Monday, December 27, 2004

Just a few quick words today.

Much is being made of the upcoming electoral crisis in Iraq. The greater fear at this moment is that the Sunni minority will not be able to mobilize in order to produce viable candidates for the parliament. The logic follows that the Sunni minority will already feel itself the loser in the Shia/Kurd mobilization towards democratic representation, and that the continuing violence in the Sunni Triangle is such that will prevent a significant turnout, thus rendering the efforts of candidates brave enough to stay in the race, bow out due to lack of projected turnout. Taken one step further, the Sunni Minority will then find itself grossly underrepresented, and the Shia and Kurd government will draft a constitution with its own interests in mind. The pundits conclusion is that this will likely sow the seeds of a long overdue civil war.

I however, due not buy this scenario, not entirely anyway. The biggest obstacle to Sunni participation is not Sunni alienation at suddenly being the powerless minority, but the Coalitions inability to stamp out an insurgency that has yet to manifest itself as being a truly popular movement among moderate Sunnis. The Sunnis themselves have every incentive to participate in elections, precisely because they are outnumbered nearly three to one. What good would a sectarian crisis due to such a minority. The problem thus lies in the lack of political organization within Sunni dominated areas as a result of constant warfare. If the US really wants to avoid a civil war, they will find a way to deal with the insurgency that does not further deteriorate the delicate acquiescence of moderate Sunnis, and of an Iraqi population that wants to simply move on.

Tomorrow, the Wolves.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Dangers of my growing gut

I have been neglecting the blog. There is simply no excuse. However, don't think I am at a loss to manufacture one. The reelection of George Bush, the death of Arafat and the uncertainty of the future PA, the continuing violence in Iraq. Well its hard to stay focused and positive, it is difficult to continue to spend time engaged in the details of despair, the stories of death, and the myriad unknowns that surround the world of war and peace. Ultimately, I had to retreat a bit, and, as they say, relax and enjoy myself a bit.

Ok, I am done enjoying myself.

Mr. Blair has just finished a visit to Israel and Palestine. He seems pretty well bent on strengthening the position of Mahmoud Abbas and the ostensibly new PA. For Blair, this is an opportunity to gain some credibility both at home and in Europe. The sense is that Blair, by aggressively pursuing a return to the roadmap, can make up ground that he has lost in Iraq. It has long been the ambition of American Presidents to find a solution to the Mid-East conflict, and now it seems to be the ambition of an English Prime Minister. Yet Blair's initiative seems a bit premature, inasmuch as the leadership of the PA has yet to be established, though it seems unlikely that anyone will emerge other than Abbas. For Blair, this is less a strong possibility than a foregone conclusion. Perhaps a concession to his his American counterpart?

THe new Year will bring the eventuality of Iraqi elections. I haven't yet assessed the range of possibilities at this point, and they will follow in a future post. However, what seems apparent now is that Afghanistan will prove the exception, rather than the rule. I think the ultimate goal of the occupation will not be to see that elections take place safely, as much as that they do not descend uncontrollably into the proverbial civil war that has become the elephant in the room.

More later.

Happy holidays.