September 23, 2004
$3.4 billion out of the
$18.4 billion allocated for Iraq's reconstruction by
the US Congress has been shifted to security improvement, highlighting the ineffectiveness
of re-Ba'athification and Allawi's amnesty to insurgents.
The violent hotspot of Fallujah is an example where
both tactics have been tried and failed, as it continues
to be host to foreign militant Wahabis, Ba'athists and
kidnappers. Despite the clear failure of these policies,
some in the British Foreign Office are still calling
for more power to be returned to a minority 'elite',
or as one official called them, "Traditional pillars of power."
Despite encouraging comments
by interim Prime Minister Allawi, President Bush, and Prime Minister Blair that Iraq's elections will be
held by the January deadline regardless of the security
situation, rumors in Iraq are that these reassurances
are for the American public readying for their presidential
elections in November and a delay will be announced
once US elections are over. If the rumors prove to be
true, and delays in the January elections are announced
after November 2nd, it could trigger a real crisis across
Iraq. When UN election experts concluded earlier this
year that elections could be held by December of January,
Sayyid Sistani accepted their findings and has been
patient on the issue. It would be a grave mistake to
disappoint the majority of Iraqi society that has remained
peaceful and patient in the anticipation of free elections
just because a tiny minority is bent on stopping Iraq's
first democratic steps.
Hostage takers of two Americans and a British man made the strange demand that all female
prisoners in Iraq be released. So far the Americans
have been ruthlessly beheaded, and the third man's fate is uncertain.
It is likely that such an ultimatum was made in an attempt
to win public support in Iraq since the Wahabi terrorists,
who have carried out similar executions and bombings
against civilians, are deeply resented by most Iraqis.
A less likely yet more harrowing explanation is that
these terrorists are seeking the expertise of Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax to develop chemical or biological
bombs. Should the demands be repeated in future hostage
takings then the latter may prove to be more likely.