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News, 1-8/10/03 (3) ADMINISTRATION * Educators fired for being Baath Party members upset * Baghdad University President dismissed for not excluding Ba'athist professors * Schools reopen in Iraq * 'Iraqi Legal System Needs Time to Recover' * Iraq Awards Mobile Network Contracts * Back To School, No Anti-Occupation Books GENERAL REFLECTIONS * 'Iraq is not a lost battle. We should not sit idle' * Why we are winning in Iraq * A land ruled by chaos * Iraq will be poor 'for years' * Welcome benign US imperialism ADMINISTRATION http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/6905253.htm * EDUCATORS FIRED FOR BEING BAATH PARTY MEMBERS UPSET by DEBORAH HORAN Chicago Tribune, 1st October BAGHDAD, Iraq - Shallal Mizher sees himself as a victim of his high rank in the Iraqi Baath Party. For 27 years, he climbed the party ladder, making his way from a lowly cadre and English teacher to the fourth-highest level in Saddam Hussein's political apparatus. One more step up and he would have been a full-time employee of the Baathist party machine. Instead, Mizher and some 6,000 to 12,000 teachers, principals and educational directors have been fired by order of the U.S.-led coalition, and Mizher, a 51-year-old career educator with two children in college, is crying foul. "We served the country (under Saddam)," Mizher said. "But not all of us are bad." As schools open this week for the first full year after Saddam's fall, not only his curricula but also many of the educators who indoctrinated students with his message will be absent. U.S. officials say the mass purges of Iraq's Baathist teachers are necessary to curb the influence of the old regime in the new Iraq. But Iraq's suddenly unemployed teachers and school administrators, backed by some of the country's political elite, describe the policy as unfair and chaotic. Ridding the government of so many people at once, they say, has emasculated the ministries and demolished the army and police - the very structures Iraqis need to rebuild a country devastated by decades of dictatorship and war. Thousands have been left with no source of income, and those who remain have been forced to work from scratch. Four months after the order was issued by top U.S. civilian administrator Paul Bremer, the country is still complaining. "It is an unnecessary ideological attachment to the concept of de-Baathification," said Sharif Ali, a cousin of Iraq's last king, who heads the Constitutional Monarchy movement and is a critic of the U.S.-led coalition's handling of post-Hussein Iraq. "It has caused fear and resentment among the bureaucracy," Ali said. "We have 150,000 (U.S.) troops and a political elite starting from zero." Some school administrators praise the mass firings as a move in the right direction. A turnover of teachers can be done quickly, they say, because thousands of newly graduated teachers as well as teachers who refused to join the Baath Party have been tapped to take their place. "They are returning in droves," said Hind Rassam, an adviser with a USAID project called RISE that is helping to revamp the school curriculum. At a human-rights conference held in Kurdish-ruled northern Iraq last week, representatives of Iraq's 18 regions discussed ways to rid Iraq's educational system of references to Saddam Hussein. They have little pity for those who joined a party that forced elementary students to sing songs in praise of Hussein and high school students to practice Arabic grammar using Hussein's speeches as texts. "Education is very sensitive," said Abdel-Aziz Taib, the Kurdish minister of education in Irbil, Iraq, who supports the purge. "The extremists should be removed. Their influence can affect the new generation, and they will destroy it." Ali and others say that idea is nonsense. "They could have given (the Baath Party members) new instructions, and they would have said, `Fine, we will get rid of all references to Saddam,' " he said. Ali suggested the U.S.-led interim government would have been better off leaving in place the Baathists who worked for ministries such as education. Then, he said, the new government could have slowly removed people who had committed real crimes. "Why should party officials doing administrative functions be treated the same as real criminals who murdered people and enriched themselves?" Ali said. Some teachers still on the payroll quietly agree with him. "This is not humanitarian," said Dr. Abdul-Zahra Abbas, a headmaster of a high school science department. Last May, Mizher found out he had lost his job when he arrived at the Ministry of Education in Baghdad, Iraq, one day and saw Bremer's order posted on the wall along with a list of names of those to be fired. His name was on the list. "How can we live?" he asked. Mizher believes the Baath Party should be able to continue as a party. If that is not possible, at least the party cadres should be able to stay in place, he said. "When the party falls, it doesn't mean everyone in the party should fall," Mizher said. "It's just that the people want to take revenge and they