Iraq: The World Wonders

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December 14, 2007: Daily oil production is back up to 2.5 million barrels a day. Iraqi bonds (issued as part of a foreign debt forgiveness deal two years ago) are up as well. The economy has been growing, in the quiet areas, since 2003. Overall, the nation is in much better shape economically, although you'd hardly know if from Western press reports. But all is not well, and much is wrong.

Moqtada al Sadr's Mahdi army has been quiet. It has not been idle. Sadr has been purging his force of unruly or disloyal elements, which has resulted in some violence. Police and U.S. troops ignored it, as it was just a bunch of Sadrs thugs killing each other. Sadr would like to produce a force of similar strength, discipline and independence as the Lebanese Hizbollah. But Sadr is not the only religious fanatic trying to impose his will on others. There are dozens of religious leaders trying to make everyone follow their vision of what Islam should be, and willing to kill those who do not comply. Now that the Sunni Arab terrorists have been beaten down, the Shia Arab fanatics have come out to kill and destroy. These thugs will kill Christians if they catch them with whiskey, and women if they catch them not wearing a veil.

Mass murderers are still out and about. Three bombs went off in the Shia city of Amara two days ago. That was unusual, but the locals soon figured it out. Shortly thereafter several police commanders were arrested and it was revealed that the three bombs, which killed over twenty people, were part of the ongoing war between the Shia Sadr and Badr militias. This sort of thing is one reason the Sunni Arabs are making peace. Students of history note that, in the past, squabbling among the Shia factions in Iraq have allowed the Sunni Arab minority to take over. Many Sunni Arabs believe it is inevitable that this will happen again. Shia Arabs are aware of this, but it is still uncertain if the Shia can get organized, stay organized and retain power. Arabs have, over the past few centuries, demonstrated a remarkable skill at self-deception, civil disorder, corruption, misrule and a general inability to get their act together. Blaming it all on foreigners has gotten old, even for a lot of Arabs. Now we have Iraq, where the foreigners took down the tyrant and offered democracy. What will the Iraqis do? The world wonders.

 

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