Raed in the Middle: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 al-Jabiri says Iraqis need a political solution…
Nadim al-Jabiri is a professor of political science at Baghdad University, a member of Iraq’s parliament, and the head of the Islamic Virtue Party (Al-Fadhila).
Many Iraqis welcomed the first few steps President Bush took following the release of the Baker-Hamilton report recommendations, like pressuring Mr. Al-Maliki to include more Sunnis in the government, reconsidering the de-Baathification process, and re-evaluating the laws for distributing oil revenue. But the current Bush-Maliki plan for attacking Baghdad shows that the Baker-Hamilton report was not taken seriously enough. In fact, the new Bush-Maliki strategy is the polar opposite of that report’s major recommendations. The new Bush-Maliki plan includes sending more U.S. troops to Iraq, mostly to Baghdad, and sending more Iraqi troops, mostly from the Kurdish militia “Peshmerga,” to Baghdad.
…. this will put an end to the participation of many Iraqi groups in the ongoing political process, because people like us will lose faith in achieving our goals and getting our country back through diplomacy.
Sending the Peshmerga, the Iraqi Kurdish militia, to fight Iraqi Arabs will activate other militias and justify forming even more militias in the middle and south of Iraq. This could lead to increasing the civil violence, and might even spark an Arab-Kurd civil war that will be added to the current civil conflict that was fueled by the destruction of the Shia Shrines in Samarra in February of last year.
The current political plan of President Bush and Prime Minister al-Maliki in establishing a US-backed coalition that includes the few Shia and Sunni parties that are justifying the occupation and working to divide Iraqi into three separate regions will do nothing other than increase the violence and confirm sectarian divisions.
Maliki Stresses Urgency In Arming Iraqi Forces
By Joshua PartlowWashington Post Foreign ServiceThursday, January 18, 2007;
BAGHDAD, Jan. 17 — The Iraqi government’s need for American troops would “dramatically go down” in three to six months if the United States accelerated the process of equipping and arming Iraq’s security forces, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday. The head of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim-led government defended his country’s independence and sovereignty and called on U.S. leaders to show faith in his ability to lead…
In the interview Wednesday, Maliki said many American and Iraqi lives would have been spared if the Iraqi forces had been better equipped: a $1.5 billion military sales agreement Iraq reached with the United States last month. Under that deal, the Iraqi government will receive an additional 300 armored personnel carriers, 600 more “up-armored” Humvees, helicopters and other equipment this year, according to Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq. Iraq’s proposed 2007 budget devotes $7 billion to building up the armed forces.
Bush administration officials have long expressed concern in private about delivering military equipment to Iraq because of uncertainty that it would be kept out of the hands of militiamen, common cirminals and insurgents….
“I know President Bush and I know him as a strong person that does not get affected by the media pressure, but it seems the pressure has gone to a great extent that led to the president giving this statement,” Maliki said. Maliki spoke slowly and seriously for most of the conversation, but occasionally broke into a smile, such as when he was asked whether Bush needs him more than he needs Bush. This is an evil question,” he said, laughing.”