consider all Baath Party officials like Saddam Hussein." * BAGHDAD UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT DISMISSED FOR NOT EXCLUDING BA'ATHIST PROFESSORS RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 41, 3 October 2003 Iraqi interim Higher Education Minister Ziad Abd al-Razzaq has reportedly dismissed Baghdad University President Sami al-Muzaffar from his position after al-Muzaffar refused to abide by an Iraqi Governing Council decision to exclude senior Ba'athists from the university's teaching and administrative staff, Al-Jazeera reported on 27 September. "Regrettably, [al-Muzaffar] stood against this [de-Ba'athification] measure despite the fact that I had called him several times and tried to convince him of implementing the decision" of the governing council, Abd al-Razzaq said. He added that he believes al-Muzaffar was keeping professors in their positions because of personal relations. Al-Muzaffar told the satellite news channel in a 27 September interview that he will not recognize the authority of the interim minister. "I was not relieved from my duties and [Abd al-Razzaq] has no authority to discharge me," al-Muzaffar said. "I am a person who was elected while he is the one who has been appointed." Al-Muzaffar accused Abd al-Razzaq of sending contradictory orders to the university and denied that he kept Ba'athists on staff because of personal relations. He said he will remain at home but added that he considers the dismissal "illegal." (Kathleen Ridolfo) * SCHOOLS REOPEN IN IRAQ RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 41, 3 October 2003 Iraqi schools reopened this week, but many schoolchildren will be using old textbooks, as the U.S.-led administration in Iraq races to get revised post-Hussein textbooks to classrooms, international media reported. "Some textbooks are creeping round Al-Basrah, and some are being unloaded, but we had to get schools started," Bill Evers, a U.S. adviser to the Iraqi Education Ministry told FT.com on 1 October. Evers said that officials at the Education Ministry were advised to tell teachers to "teach around" textbook references to deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. UNICEF spokesman Geoffrey Keele told the daily that 40 million out of 66 million new books on order had been printed, with the remainder to be completed by the end of November. UNICEF and UNESCO were commissioned to print the books, with $10 million in funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and another $67 million from the oil-for-food program. Some 852,000 textbooks were stuck at the Kuwait border on 30 September, while UNICEF scrambled to find a military escort to bring the books into Iraq, U.S. officials in Baghdad told FT.com. Returning teachers will also see a change. Some 1,200 schools have been rebuilt or upgraded with an average of $35,000 going to each school, Bechtel spokesman Francis Canavan told FT.com. Bechtel was awarded the contract to rebuild the schools by the U.S. government (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report, 23 May 2003). Teachers are also receiving a pay raise, averaging between $67 and $335 month. Under the Hussein regime, they were paid between $5 and $13 month, AP reported on 1 October. Portraits of Hussein, which once adorned the walls of each classroom, are also gone. U.S. 1st Armored Division soldiers have delivered truckloads of new magic markers, crayons, and watercolors donated by U.S. military families. USAID is also providing students with book bags, pencils, and pocket calculators, FT.com reported. According to Reuters, some 4.5 million Iraqi children will head back to the classroom this week. (Kathleen Ridolfo) http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=33044&d=5&m=10&y=2003&pix= world.jpg&category=World%22 * 'IRAQI LEGAL SYSTEM NEEDS TIME TO RECOVER' Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 5th October BAGHDAD, 5 October 2003 (Reuters): Much still needs to be done to rebuild a functioning legal system in Iraq after the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the months of lawlessness that followed, Iraq's justice minister said yesterday. "In any country where such a major political collapse takes place, the legal system cannot restore its activity and stability in such a short period," Hashem Al-Shibli told Reuters. "We are in an exceptional situation and only a few months have passed since the formation of the new state." But he said judges who persevered despite the former government's efforts to undermine judicial impartiality were helping Iraq's courts to get back to work gradually. Shibli said the authorities in Iraq were working on laws governing the jurisdiction of a special court set up to rule on crimes and human rights by members of Saddam's regime. "It will specify these crimes ... and will also set up special investigative courts to hear crimes committed by the old regime," he said. Shibli was speaking after the first postwar meeting of Iraq's Judicial Council, the country's top judicial body which was disbanded in 1977 during the rule of Saddam's Baath