Friday, August 3, 2007

Depressed yet?

If not, this from CNN for Wednesday will undoubtedly help in that direction.

Upset over being "marginalized," Iraq's largest Sunni political bloc Wednesday made good on a threat to leave the Cabinet.

The move, which will likely further cripple the embattled Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, came on the same day as a wave of bombings shook Baghdad and left dozens of people dead.

The Iraqi Accord Front has been critical of legislative stalemates and the failure to achieve national reconciliation, a key U.S. benchmark for Iraq, and it warned last week that it would pull its six Cabinet ministers.
Another resignation could follow: Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi is also from a member group of the Iraq Accord Front and he's expected to submit his resignation to the bloc, which will decide whether he should remain in office.

It occurs to me that there are undoubtedly some who will be cheered rather than depressed by the news, figuring that anything that leads to the downfall of the "US puppet government" in Baghdad is good news. I actually disagree that the Iraqi government is a true "puppet" of the US, although it clearly is heavily dependent on it and won't stray too far. But while all the main factions within the government (note that I am not talking about the public at large) want the US to stay, they want it for different and to some extent contradictory reasons: The Sunnis regard the US military as their bulwark against Shia attacks and oppression. The Shias are concerned that if the US withdraws, the government they dominate (and thus their institutional power) will collapse. And the Kurds figure those troops are a guarantee against Arab attacks undermining their autonomy.

More to the point, personally, I have a hard time thinking of even greater chaos in a country already measured as the second most unstable in the world (behind only Sudan) as a good thing. Maybe it looks good from a distant political perspective - but I doubt that perspective is shared by the Iraqis who would have to live with the result.