Al-Zaman: Good Riddance to Rumsfeld
Osman: Abu Ghraib scandal should have required his Resignation
The Times of Baghdad [al-Zaman] editorializes in the third person on the resignation of US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday thusly:
‘ The political editor of Al-Zaman welcomes the resignation of the American Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He said in his commentary today that the departure of Rumsfeld is unlamented, and might be a small source of pleasure to the wounded Iraqi people who suffered from Rumsfeld’s policies and the crimes of his aides.
The time has come for those whom Rumsfeld installed in some positions of influence in Iraq to discover that they are victims of the same fate as their master. Everyone should read the signs of joy in Iraq after the announcement of the departure of a politician whose name is linked to the most heinous crimes, which began with the scandal of Abu Ghraib prison and ended with his unleashing of death squads and criminals to disrupt the security of Iraq. His crimes also included dissolving one of the oldest armies in the region, for the most part made up of brave patriots, as a preparation for the partition and tearing apart of Iraq.
Rumsfeld’s fall is an announcement of the fall of those who served him on earth, whether Iraqis or others, who are dividing up the country on the chopping block of their regional ambitions, and who are shedding the blood of Iraqis, which is flowing from one of Iraq’s mighty rivers to the other. ‘
Another article in the same newspaper speaks of Rumsfeld being fired by Bush rather than resigning.
Mahmud Osman, a prominent Kurdish politician, said that Rumsfeld should have resigned a long time ago, when the Abu Ghraib torture scandal broke in 2004.
Salih Mutlak, a secular Sunni politician with a Baath background who heads the National Dialogue Front (11 seats) in parliament, said that Rumsfeld’s resignation is a sign of the awakening of the American conscience. He told AFP that American officials should now recognize that the political process in Iraq has failed to the same degree as Rumsfeld has failed. He added that the US administration must recognize that the politicians who head up the Iraqi government have lied to Washington, which should dump them.
The Iraqi newspaper also reports on human rights lawyers in the US who are urging that Rumsfeld be prosecuted for war crimes.
Basim Sharif of the Virtue Party (a Sadrist offshoot especially powerful in Basra), recognized that changing a cabinet secretary does not necessarily produce a change in over-all policy.
Iraqis mostly seem to hope that a new secretary of defense will find a way to stop the bombings and shootings that kill so many of their nationals every day. The Sadrists, Shiite nationalists who have long called for the departure of American troops, took heart from indications that the American people also want to see their troops come out of Iraq:
‘ “The vote shows the Iraqi and American people are of one mind about withdrawing U.S. troops,” said Falah Hassan Shanshal, who leads the parliamentary bloc of radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
“We hope the Democrats don’t forget their campaign promises. If they don’t, we will deal with them in a brotherly way once the last American soldier pulls out from Iraq,” he said. ‘
I am afraid there may be a great deal of disappointment and even more anger when the Iraqis gradually realize that Gates cannot provide security either. It is not clear, either, that the Democrats can bring the troops home any time soon. Disappointment and anger in Iraq turn into violence.
Speaking of which, Baghdad was the scene of several bloody bombings and mortar shell attacks on Wednesday.
The people of Adhamiyah pleaded [Ar.] with the Iraqi government to intervene to stop the continual mortar shell attacks against them. (Adhamiyah is a mostly Sunni Arab district of Baghdad).
Al-Zaman also reports that the collapse of state institutions and militia violence in the southern port of Basra may threaten oil exports from the city. Raad al-Khudayri, and oil analyst, asks who is going to invest in Iraq under present circumstances and warns that the gradual collapse of state institutions could endanger exports for the next few years.
Ed Harriman argues that Iraq is now the least transparent and most corrupt regime in the world.