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[casi-analysis] IPO Iraq News Analysis: Sep 23, 2004

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IPO's Iraq News Analysis
September 23, 2004

$3.4 billion out of the $18.4 billion allocated for Iraq's reconstruction by
the US Congress has been shifted to security improvement, highlighting the
ineffectiveness of re-Ba'athification and Allawi's amnesty to insurgents.
The violent hotspot of Fallujah is an example where both tactics have been
tried and failed, as it continues to be host to foreign militant Wahabis,
Ba'athists and kidnappers. Despite the clear failure of these policies, some
in the British Foreign Office are still calling for more power to be
returned to a minority 'elite', or as one official called them, "Traditional
pillars of power."

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's comments that Iraq may not be able to hold
credible elections in January are extremely disappointing. Instead of
building expectations of failure the UN should honor its obligations to help
prepare Iraq for the first democratic elections. So far the UN has only sent
a tiny handful of staff to Iraq to help prepare the country for January. The
UN has so far not helped the Iraqi people; it opposed the removal of Saddam
and has yet to make any significant contribution to Iraq's reconstruction.
If the UN is only going to obstruct Iraq's efforts to democratization then
Iraq would be better off if they did not interfere at all.

Despite encouraging comments by interim Prime Minister Allawi, President
Bush, and Prime Minister Blair that Iraq's elections will be held by the
January deadline regardless of the security situation, rumors in Iraq are
that these reassurances are for the American public readying for their
presidential elections in November and a delay will be announced once US
elections are over. If the rumors prove to be true, and delays in the
January elections are announced after November 2nd, it could trigger a real
crisis across Iraq. When UN election experts concluded earlier this year
that elections could be held by December of January, Sayyid Sistani accepted
their findings and has been patient on the issue. It would be a grave
mistake to disappoint the majority of Iraqi society that has remained
peaceful and patient in the anticipation of free elections just because a
tiny minority is bent on stopping Iraq's first democratic steps.

Hostage takers of two Americans and a British man made the strange demand
that all female prisoners in Iraq be released. So far the Americans have
been ruthlessly beheaded, and the third man's fate is uncertain. It is
likely that such an ultimatum was made in an attempt to win public support
in Iraq since the Wahabi terrorists, who have carried out similar executions
and bombings against civilians, are deeply resented by most Iraqis. A less
likely yet more harrowing explanation is that these terrorists are seeking
the expertise of Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax to develop chemical or biological
bombs. Should the demands be repeated in future hostage takings then the
latter may prove to be more likely.

News Analysis brought to you by the Iraqi Prospect Organization:
Promoting democracy for Iraq

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