Jaafari Rethinks Debaathification 23

Jaafari Rethinks Debaathification
23 Killed in Violence

Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari caused a major stir with a speech on Monday that seemed to back off the policy of debaathification or the exclusion from high office of former Baath civilian and military officials. Some Shiite parliamantarians were furious. At the same time, Jaafari has been under enormous pressure to find ways of bringing the Sunni Arabs into the government. Most seasoned and capable Sunni Arab leaders, whether civilian or military, had been Baath Party members or had some close connection to the party.

Bombings and attacks killed another 23 persons and wounded many more on Monday.

Iraqi press freedom is being extensively curtailed, according to Knight Ridder.

‘ . . . a weekly newspaper was shut down in October for criticizing the governor of the Wasit province. A judge related to the governor sentenced two editors to several months in prison, Sarraj said. The court papers accused the men of “cursing and insulting” the politician.’

This Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article argues that Iraqi women parliamentarians are networking and are significant. But the evidence he gives is that the women are deeply divided over the issue of implementing Islamic law, and that they are ethnically diverse. It is hard to see how simply networking in parliament, in the absence of decision-making posts, can represent a big advance for them.

The US has managed to turn Iraq into a major terrorist training camp, analogous to Afghanistan in the 1990s.

James Carroll of the Boston Globe argues that the impulse for revenge should be stifled in Iraq.