Iraq: Moving forward after the 'Three Week's War'.

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Red-Seven, Apr 24, 2003.

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  1. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    In this thread, I would like to discuss the ongoing efforts in Iraq to quell the last remnents of Saddam's regime, seek out the Ba'ath war criminals and the uber-important NBC weapons, but most importantly the 'reconstruction' of Iraq.

    Reconstruction is going to have several phases/areas, I believe. First, the political. Governence needs to be set up in the country, and a timetable and waypoints toward an autonomous Iraqi government need to be specified and planned. I think the Government should be secular, respect religious and ethnic plurality, offer federal oversight with room for limited self-rule in certain regions of Iraq, and have a robust and fair rule of law. I believe a government in Iraq which provides its citizens liberties is more important, in the short term, to rashly instituting the mechanism of democracy, without the necessary legal and structural supports to preserve liberty and protect the system from itself (elected dictators are still dictators).

    Second, there needs to be a diplomatic reconstruction. France proposing to end sanctions is but a first step, as relations with Iraq's regional neighbors, as well as the International community, need to be determined. Iraq's Saddam-era debt and Kuwaiti war reperations need to be revisited and reconsidered.

    Third, economic reconstruction. Oil. Who is going to control output, and negotiate development contracts? Are the Saddam-era deals null and void, or still legally (and morally) applicable? Who represents Iraq at OPEC?

    Finally, infrastructure. Usually, when talking about War reconstruction, we are talking about infastructure. However, due to the nature of the US targetted bombing and swift advance, there has probably been more damage done to IRaqi infastructure through neglect and sanctions than through warfare. Additionally, Iraq is a country and a people that is blessed (or cursed) with wealth. Iraq's oil will fund much of their recovery from the hangover of Saddam's regime and its violent end imposed from the outside. What are the morals and ethics of this situation?


  2. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    A few articles for discussion:

    Talks in baghdad chart the way forward
    "Iraq's government ministries could reopen by the end of next week, according to Jay Garner, the retired US general charged with the country's reconstruction."


    Also: "Another three Iraqis on the "most wanted" list are captured, including former chief of military intelligence General Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar al-Naqib, and the former head of air defence forces, Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti"



    Iranians organising Shi'a anti-US demonstrations
    "U.S. officials said the warning came in wake of intelligence reports that thousands of Iranian agents are organizing the Shi'ite majority in Iraq to oppose the U.S. military presence in that Arab country. The officials said Iran, with the help of Hizbullah insurgents who arrived from Lebanon, is suspected of playing a leading role in the huge anti-U.S. demonstrations by Iraqi Shi'ites over the last week."



    LOOTING ISSUES
    Media, Troops investigate in theft

    Art Historian on safeguarding Iraq's Treasures...
    "Points to note: the robbers have been heavily armed, quick to shoot, and not easily deterred; there has been extensive insider involvement; and finally, the most secure vaults have successfully defied all break-in attempts. This emerging picture (along with the report noted here that armed intruders had been firing at US forces from the national museum) poses a further challenge to the assumption that the looting of Baghdad's museums and libraries could easily have been prevented, and was thus the direct result of American negligence."
  3. black_saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2002
    star 4
    Well looks like we may have to fight some of the ***** Terrorist too and Maybe Iran if they keep making our probelm worse.
  4. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    I have a hard time believing Bush or any other President really can keep control of Baghdad, rebuild it, and set up a democracy all the while solving and fixing the problems of today.

    Yes, we've done it in the past you say? Well, it's a different world and CNN's 24/7 coverage changes things a bit. In addition, after say, WWII, we had pretty much destroyed everything in Japan and Germany into the ground, the whole power structure and public works. It was a total war. But it was back in the old days, and people were plenty used to sufferring. Also, the economy was beginning to boom, so it made reconstruction efforts in other countries easier to deal with. Another reason we could help Europe rebuild was that we sort of forgave the debt they owed, helping them out a lot.

    If you ask me, it would be great if we could pump Iraqi oil and use only those profits to rebuild Iraq, or rather take all the money we put into Iraq out in oil. But I think the liberal wing of my party might have a problem with that.