Party. The council is made up of top judges and prosecutors, many of whom also served under Saddam. Ministry of Justice sources said most of the senior judges in civil courts who served during Saddam's rule have been reinstated back in their jobs. "We thank ambassador (Paul) Bremer for his enthusiasm in reconstituting this judicial council in a record period," said Midhat Al-Mahmoud, the new head of the council. "This is a great victory for justice ... and a bright spot in the history of Iraqi judiciary that suffered from the old regime's suspension of many of its laws." Iraq's legal system is slowly recovering from the chaos that ensued after Saddam was toppled in April. Most prewar case files have been retrieved despite large-scale looting of the main Justice Ministry complex. Although many courts have resumed work, many ordinary people complain about slowness in delivering justice. Some Iraqis also complain that US troops working alongside Iraqi police are often too lenient with criminals. Detainees held by the US military for attacks on their troops were outside the jurisdiction of Iraqi law, Shibli said. [.....] http://www.arabnews.com/?page=6§ion=0&article=33199&d=7&m=10&y=2003&pix= business.jpg&category=Business * IRAQ AWARDS MOBILE NETWORK CONTRACTS by Hala Boncompagni Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 7th October BAGHDAD, 7 October 2003 (AFP): Iraq yesterday awarded its first national mobile telephone network contracts to Egypt's Orascom, Atheer Tel and Asia Cell, both largely Kuwaiti owned, saying it expected the long-awaited GSM service to begin by the end of the month. "The companies that will bring Iraq world class mobile communications are in the northern region Asia Cell consortium; in the central region Orascom and in the south Atheer Tel," interim Telecommunication's Minister Haidar Al-Abbadi said. "The service should start in a few weeks. We have been told by the end of the month," Abbadi told a news conference. A mobile phone network was impossible to set up in Iraq during the 1990s due to UN imposed trade sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein's deposed regime. Orascom Telecom Holdings SAE is owned by Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris and members of his family. Its other main investors are Alaa El-Khawaja and Allied SA Ltd. Asia Cell Telecommunication Co. Ltd. was set up in 1999 and primary investors include Wataniya Telecom of Kuwait and the United Gulf Bank, a spokesman said. The company already has 55,000 subscribers in northern Iraq, the spokesman told AFP, adding that its new contract will expand its territory to cover the major population centers of Dohuk, Mosul, Arbil, Sulaimaniyah, Kirkuk and Tikrit. He said the infrastructure would have to be in place within 20 days, but predicted service would start only within two months. Atheer Telecom Iraq, which will cover the southern region of the country, has three primary investors: Mobile Telecommunications Company of Kuwait, Dijla Telecommunications Corporation of Iraq and Kuwait's Khorafi National construction company. Abbadi stressed that one of the main criterion in selecting the companies ensuring they had Iraqi shareholders or participants. For the selected companies the level of Iraqi participation was between 10 and 50 percent, he said. He said the winners of the contracts were chosen from among 35 companies which submitted more than 100 bids. "This is an impressive demonstration of belief by the international business community in the future of Iraq and its prospects for building a robust economy," Abbadi said. He stressed the mobile network would strengthen the war-torn country's security. "This will enhance the security of the country," he said, referring to spotty nationwide communications since US forces entered the country six months ago and the chaos which followed. Out of Iraq's 1.1 million land phone lines, not including Kurdistan, 259,000 were rendered inoperable during the war, while 841,000 are functioning. NO URL * BACK TO SCHOOL, NO ANTI-OCCUPATION BOOKS Islam on Line, 2nd October Some six million Iraqi students went back to school Wednesday, October 1, testing their first school year under the U.S.-led occupation, with no geography, national education or history books, which used to address the struggle of Arab countries against foreign occupation. Fearing the state of lawlessness and anarchy plaguing the country since the fall of Baghdad on April 9, most of the parents escorted their children to schools. "The Ministry of Education contracted local, Arab and foreign printing houses to print more than 70 million books to be distributed among students," Ismail Yehia Abdullah Al-Elwan, a ministry director general, told IslamOnline.net. "All books have been printed except for those related to social studies," he underlined. On the changes introduced to the books, the Iraqi official asserted that with respect to scientific books "the only change was removing pictures of (ousted president) Saddam Hussein, the so-called the leader commandments and the Baath slogans." Replying to a question on social