south have, as expected, agreed to not oppose the changes (still vague) in the Iraqi government come July 1st. The "return of Iraqi sovereignty" on July 1st has yet to be clearly defined. The Shia want an election, but even the UN agrees that there is not enough time to run the census and voter registration required for a vote before the end of June. Now the Shia are demanding elections before the end of the year. All of this is typical Iraqi demagoguery. In other words, ask for the impossible, and then blame those in charge if they don't deliver. Three decades of Saddam made it impossible for Iraqis to complain, so now they are trying to catch up. This aspect of the culture gap between Americans and Iraqis takes some getting used to. American troops and civilian aid workers develop an immunity to the rhetoric. But most people back in the United States are simply baffled at what Iraqis are thinking.


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