    Regardless, if Bush can successfully rebuild Iraq and actually come up with and do something about the current domestic situation, I'll be impressed. But I think both Iraqi reconstruction and U.S. economy will suffer from the other.
  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    OPEC met in Vienna today - absent Iraq of course. Oil prices are low again as the result of easing of war fears and speculation about the future of Iraqi oil production...

    My big question is - will Iraq rejoin OPEC? Will the U.S. let Iraq rejoin OPEC in the short term?

    The UN also continues its power play to have a say in the future of Iraqi oil at least in the short run through a potential continuation of the oil for food program.

    What is going to happen? It's more exciting than the war.

    Will the Shiites try to take over Iraq? Is an Islamic state in its future? Not if the U.S. has any say in the matter, I assume. And it looks to me like the U.S. does have a say in the matter.

    Is the U.S. really going to allow self-determination in Iraq if self-determination takes a decidedly anti-U.S. turn?

    "May you live in interesting times."
  6. Jades Fire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 1998
    star 4
    Will the Shiites try to take over Iraq? Is an Islamic state in its future? Not if the U.S. has any say in the matter, I assume. And it looks to me like the U.S. does have a say in the matter.

    Is the U.S. really going to allow self-determination in Iraq if self-determination takes a decidedly anti-U.S. turn?


    These are going to be the most interesting questions when it comes to the governance of Iraq. By sheer numbers at about 60%, the Shiites have a majority of the population in Iraq. Simple math says that if the Shiites vote as a bloc, then they will control the future of the country. If they are patient, they will eventually come to power in Iraq, with or without the help of Iran. There is speculation that the first Bush administration stopped backing the Iraqi revolt after the first Gulf War because it appeared that the Shiites would come to power.

    My question is this, will the US try to construct a government that will make it difficult for the Shiite majority to gain power?

    What sort of governmental structure will the US create? Parlimentary or a Federal Republic of Iraq using the existing 18 provinces?
  7. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    That's why the government of Iraq will be a federation or confederacy, not merely a democracy ruled by simple majority.

    They may end up having districts for local rule and regional areas for more autonomy for some ethnic groups, then a cetral parliament or assembly, with a weak presidency.

    But, Iraq will not turn into a theocracy.

  8. yodashizzzle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2003
    star 4
    "But I think both Iraqi reconstruction and U.S. economy will suffer from the other."

    i could not disagree more. the rebuilding of iraq will not be without difficulty, but the smoother that reconstruction goes, the more the positive gains will be felt in the American economy. Bush isn't going to reconstruct iraq. the United States is going to HELP. but the major efforts of rebuilding the infrastructure and furthering the growth of the iraqi economy will be done by the IRAQIS. the idea of self determination is going to be essential to success (as pointed out in jabbadabbado's post).

    "Will the Shiites try to take over Iraq? Is an Islamic state in its future? Not if the U.S. has any say in the matter, I assume. And it looks to me like the U.S. does have a say in the matter."


    yes, i think the Shiites will try to gain control, and yes, the U.S. doesn't want this to happen. can the U.S. carefully avoid a fundamentalist state in the reconstructing of Iraq? i sure hope so. but it'll be difficult. not impossible, though.



    "Is the U.S. really going to allow self-determination in Iraq if self-determination takes a decidedly anti-U.S. turn?"


    probably not. the U.S. will look to encourage a kind of "secular" self- determination in it's efforts to avoid zealous fundamentalism. showing any kind of favoritism (real or perceived) will probably be catastrophic. but i think the oil for food program will be something that will be undertaken for a few years to help get things really moving and in order to bring about the neccesary stabilizing factor needed for long-term productivity. and i think Iraq will most likely rejoin OPEC within a few years as a replacement for the oil/food program.
  9. Darth_Doug Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2002
    star 1
    I think that even before any sort of representative government takes over in Iraq the occupying forces have to establish the rule of law. Rule of law is meant to show that no one is above the law. A millionaire breaks the law? He goes to jail. A governmental official takes bribes? He goes to jail/loses his job. A cleric tries to influence elections? He is kept from breaking the law.
    The less-effective example of this is Russia since 1991.
    At the same time that this would help in the organization of the political landscape, it would also encourage foreign investment (if contracts are enforced, for example, companies are much more likely to be willing to get involved).
  10. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Here's where we find out if the U.S. is as good at nation building as it is at war.
  11. TripleB Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 4
    Well, I think the US did a grand job at nation building in Japan and Germany post WWII, and I think the task ahead of hte US is far less then what was faced with Imperial Japan and the Nazi Germany. The fact that we turned both into full functioning democracy's (and now adays, leftists leaning ones at that) should be of comfort to the Lefters on these boards.
  12. Jades Fire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 1998
    star 4
    Fareed Zakaria had an article in last week's Newsweek about winning the peace. I disagree with some of what he says, but he's got some valid points. I posted it in another thread, but I think it is more appropriate to this thread.



