Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Insurgent Capitulation In Sadr City  | e-mail post

In some very good news out of Iraq today (although I'm sure everyone will want to cover the car bombing that just happened), the Iraqi insurgents in Sadr City have pretty much rolled over, or at least agreed to roll over, hopefully this won't turn into some kind of Trojan horse. [Reuters via Yahoo] The New York Times has an appraisal of the risks as well, including that Moktada al-Sadr has broken several promises to disarm, and that there is some question whether his militia men, obviously enjoying the sense power they get from their big guns, will follow Sadr's call to lay down their weapons.

In any event, Sadr's militia have agreed to a ceasefire, will turn in their arms within 5 days and let U.S.-led forces help the Iraqi security forces maintain security in Sadr City.

In exchange, the Iraqi interim government will spend $500 million rebuilding Sadr city.

For those who want some background, Sadr City used to be known as Saddam City, and between times was called Al Thawra. It was a Shi'a slum that Saddam supposedly visited only a single time and was in a horrible state of disrepair due to Hussein's "intentional neglect," with failing electricity and sewer services, before the U.S. even showed up on the scene. [Development Alternatives] [GlobalSecurity.org]

In fact, it was in Saddam City that many of the early images of Iraqis cheering the U.S. led invasion, or what they were calling a liberation at the time. Patience is never a strong trait among the oppressed masses, however, and the area declared itself virtually autonomous immediately after the U.S. toppled the old regime. Of course, the clerics were in no position to actually run the area, and thus people rapidly became unhappy, and that unhappiness directed itself at the area's liberators rather than the self-serving demagogues, making it a breeding ground of anti-American sentiment.

It is in some ways ironic that had the district not declared itself effectively autonomous after the war, it probably would have already been enjoying some of those reconstruction dollars, rather than having to be bombed into capitulation the past week so that it can now be rebuilt.

In other good news, it appears that election monitors in Afghanistan are saying the elections were fair enough, if not perfect. I think the same thing could be said about the voting in Illinois in the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy election, no? (For what it's worth, I don't actually think the 1960 election was stolen from Nixon, but it's worth point out that even established democracies such as ours have had debateable outcomes, and everything still seems to work out OK.)

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Sunday, October 10, 2004
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