Monday, December 10, 2007

Iraq moving toward a failed state

As Iraq moves closer to a failed state, the Iraqi Parliament takes another vacation.  This Iraqi government is a joke, but I believe that a few MPs have the potential to become real leaders.  I hope they step up before it's too late.
The U.S. troop buildup has brought down violence, but that has failed to spark cooperation among politicians. If anything, the country appears more balkanized into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.
By Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 10, 2007
BAGHDAD -- The U.S. troop buildup in Iraq was meant to freeze the country's civil war so political leaders could rebuild their fractured nation. Ten months later, the country's bloodshed has dropped, but the military strategy has failed to reverse Iraq's disintegration into areas dominated by militias, tribes and parties, with a weak central government struggling to assert its influence.

In the south, Shiite Muslim militias are at war over the lucrative oil resources in the Basra region. To the west, in Anbar province, Sunni Arab tribes that once fought U.S. forces now help police the streets and control the highways to Jordan and Syria. In the north, Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens are locked in a battle for the regions around Kirkuk and Mosul. In Baghdad, blast walls partition neighborhoods policed by Sunni paramilitary groups and Shiite militias.
"Iraq is moving in the direction of a failed state, a highly decentralized situation -- totally unplanned, of course -- with competing centers of power run by warlords and militias," said Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group. "The central government has no political control whatsoever beyond Baghdad, maybe not even beyond the Green Zone."

The capital's Green Zone mirrors the chaos outside. Once the base of Saddam Hussein's dictatorial regime, it is now the seat of Iraq's fractured and dysfunctional representative government. The U.S. troop buildup was intended to help Iraq's national leaders overcome differences and give them space to pass compromise measures to end the country's sectarian war, but lawmakers remain divided and continue to harbor suspicions about each other's motives.

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