studies (history and geography) books, Al-Elwan said "ministry officials have assigned this task to both UNICEF and UNESCO." With respect to Islamic education curriculum, the Iraqi official maintained that "no changes have been made because this is a very sensitive issue and no one can interfered." An Iraqi social studies expert, who declined to put his name, told IOL that the decision by the American supervisor of the Education Ministry to postpone the distribution of history books in particular is because such books includes "anti-occupation ideas." "For example, the history book of the sixth primary grade includes, in seven of its sections, a review of western occupation of the Arab world by Britain, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. It also deals with Arab liberation movements that led to independence," he averred. The Iraqi expert expected the U.S.-led occupation authority to include the name of Israel on maps in the school geography books. An Israeli center said to be specialized in Mid Eastern studies was opened in the occupied Iraqi capital Baghdad, in a provocative move seen by Iraqi academics as the beginning of an Israeli scheme to infiltrate the Iraqi society. Just as Iraqis have previously protested employing foreigners in oil-related projects since the fall of Baghdad, it seems Iraqi printing houses had a tiny slice of the books printing cake. IslamOnline.net learnt that UNESCO and UNICEF had direct supervision on the printing of some 70 million books for the primary, intermediate and secondary stages. Only 17 millions books were printed by Iraqi printing houses, while the remaining bulk was printed in Britain, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait; a matter that irked owners of Iraqi printing houses. Eng. Mowafaq Abu Hamra, owner of a Baghdad print house, told IOL his was one of 14 Iraqi print houses contracted to print some of the scientific books. He affirmed that the pictures and sayings of the deposed president have been completely removed from all scientific books printed in his printing house. Abu Hamra also added he signed a contract with UNICEF to print history and geography books within 45 days, but asserted: "I do not know what kind of changes will be made." Iraqi education ministry has abolished the national education curriculum, any mention of Saddam. GENERAL REFLECTIONS http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/01_10_03_b.asp * 'IRAQ IS NOT A LOST BATTLE. WE SHOULD NOT SIT IDLE' by Isam al-Khafaji Lebanon Daily Star, 1st October In 1978, a young left-wing intellectual was forced to flee Baghdad. Twenty-five years later, he returned - but the fight is not over As a young faculty member and a left-wing intellectual, Isam al-Khafaji was forced to leave Iraq in 1978 during campaigns of forced Baathification in higher education and repression of the left. Between that year and the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, Khafaji entered Iraq several times clandestinely, but never his native Baghdad. He taught at the University of Amsterdam. In 2002, Khafaji participated in the State Department Future of Iraq workshops - 18 in total - including the "mother of all workshops," entitled Transition to Democracy. Later, he accepted the Pentagon's invitation to be a member of the Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council (IRDC). On May 9, Khafaji went to Baghdad as one of around 140 expatriates recruited to assist the US with post-war reconstruction planning. Exactly two months later, extremely frustrated about US reluctance to share policymaking duties, he submitted his resignation to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Khafaji is now working to establish a social science research center in Baghdad. Paul Aarts, lecturer in international relations at the University of Amsterdam, spoke with him on Aug. 18, 2003, in Uithoorn, the Netherlands. Q: What made you decide to participate in the workshops and later join the IRDC in Iraq? A: I hate to say that we on the left sometimes take a hypocritical approach of watching events and denouncing "plots of imperialism" without putting our hands into the filth of everyday work. I had no illusions that I was going to change things, but at least I could try to make my voice heard. To participate in the IRDC was the most difficult decision I have made in my life. It was particularly my son and my wife who encouraged me to take this job. Was I pleased to do it? No, but I felt that my country was being shaped and that I should take part in it. Q: Since then, have you yourself been seen as some kind of collaborator? A: No, not really. The fact that people get killed - both American soldiers and Iraqi civilians - doesn't mean that there is a popular Iraqi resistance. This is no Vietnam. There are very few Iraqis being killed because there are seen as collaborators, and the number of American casualties is also very low. If you asked Iraqis whether US troops should leave, the vast majority would say no. On the other hand, the rising number of attacks has already forced the Americans to swallow much, not