In its desperate rush to get a draft constitution to the Iraqi National Assembly by the Monday’s 12 midnight deadline, (About three hours from this post.) the US is apparently willing to endorse an Islamic government in Baghdad, this according to Dexter Filkins in the NYT.
He writes that US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has brokered a tentative agreement on designating Islam as “a main source of legislation.” The agreement would “prohibit the passing of any legislation that contradicted Islam’s fixed principles.”
Another Shiite provision, backed by Khalilzad, would “relegate marriage and family matters to adjudication by clerics.” These Shiite demands for religious authority trumping the government are the same sticking points that lead to the delay in delivering the draft in the first place.
Last Tuesday, Filkins reported that Shiite negotiators at the last moment had renewed their call for their “religious leadership, called the Marjariya…[to] be declared independent of the Iraqi government. ‘The government should not interfere in our affairs,’ Sheik Khalid al-Atiyya, [said] a prominent Shiite member of the constitutional committee. It appears the US now agrees with him.
[Last week, the FT reported Iraq’s tribal leaders within the Assembly were also trying to enshrine Iraqi tribal law in the constitution, which, besides severely limiting the rights of women, would also bring back the 14th century.]
No worries, at least woman will still have the right to vote.
On Face the Nation on Sunday, Reuel Marc Gerecht brushed off worries about these developments.
"Actually, I'm not terribly worried about this. I mean, one hopes that the Iraqis protect women's social rights as much as possible. It certainly seems clear that in protecting the political rights, there's no discussion of women not having the right to vote.
I think it's important to remember that in the year 1900, for example, in the United States, it was a democracy then. In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled.
I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy."
Is this the kind of spin we can expect in the coming weeks as the news sinks in that we caved to the Shiites, again? Wait until the American people find out we sacrificed 2000 plus American troops for the noble cause of giving birth to the Islamic Republic of Iraq!
What was this war about again?
The Kurds, who are our closest allies in this process and adamant in their opposition to an Islamic Republic, are dumbfounded. Filkins quotes a Kurdish leader involved in the writing of the constitution as saying; “your American ambassador is giving an Islamic character to the state. You spent all this money and all this blood to bring an Islamic republic here? We are very worried.” We ought to be, too. What exactly is going on over there?
The Sunnis are calling on the international community to intervene to prevent the Shiites from bypassing them to get the document done. This leads one to believe Khalilzad is about to pull a “Munich,” on the Sunnis.
In other words, selling the Sunnis down the river in order to appease ayatollah ali-Sistani and the Iranian backed Sciri. The possibility of the Assembly voting for yet another delay is remote. If they don’t decide to delay again, the dissolution of the parliament and new elections, which would then follow, would be a big time disaster for the brains trust at the “Lazy W. Ranch.”
Again, I ask why is such a premium being put on the passage of this constitution? The elections, hailed as a great victory against the insurgency, didn’t slow the insurgency down in the least. Since April when the “government” was formed, 5000 Iraqi civilians have been killed and we have lost 300 US troops. Every “corner” we turn, every turning point and bench-mark reached is portrayed as a great “success,” but he result is always more violence and disaster.
Even if the Kurds get Kirkuk and the Shiites get their carbon copy of Iran, and the Sunnis go along with it, Abu Zarqawi will still be blowing up civilians and soldiers at will. More than likely, the Sunnis will find the constitution unpalatable and Zarqawi will have no difficulty in recruiting more jihadis, especially when one considers Iraq’s Sunni neighbors who are not about to allow a “Shiite triangle” to become a reality on their door-step.
The Iranian problem:
Then there’s the foreign interference from Iran. The mullahs are determined to have a Tehran friendly government in Baghdad. According to Michael Ware in Time magazine, our new enemy is an Iranian called Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani.
Ware writes that documents obtained by Time reveal, “al-Sheibani heads a network of insurgents created by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps with the express purpose of committing violence against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq… the U.S. believes al-Sheibani's team consists of 280 members, divided into 17 bombmaking teams and death squads. The U.S. believes they train in Lebanon, in Baghdad's predominantly Shi'ite Sadr City district and "in another country" and have detonated at least 37 bombs against U.S. forces this year in Baghdad alone.”
It is believed the Iranians have provided the deadlier “shaped explosive” being used recently to such devastating effect against our armored vehicles. (And now in Afghanistan too.) At the moment, the US feels they can control the Iranian angle, but if the Iranians decide they can’t live with what’s going on in Iraq, that might change.
What is this all costing us?
Regardless of what happens in Iraq the fairy tale being peddled by the administration that we’ll be out of there just as soon as the Iraqis get their political and security house in order, is a crock. The pentagon’s new “worse case scenario” now envisions the presence of 100,000 troops remaining in Iraq until at least 2009. How much has this disaster cost us so far and how much is it likely to cost in the next four years?
Linda Bilmes, a teacher of budgeting and public finance at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, has crunched the numbers in an Op-Ed in the NYT. She estimates running the war for another five years will cost the American tax-payer $460 billion dollars. This is not counting the $260 billion already spent. The price tag for providing medical care for the 525,000 troops already deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq is $7 billion a year for the next 45 years, assuming the twenty year olds of today live to the age of 70 or so.
Bilmes writes that if the US stays in Iraq for another five years, “the total outlay for the war could stretch to more than 1.3 trillion, or $11,300 for every household in the United States.”
They’re not buying what your selling anymore W.!
A pretty steep bill for “staying the course!” W. will be long out of office and his presidential library will have moss growing on its walls before we’re done paying for the disastrous repercussions of this historic debacle.
In the dim recesses of W.’s brain, the message is getting through that he has a public support problem when it comes to “staying the course” in Iraq. Chuck Hagel, the senator from Nebraska, a well-known liberal and fellow traveler, said on ABC’s This Week that keeping 100,000 troops in Iraq for the next four years was a non-starter. When you’ve lost Hagel, no amount of “major policy” speeches on Iraq in front of hand picked audiences, this week in Boise and Salt Lake City, is going to make a difference. Try coming to heavily democratic, but until recently pro-Iraq war, Port Richmond Pennsylvania.
On Saturday morning, I passed the funeral of Fishtown police officer and National Guardsman Gennaro Pellegrinni who died in Beiji along with two other Pennsylvania guardsmen on August 10th. I’ve got to say the support for the war in this very blue-collar union town has defiantly gone south. In just four days this area lost 7 locals and the natives are restless. Common’ down here W. and convince these people the creation of an Islamic republic in Iraq is worth these deaths.