23 May 2006
Iraqis taking charge, but not as Blair wants
This is a good laugh. Tony Blair flew into Baghdad and claimed that the "Iraqi people [are] able to take charge of their own destiny and write the next chapter of Iraqi history themselves".
He is quite right, for once, as the Iraqis have divied up the government ministries into warring fiefdoms where death-squads rule the streets. Baghdad itself is so dangerous for the occupiers that Blair couldn't spend the night there: he had to be whisked in and out by helicopter, such is the fear of the guerrilla forces.
The Americans have given up any hope of defeating the Iraqis and are now floating the idea of containment to try and prevent them from taking over. The idea is to retreat to the new superbases, but how they do that and still remain able to maintain their day to day control over the puppet forces is anyone's guess. If they can answer that question, the aim would probably be to hold Baghdad and the oil lines. The guerrillas would have the rest.
The usual gang that could be expected to support the West's aims, the local middle class, are fleeing the country as fast as they can. They were about the only hope for a secular, capitalist Iraq, and and that hope visibly fades with each aircraft that takes off from Baghdad airport. Soon the country will be left to the nationalist guerrillas in its Sunni heartland and feuding militias in the Shia zone.
The Iraqis are certainly taking charge of their own destiny, and they will not establish the state that Blair wants.