all, of their arrogance. But is this "resistance?" No. Sometimes we confuse our emotions with the facts. A real popular resistance does not end up with one or two dead a day - with my deep sorrow for each life lost. If this were popular resistance, there would be something like 50 dead a day. Q: Don't you think that most Iraqis would favor a UN presence instead of US-British occupation forces? A: I have asked myself whether I should take that position. But don't forget that the UN has an extremely bad reputation among Iraqis. For 12 years, the UN has been seen as the strangler of the people and as a corrupt organization. If you asked Iraqis about a multinational force, the answer would depend on which countries would be part of it. The most terrifying thing is that Arabs would come - not because of some isolationist Iraqi attitude. Iraqis remember that the Arab regimes have defended Saddam. Up until now they are defending him. Q: What were your initial expectations of the IRDC and when did you get frustrated about its activities? A: This council was a technocratic, not a political, organ. One of its ostensible main functions is to overhaul the state structure and bring in honest, independent people who had been working inside. But we faced two opposing tendencies within the Bush administration, both of which have appendages among Iraqi political organizations. One trend is the State Department, the CIA and "its Iraqis," who wanted to keep changes as limited as possible. We knew that before the war, when they talked about regime change, they never inserted the word "democratic." The other trend is represented by the Pentagon and its people, mainly the Iraqi National Congress led by Ahmed Chalabi. They had an opposite view, which is no less dangerous and today, under Paul Bremer, it is being put into practice, unfortunately. Although it is correct to label the former regime as a Nazi-type regime, it is wrong to draw from that the conclusion that you need to eradicate all former Baathists. Not all of them have been bastards! Here, in particular, we felt disappointed. We thought we would give advice on which former Baathists would be acceptable. But Bremer's blanket de Baathification did not allow for much advice. Q: Does that mean that you were not really advisers? A: In all fairness, I must say that I was consulted many times and on many issues. But it is one thing to pick up a phone and ask, "What do you think of this person?" - which was done from the uppermost level in the palace (occupied by the Coalition Provisional Authority) down to the lower levels - and being treated as a real adviser. We reached a point where we started asking ourselves: Are we informers or advisers? Being an adviser means that you sit around the committee table devising the orders, but we were implementing orders without being consulted in their devising. So we were not seen as advisers, let alone as decision-makers. All the big decisions - dissolving the Iraqi army and the security apparatus, privatization, oil policy, the banking system, the restructuring of the media - were made behind closed doors. Q: Did you have illusions, before joining the council, that you would have a voice? A: I want to criticize the use of the word "illusion." It's unfair to say that our being shunted aside was a foregone conclusion, because it wasn't. Let me explain. It's one thing to say that there were bad intentions; it's another to say that it was all foredoomed from the beginning. Our thinking was like this: We Arabs, we Middle Easterners, we always talked about what the others want from us; we never tried to think what do we want ourselves. Now (the war) was coming, whether we liked it or not, can't we find at least a temporary modus vivendi with what's going on in order to influence it? Was it possible? Yes, it was possible. Q: What is it that has made you so optimistic? A: There was a trend within the Bush administration, especially during the first days of the war when the fighting was fierce, toward thinking that the war would take months and months. In that context, it was supposed that US forces, after reaching Baghdad, would meet a hostile population. So Iraqis would be badly needed to handle that situation. Given these circumstances, we did have the thought - not the "illusion" - that we could effect change for the better. Regrettably, we fell victim to the ease with which the military campaign was conducted. Because of this and because of the euphoric mood after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Americans thought: What's the need for Iraqis? We can do it on our own. This is where it went wrong. Q: You sent your letter of resignation to Paul Wolfowitz. What is your opinion about his views on the Middle East? In an interview, you hailed him as "visionary." A: Compared to most politicians, he is a great visionary. Of course, you don't have to share his vision, but when considering your opponents, you have to admit their points of strength. I am not comparing Wolfowitz to Saddam Hussein, but can't I say that Saddam Hussein is a great tactician without loving