    How to Wage the Peace


    Here is an excerpt. It's fairly long so I don't want to post all of it.


    ...

    President George W. Bush has often said that America wants to help build democracy in Iraq. He has also said that America will hand over power to Iraqis as soon as possible. These are, of course, the politically correct things to say. Washington does not want to look like an occupying power. But the history of political and economic reform around the world suggests that building democracy in Iraq will require a prolonged American or international presence. We can leave fast or we can nurture democracy, but we cannot do both.

    This is not because the Iraqi people don?t want democracy or aren?t capable of it. The scenes of liberated Baghdad should remind us?as did similar scenes in Kabul after the Afghan war?that people the world over do not like to be oppressed. No culture or religion makes them content to forgo their basic rights. But wanting democracy and achieving it are two different things. Over the past decade, the developing world has been littered with examples of quick transitions to democracy that have gone badly awry. The countries of Central Europe?a longstanding part of the Western world?have been the exceptions to this dismal pattern. The awkward truth is that whisky and sex have proved much easier to export than constitutional government.

    ELECTIONS AND DEMOCRACY

    We could, of course, hold elections in Iraq, hand over power and go home. But elections do not produce democracy. Consider Russia, where Vladimir Putin was elected but rules like an autocrat. He has forced his political opponents out of office, weakened other branches of government and intimidated the once free media into near-total silence. And he?s one of the success stories. In Venezuela, the elected demagogue Hugo Chavez has turned himself into a dictator, running his rich country into the ground. Eighty percent of Venezuelans now live below the poverty line. In Africa, 42 of the continent?s 48 countries have held elections in the last decade, but almost none of them have produced genuine democracy.

    ...

  13. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I think the big difference between Germany, Japan and Iraq are

    1) both those countries have (or had) highly homogeneous populations with a strong single cultural identity.

    2) despite the war, both were highly industrialized with impressive and diversified industrial economies.

    3) Iraq on the other hand has an economy largely based on a single commodity, albeit one of the world's most important commodities. And its population is culturally divided along difficult religious/ethnic groupings.
  14. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Yes Jabba, but Japan did not have a long tradition of democracy either.

    Germany had more an autocratic militant tradition.

    Nation-building can work.

    EDIT:

    Did you know the U.S. military presence could actually be less than before the war?

    Right now, plans are underway to scale-down military ops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and in Turkey.

    We may end up with a smaller "footprint" in the middle-east than before the war.
  15. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    Who?s who in Iraq


    Ferment of freedom, fear and fantasy

    Baghdad's main shopping streets remain eerily dark and shuttered, but stolen booty clutters the sidewalks of outlying slums. Things like pipes, electrical fittings and office furniture can be had for a song; often the loot on offer is guns. A Chinese Kalashnikov fetches a mere $50, a box of 9mm bullets $2. The prices are a quarter of prewar levels, and a measure of the scale of disorder into which the country has fallen. ?Americans! Americans!? shouts someone, and the wares slip back under robes and into car boots until the patrol of lumbering Humvees passes.

    Which is about as much contact as most Iraqis have with their liberator-occupiers. Particularly outside the capital, coalition forces shy away from city centres. The deliberate discretion reduces chances of misunderstanding, a serious risk given American nervousness, the lack of a common language, and Iraqi unease at having armed infidels in their midst. The disadvantage is that Iraqis rarely witness the useful side of America's presence, such as engineering teams helping to restore power and water supplies, or the distribution of fuel and drugs to hospitals.

