Sunday, April 02, 2006

Rice and Straw Visit Iraq...To Help???

The continuing disaster that is the new Iraqi government is now being pressured to "straighten shit out" with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paying a visit to the squabbling politicians in an effort to avoid a civil war. Google News UK Times excerpt:

JACK STRAW and Condoleezza Rice flew unexpectedly from Liverpool to Baghdad yesterday to try to break the deadlock in forming a government of national unity that could halt Iraq’s slide towards civil war.

The unprecedented joint visit of the British Foreign Secretary and US Secretary of State added to the pressure on Ibrahim Jaafari, Iraq’s Shia Prime Minister, to stand down. Kurdish and Sunni leaders have refused to join any cabinet he heads, and his position looked increasingly precarious as prominent Shias also began demanding his resignation over the weekend.

Mr Straw and Dr Rice’s intervention came after four months of fruitless negotiations between the political blocs elected to the Iraqi parliament last December, and with escalating sectarian violence filling the political vacuum.

“We’re going to urge that the negotiations be wrapped up,” Dr Rice told reporters during the flight. “The Iraqi people are losing patience . . . You can’t continue to leave a political vacuum.”

Neither she nor Mr Straw called openly for Mr Jaafari’s resignation, but neither did they offer support to a man regarded by Sunnis and Kurds as ineffective and too close to Shia militias.

Asked if they wanted Mr Jaafari to go, Dr Rice did not answer. Mr Straw responded: “We will recognise and respect whoever emerges as the leader.”

Dr Rice’s body language as she shared a photocall with Mr Jaafari was distinctly frosty, and she later lunched with the man most widely tipped as the alternative leader – Vice-President Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Dr Rice was careful not to give the appearance of interfering in Iraqi politics, at least in public. She said (apparently with a straight face): “This is in many ways a time of testing for the Iraqi nation and for the Iraqi people and they need a government that can act on their behalf.” Western officials said nothing about what was discussed between the ministers and politicians in private, but insisted that decisions about Iraqi politics were only for Iraqis to take.

What an incredible crock of shit. Of course Rice wants Jaafari to go, because that is what Bush wants. Forget the idiotic notion that now that Saddam has been removed and the Iraqis had their famed elections, when the President of the United States can say "We support democracy, but that doesn't mean we have to support governments that get elected as a result of democracy", it means that we, as a democracy have jumped the shark. But then again, we shouldn't expect anything less from the man who also said "A dictatorship would be easier, as long as I'm the dictator."

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