him?You have to admit that Wolfowitz does not fit into the stereotype of politicians who are driven by votes and other mundane interests. He is not like Dick Cheney. Now that is a man of the multinational corporations, who answers to their interests in a very trivial sense of the word. Q: What about the particularities of Wolfowitz's "vision" for the Arab world? A: Let's admit that right-wing visionaries can thrive when the left has resigned its visionary role of changing the world. This became clear to me in 1997 when the Middle East Institute in Washington organized a conference on the future of Iraq in which Wolfowitz participated. In the closing session, we ended up with all the cliches about the instability in the Middle East. Then Wolfowitz asked for the floor, and began by saying that "in 1970, there was Hafez Assad in Syria and now there is Hafez Assad. In 1968, there was the Baath in Iraq and now there is the Baath in Iraq. In 1968, there was Yasser Arafat and now there is Yasser Arafat - what a dreadful stability!" I was saddened and happy at the same time. Isn't that what the left should have said? How is it that we turned into such a reactionary force fearing for the stability of the Middle Eastern regimes? Certainly, the Middle East is a region ripe for change, although the left and right differ on the mechanisms of change and where change should lead. Q: Let's talk about mechanisms which have been employed after the war. Are Iraqis better off under Bremer than they were under Jay Garner? A: I think that's correct. Garner installed an extremely arrogant regime under which large numbers of Iraqis were humiliated. More importantly, Garner and his team were much too focused on keeping "stability," which implied no de-Baathification. The word even became taboo, at a moment when every Iraqi was expecting drastic changes. In those days, people started even seeing a plot between Saddam Hussein and the Americans - evoking memories of the failed 1991 uprising. When Bremer came, it was a happy day. But soon it turned out that Bremer's approach of full de-Baathification was no less erroneous. A lot of Iraqis were alienated and the conditions for a civil war were laid. His famous decree to demobilize the army was issued without taking notice of the fact that no less than 60 percent of the population was already unemployed. By demobilizing the army, he added 400,000 people to their ranks. Multiply that number by four (the average family size) and you have 1.6 million people thrown into the streets. Dissolving the army was a big crime. Only after the officers started to protest did Bremer's staff come to us to ask what they should do. We were never consulted beforehand. Q: The Iraqi Governing Council installed by the Coalition Provisional Authority is sometimes described as "a closed circle of collaborators." I presume you don't share that view? A: No, I certainly do not. I have the greatest respect for some of the council's members, both on a personal level and because of what they represent politically. What would you have expected these people to do? Just sit in their homes and talk about occupation? That does not mean, however, that this council is the best one we could have. First and foremost, there is a problem of lacking domestic constituency - with some exceptions of course. Most members do not have any leverage. I fear they will be played against one another. Finally, I must say that the large number of members from the formerly exiled opposition parties is a scandal. In many ways, the inside-outside "divide" is nonsense, but in this instance it is applicable. Q: Is post-Saddam Iraq lacking in independent institutions or associations that could serve as agents of governance and transformation? Is it inevitable that tribal, ethnic and religious identities will predominate? Some speak about "creeping Talebanization." A: These views are overstated. Under the Baath regime, the population was atomized. All kinds of day-to-day social relations have come about, mainly on the basis of mutual interest. People don't go to the mullah because they are believers - it is a relationship of interests. Besides, I have met wonderful administrators and engineers who were the product of the past 35 years and they have reached a point where they themselves realized the importance of democracy. They are talking about it. One can see many mid-level businessmen who want to share modernizing ideas. I can see an Iraq in which tribalism is all but dead in the five major cities, which hold 12 million people out of nearly 30 million. "Tribalism" has mostly become nothing more than a marriage of convenience. Concerning the so-called return of religion, I don't deny that Iraqi society - like many others - has become more conservative. But conservatism is not Islamism. Many people are treating the Islamic leaders as political figures rather than as representatives of God. What you can see in Iraq these days, unlike the situation in Egypt, for instance, is that people are making fun of or criticizing these leaders, just as happens with any political leader. There is no