Thursday, June 03, 2004

Playing the UN like a fiddle....

So says Canadian David Warren:
"The formal transfer of power from Paul Bremer's occupation authority to the new Iraqi government waits till the end of the month, but with the self-dissolution of the interim Iraqi Governing Council, we have witnessed an effective transfer. From now on, American advisers won't be running Iraqi ministries -- won't dare try -- and allied troops on the ground will be consulting Iraqis before launching new raids on assorted bad guys. Best of all, the region's governments, including nefarious Iran and Syria (up to their eyeballs fomenting trouble within Iraq), will know it's too late to sabotage the hand-off -- because it has already occurred, by surprise, ahead of deadline.

No one else will say this, so I will. The Bush administration has handled the transfer of power in Iraq more cleverly than anyone expected, including me. The summoning of the U.N. envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, looked like very bad news (a poisonous old Arab League chauvinist who brokered the sell-out of Lebanon to Syria in 1982). In grim moments, I believed the Bush people were cynically using him to wash their hands of Iraq, and as it were, dump the quagmire back in the swamp of the U.N. Instead, they froze the ground beneath Brahimi's feet, and skated rings around him, haggling behind his back with Iraq's new political heavyweights to leave him endorsing a fait accompli. If it were not vulgar, I would say the Bushies suckered the U.N. into signing on to the New Iraq through Brahimi. A sovereign, free Iraq which will, incidentally, have a few things to say about the U.N.'s $100-billion "oil-for-food" scam, in due course."

Interesting take, which of course fits nicely with my ever optimistic "glass-half-full" view of things. He too notes that it is too early to tell how it all works out. But so far, much better than could have reasonably been expected:
"That self-dissolved Governing Council seems to have served its purpose as a public incubator of a new Iraqi political class, wonderfully unlike those in adjoining countries. The Americans have moreover done a superb job of playing politics, intra-Iraqis: a job of horse-trading beyond anything achieved by British imperialists in the past. I didn't agree with all the dirty tricks (and especially not with the CIA's unconscionable settling of accounts with Ahmed Chalabi, getting the Iraqis to raid his headquarters to bring him down to size), but we have a presentably benign government at the end of the day."

An interesting article and well worth reading the whole thing. Hat tip to Glenn.


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