    ...The failure to express a clear vision or timetable for America's role add to suspicions. Years of war, oppression, wrenching poverty, isolation and, for many Iraqis, personal humiliation under Saddam Hussein's regime have left terrible wounds. It can be hard to grasp the meaning of sudden freedom: sheer anxiety is a common response. Moreover, sanctions and rapacious rule have reduced Iraqis to destitution. Generous prewar food rations have ensured that families have basic food, but many have no cash at all, even to pay for public transport to cross the city.

    ...Outside Baghdad, with its ransacked institutions, cracks of sudden gunfire and continuing power blackout, the process of revival is proceeding more smoothly. The holy city of Karbala, for example, escaped serious looting. It now has a functioning police force, a governor chosen by local leaders, and decent water and power supplies. This week it hosted several million Shia pilgrims without serious incident.

    ...In public, all Iraqis insist on their desire for unity: ?Sunni and Shia together, this land is not for sale!? was this week's favoured slogan, both for political rallies in Baghdad and religious processions in Karbala. Even so, many Sunnis, former Baathist apparatchiks and Christians remain wary of the Shia, not only because of their numerical strength but because of their clergy's mobilising power.

    This may be exaggerated. Shia religious leaders themselves decry the divisive rivalry between differing schools. Their one point of unity is that America is not welcome to stay for long. ?Sooner or later they will leave anyway,? says the son and spokesman of Ayatollah Sistani, the preeminent Shia scholar in Najaf, denying rumours that his father has decreed jihad against the invaders. ?But in the meantime we don't want to give legitimacy to their presence for one moment.?




    Looking to a new Iraq

    ...The lifting of sanctions will be crucial to rebuilding the Iraqi economy. America intends to use the sale of Iraqi oil to finance the reconstruction of the country. Oil exports have stopped since the war and uncertainty remains over who in Iraq has legal authority to sign new export deals. Companies with existing contracts have threatened to challenge any new arrangements in the courts. Some countries maintain that the support of the UN will be critical in sorting out such problems and in securing help from other institutions, such as the World Bank and the European Union. America, however, could go ahead and sell the oil anyway, underwriting the risks firms may face in legal challenge
  16. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    I think that it is pretty clear to anyone that the US cannot simply instal a secular Sunni regime. The Shia must have a major say in what happens if there is to be any hope of a peaceful future for Iraq. Having been repressed by a minority for so long it seems sheer fantasy to believe that they would stand by a do nothing if they are sold short again.
  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    There are so many wonderful forms of government to choose from: A sunni dictatorship, a Shi'ite-controlled Islamic theocracy.

    Also, it seems clear that Iraq in its final form will include a somewhat loose confederation with the Kurdish region in the north.

    Remember that the Islamist movement believes that America's fundamental flaw is the separation of church and state.

    It seems to me that the Shi'ite majority in Iraq makes majority rule impractical at best. What kind of options does that leave the Iraqi people?
  18. McLaren Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2002
    star 2
    It seems to me that the Shi'ite majority in Iraq makes majority rule impractical at best. Jabbadabbado

    The fundamental flaw with this assertion is that it assumes all Shia are the same.

    Shia religious leaders themselves decry the divisive rivalry between differing schools. Red-Seven's excerpt

    The two main Shia school's principle division is the role of religion in the state. The Shia getting all the attention are the ones who believe in a religious state like Khomeni's Iran. The quiet ones, who have already had one leader assassinated (an aide to Sistani), believe in the separation of church and state.
  19. Tupolov Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2002
    star 4
    It is going to be a very long and hard road to rebuild Iraq. As long as we're over there we're going to have suicide bombings and snipers messing with us.
  20. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    The two main Shia school's principle division is the role of religion in the state. The Shia getting all the attention are the ones who believe in a religious state like Khomeni's Iran. The quiet ones, who have already had one leader assassinated (an aide to Sistani), believe in the separation of church and state.

    To be fair most of the Shia in Iraq who want an Islamic government do not want to base it Iran where the clerics have almost total control.
  21. SnorreSturluson Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 14, 2003
    star 4
    seek out the Ba'ath war criminals and the uber-important NBC weapons ...

