Sunday, March 4, 2007

Iraq: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:

  • Prime Minister al-Maliki is reshuffeling his cabinet and will dismiss all six ministers from Sadr's party. This ontop of Sadr's retreat to Iraq and the U.S./Iraqi surge -- now on the verge of setting up permanent base in Sadr City -- is good news and shows that, despite doubts by many, myself included, al-Maliki can and is acting decisively to stop the violence convulsing the country.
  • For the second day in a row, there was only one major explosion in Baghdad.

The Bad:
  • Sunni insurgents broke into the homes of two families of an influential Sunni tribe in Youssifiyah, north of Baghdad, and executed the males. The families had taken part in a series of meetings with local Sunni and Shia leaders arranged by the U.S. to stop the violence in their town.

  • Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for kidnapping and executing 18 Iraqi policemen in retaliation for the alleged rape of a Sunni woman by members of the Iraqi police force, which woman made her accusations on Al Jazeera. The tape of the cold blooded assassination of the policemen is described on al Jazeera.

The Ugly:
  • Al-Maliki's handling of the Sunni woman's claim of rape by Iraqi security forces. Al-Maliki, the day after the woman aired her charge on Al Jazeera television, announced an investigation, but the day after announced that her "rape claim was fabricated to tarnish the reputation of the police and the security crackdown in Baghdad." I agree with Maliki that the rape charges, carried nationally on television, struck me as having all of the indicies of a legitimate claim as does the Duke rape case -- and its timing coinciding with the surge was just too coincidental. Nonetheless, dismissing the claim without investigation was far too ham handed. He should have authorized a real investigation and waited until its conclusion, and then announced the results in detail to the country. What he has done instead opens him up to portrayal as a partisan -- the last thing he needs at this point.

Read more here.

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