Four GIs Killed
Khamenei Praises Iraq Constitution
Guerrilla violence killed 4 US GIs on Friday, three west of Baghdad and one at Heet (Hit).
Iran’s Supreme Jurisprudent, Ali Khamenei, on Friday praised Iraq’s constitution as “blessed,” praised the constitutional referendum, and looked forward to Iraqis going to the polls again on December 15. The Iranians generally dismiss US threats and posturing, whereas they saw the Taliban and Saddam as genuine enemies. The Iranians are still worried about a revival of the secular Arab nationalist Baath Party.
Tom Lasseter of Knight Ridder says that the passage of the constitution may not halt Iraq’s slide into civil war and partition. (Since the Sunni Arabs overwhelmingly rejected it, the charter is at the very least not a force for national unity!) He quotes a US official saying, “Maybe they just have to have their civil war” and commenting that it is a “way of life” “over here.”
I see. So the US invades Iraq, overthrows the government, dissolves the army, appoints an ethnically determined government, backs fundamentalist Shiite parties and Kurdish parties against the interests of the Sunni Arabs. And now it is the Iraqis’ fault that there is communal violence, because they are just like that “over here.” Well, you can’t say that Orientalist stereotypes aren’t at least useful as fig leafs for imperial SNAFUs.
Shahin M. Cole observed today, “Partition is the consequence of failed colonialism.”
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa held with the Association of Muslim Scholars, a hard line Sunni religious party, in an attempt to convince them to attend a national reconciliation conference. They issued the same demands that they have all along, and I don’t see much progress, though Moussa suggested there had been some.
Karen Hughes continues to be a world-class embarrassment as W.’s ambassador to the Muslim world. She insisted in Indonesia that Saddam had gassed “hundreds of thousands” of Iraqis. He did gas some Iraqis, which is horrible, but it wasn’t to that extent. The figure for 300,000 Iraqi civilians dead during his presidency is one of those political numbers that a) would be almost impossible to prove, b) probably includes deaths caused by the Iran-Iraq War, which isn’t exactly the same as Saddam having people taken out and shot, and c) is anyway mainly symbolic of the correct conviction that he caused a lot of death and destruction.