    There are no NBC weapons in Iraq (so far no found) and as long as the USA does not accept UN weapons inspectors any evidence found will be seen as invalid.
    War criminals of which war?

    in the short term, to rashly instituting the mechanism of democracy,

    I doubt that democracy can work in such inhomogeneous states (with multiple ethnic groups). The larger the tensions between the ethnic groups are the more likely votes resemble how large each one of those ethnic groups is.


    France proposing to end sanctions

    France proposed to suspend the sanctions, not end ´em.

    Iraq's Saddam- era debt and Kuwaiti war reperations need to be revisited and reconsidered.

    Definitely no. Iraq not Saddam Hussein has made those debts they should pay. I´m sure the Russians would be glad if they could get rid of all the Soviet debts.

    Are the Saddam-era deals null and void, or still legally (and morally) applicable? Who represents Iraq at OPEC?

    They made deals with Iraq (represented by Saddam Hussein). The WTO irrelevant too - huh?


    If you ask me, it would be great if we could pump Iraqi oil and use only those profits to rebuild Iraq,

    Oil income is not enough - by far. And if Iraq wants to produce more oil, either oil gets cheaper or other countries will have to produce less.

    My big question is - will Iraq rejoin OPEC? Will the U.S. let Iraq rejoin OPEC in the short term?

    "Rejoin" is the wrong word, they would have to leave the OPEC first ;)


    The fact that we turned both into full functioning democracy's...

    That´s simply not true. Japan has been ruled by a single party since WWII all the time (Liberal Democrats) just 5 years or so not.
    Germany had a full functioning democracy before the war. The Nazis came to power by stretching the law (not breaking it).
    And it´s always the same in Germany. One of the big parties remains in power for a decade by lying to the people about the real state of the country until people get fed up with those lies and vote for the other party. And then the game starts all over again.
    I even doubt that we have really achieved democracy in the Western World. At least we have the impression that we could actually participate in the big decisions, but unless you live in Switzerland you won´t.

  22. yoda_masterjedi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2002
    An important point to consider is the Kurdish minority in the North of Iraq. There are significant separatist feelings amongst the Kurds, and an independent Kurdish state could only damage attempts to reconstruct Iraq. Similarly, the Kurds cannot be forced to remain part of Iraq if they don't want to be. This is a problem that needs consideration in the rebuilding of Iraq
  23. Mort Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2000
    star 4
    From the limited attention I have been paying to this part of the war in Iraq it seems that Chalabi and the INC, for lack of a better term, are shoe-ins for the leadership of a post war Iraq due to their support from the Coalition administrations. Rumsfeld has publicly stated that an Islamic theocracy is not acceptable and just today Blair sidestepped the issue but implied the same sentiment.

    Red's link to the BBC's Who's Who in Postwar Iraq is informative but does anyone else have any more info about the INC?
  24. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Interesting how the Who's Who didn't mention Chalabi's ties with Saudi extremists or his criminal charges, in absentia, in neighboring Jordan. Personally, I think giving any role to a man who has run a corrupt business, not set foot in the country for 50 odd years, and who can't travel to a neighboring state is a bad idea; and giving him access to a system that thrived off corruption is even worse.

    Isn't it funny how Putin goes from being a top ally of America post-9/11 to an "autocrat". Whats the word I need here? Fickle? [face_plain]

    E_S
  25. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Mort,
    you can find info on the IRC at www.iraqinews.com and on their own homepage.

    Basically, the IRC was founded after the first Gulf War and encompasses many smaller opposition groups. Their goal was to overthrow the Iraqi regime.
    They were the group that had the small uprising in 92-93 that was crushed by the Iraqi army.
    Some members received CIA sponsored military training, while others operated a "free Iraq" radio station.

    The IRC also advocates making peace with Israel, and returning Iraq to its original monarchy.

    Chalabi was brought up on charges in Jordan because he was using profits from his financial institution to fund Iraqi-rebels. The Iraqi government pressured Jordan to exile him and he still faces a sentence of 22 years in a Jordian labor camp(many feel he would have just been killed)

    He was educated in America, including mathematics at the University of Chicago.

    Some people do not like him because he has the support of the current US administration, and believes in a free market system.
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