Stampede Catastrophe Brings Dissension

Stampede Catastrophe Brings Dissension, Unity
Bush’s polling numbers drop

A Sadrist cabinet member responded to the horrific crushing of over 1000 persons in a crowd of worshippers on its way to the Shiite shrine in Kadhimiyah by calling for the resignation of the Minister of the Interior and the Defense Minister. Interior is controlled by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a rival of the Sadrists.

Al-Zaman reports, to the contrary, that mourning the victims has become an occasion for Iraqis to come together across sectarian lines. The Sunni residents of Adhamiyah, the neighboring Sunni area, are making pledges of aid. Prime Minister Jaafari has called for a three-day period of mourning. Hard line Sunni groups such as the Association of Muslim Scholars and the Iraqi Islamic Party had expressed their condolences to the Shiite leadership.

My op-ed on the implications for Iraqi women of the new constitution is at the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Al-Zaman says that between a gasoline shortage and guerrilla predations, Mosul has become a ghost town (it is a city of over a million).

In a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, Bush’s approval numbers slipped to only 45 percent, a career low. And some 56 percent disapproved of his handling of the Iraq War. 68 percent found the rate of US casualties there unacceptable. But a majority of Americans still thinks that Bush should keep the troops there until civil order is restored. They think this because they don’t yet realize it is unlikely to happen as long as US troops are there.

Gallup asked Americans what they would tell Bush to do about Iraq if they had a few moments with the President.

I think it is clearer if we amalgamate some of the common answers.

52%: Get the troops out now; or, come up with and execute an exit strategy; or work
with the United Nations; or apologize and admit past mistakes
30%: Be more agressive, build the Iraqi military, and/or send US troops
10%: Keep doing what you are doing but explain it better

The way I read it, 52 percent wants some sort of withdrawal plan, maybe along with an apology to the Iraqis. About a third of Americans want either to send more US troops or to rapidly build up the Iraqi military. Only about 10 percent liked the status quo.

The rest had no opinion.

Herbert Docena examines the struggle between the American free-marketeers and the socialist-tending Iraqis over the shape of the Iraqi constitution. He argues that on the key issues, US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad got his neoliberal way, but that the result contrasts starkly with the desires of the Iraqi people as revealed in polls.

Warren Strobel explores Iran’s relationship with post-Saddam Iraq.

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