Monday, February 20, 2006

U.S. Envoy Warns Iraq to Unify Government

Amid talks for setting up the new Iraqi coalition government, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad issued a blunt warning urging Iraq to unify its government and said the US will not support the government if the key defense and interior ministries are allocated to sectarian politicians associated with militias.

Khalilzad said that Iraq's next Cabinet ministers, particularly those heading the Interior and Defense ministries, "have to be people who are nonsectarian, broadly acceptable and who are not tied to militias" run by political parties.

Otherwise, he warned that "Iraq faces the risk of warlordism that Afghanistan went through for a period." Khalilzad was born in Afghanistan and served as U.S. envoy there.

Khalilzad also reminded the Iraqis that the US has spent billions to build up Iraq's police and army and said "we are not going to invest the resources of the American people and build forces that are run by people who are sectarian" and tied to the militias, especially those which received "arms and training" from Iran.

It remains to be seen if Jaafari and friends get the message.

This seems like backpedaling to me. After standing by and letting a Shiite who spent the Saddam years in Iran win the presidency, the Bush Administration now seems to be hedging its bets and pushing for more high profile Sunni appointments in the government. I feel like I'm reaching here, but is this related to the Bush Administration's championing of the lucrative management by the Sunni UAE owned Dubai Ports Corporation of six busy American ports?

I think I have a glimmer of something, but I'll come back to this later.


Dan Zaremba said...

It remains to be seen if Jaafari and friends get the message.
The whole thing with the Shia majority bothered me from the beginning of the US involvement in Iraq.
All of a sudden Shia was good and Suni bad.
Mind you, it was not perhaps a bad idea to win one group against another, but then it should be consistent.
As it is now, both groups are unhappy now - as it always happens when you try to be popular with everybody.
It's hard for the US to play the Arab politics.

Freedom Fighter said...

Yeah, I hear you mate. But I think something else is in the mix...the Saudis.

I'll post more on this later, but I think Bush and Condi are trying to create a new power bloc in the Arab world.