Friday, February 21, 2003

I've learned a great deal about our preparations for war by reading Den Beste's blog USS Clueless. His latest entry includes three sentences about our preparations for peace afterwards.

Plans for the administration of Iraq after the war are maturing. We won't be turning control over to the exiles immediately. We also won't be turning it over to the UN or to "allies". The first sentence of that paragraph is also a link to a Washington Post article about our plans for a post war Iraqi government. We are going to put Americans in charge. Some people might be worry if the Iraqi's will go along with this, but that's already been taken care of, as per the last paragraph of the Washington Post article.

'A similar anxiety led to the decision to prohibit the Iraqi opposition based outside the country from forming a provisional government. The chief proponent of that idea, Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, was informed this week that any move to declare a provisional Iraqi government "would result in a formal break in the U.S.-INC relationship," the official said.'

So that's taken care of. We all know no ethnic group of Iraqi's will cross that line in the sand.

And yet, some Kurds released this basic plan along with a reaction to it a few days before our government announced it to the post. I blogged on it and linked to the article in the British newspaper Independent here.

At least we've decided what kind of government we're going to put into place in advance. Now lets think harder about how we're going to do it. We could at least have gotten one of the two main groups of Kurds to go along with us by offering them something. Perhaps we're too idealistic to play them off against each other like Saddam did - but I'm not sure dictating to them by fiat will require less harsh meaures in the long run. Iran has already said they will start issuing fatwa's against us if we're there more than a couple of weeks. They have adherents among some of the Shia. We should start negotiating with other groups of Shia immediately, offering some role in the new government if they will provide a counterweight. The more material prosperity they have, the more they will have to lose under harsh Sharia law. Saddam is a Sunni. The Sunni would seem a tough sell, but if we can make ourselves their protector against the Shia they will have little choice but to align themselves with us - they are a minority, about 20 percent of the population. Maybe we should start finding out which Shia leaders might be able and willing to cooperate in all this. Yea, I know, our troops will do it all, but there are many more of them than of us.

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