fear of the aura of the turban. There is much talk about "fundamentalism," but the only thing that worries me is Wahhabi influence through money coming from Saudi Arabia, not necessarily through official channels. What may happen is the following: the typical Baathist, believing in the "old" ideology and coming from a provincial background, might indeed adopt some kind of fundamentalist Sunni Islam. But to speak of "creeping Talebanization" is too much. Without reducing everything to economics, it all depends on improving everyday life. Q: Regarding economics, were you consulted regarding the issue of privatization? A: Yes, I suggested that the issue of privatization should be lifted above the ideological combat of capitalism versus socialism. There is a kind of privatization that can lead to a mafia type of (market) economy and that's where the worst type of fundamentalism would have a chance. So one should not follow a policy of blanket privatization just because it is fashionable. One should try to create an atmosphere where maximizing your profit - the prime motive for every capitalist - in productive assets is possible, but privatization must be done case by case, because of the consequences of growing unemployment. Banking and financial markets should also be kept under strict state control, creating, for a while, a partly protected market as in South Korea and Taiwan. This is crucial, because once you open the financial markets, it will be stupid from any capitalist point of view to invest in industry, the airways or the technology sector. Unfortunately, I can't see that happening in Iraq. We already have 16 private banks. So far it is unclear what the CPA is doing, and that is very frustrating. Q: What about the oil industry? A: Here I made the suggestion, and this may surprise you, that we should go back to the way Iraqi oil was dealt with during the monarchy. Oil was still in the hands of the state, international companies received concessions and, more importantly, there was a law stipulating that 70 percent of oil revenues be in the hands of what was called the Construction Board. The Cabinet was not allowed to use that money for the budget - only the remaining 30 percent - restraining it from abusing the oil money. The question is: Can we establish an independent, autonomous body that controls 70 percent of oil revenues for investment purposes only? I think we can do it. It will not be easy. There are a lot of businessmen who want to make a quick profit, but who is interested in industrializing Iraq? Here I draw confidence from the fact that there is a growing number of people - modernized, secular, with a pan-Iraqi ootlook and often in their 30s - who are disenchanted with the present situation. Again, don't look at the mullahs and sheikhs, and say, "This is Iraq." The "70-30" formula is not yet part of any blueprint for Iraq's oil policy, but the idea is floating around. Q: What are the CPA's ideas on oil policy? A: There is no oil policy under Bremer. From day one, everybody was told that oil policy comes from the White House. You may remember the fact the Oil Ministry was the only one which was well-protected during the days of looting, and that's why we jokingly asked the Americans: "Do you expect to find oil under the ministry?" Here Dick Cheney comes in, with Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR). The tentacles of KBR are everywhere in Iraq! Q: You seem to be remaining quite optimistic. A: If you asked me if Iraq is a lost battle, I would say no. Let's not lose confidence in our people. We should not sit idle. The point is that an old system is dead. We should not repeat the mistake of the Egyptian left - and many other leftists - in speaking about "the good old days." The old days were no good. What we have to work on now is not only to denounce what the Americans bring forward, but develop our own, new plans. These plans should, of course, be realistic and mobilize the people. This includes the "70-30" formula. Isam al-Khafaji, a contributing editor of Middle East Report, from which this article is reprinted with permission, is an Iraqi social scientist NO URL * WHY WE ARE WINNING IN IRAQ by Frank J Gaffney Jr. FrontPageMagazine.com, 30th September The characterization of the post-war situation in Iraq as a "failure" - or, even a "miserable" one - has become so frequently and so vociferously applied that an observer could be forgiven for believing it is accurate. It is not. I have just returned from a trip facilitated by the U.S. military to Baghdad, Mosul and Tikrit, among other places in Iraq. The visit featured in-depth briefings by senior American and Coalition civilian and military leaders, informal conversations with them and their subordinates and a chance to interact with a number of Iraqi interim national, regional and local officials. Like most others who have had a first-hand chance to take stock of the situation (to date, executive branch officials and a number of legislators), I have concluded that - far from a failure - the U.S.- led effort to consolidate a Free Iraq is on a decided, if still tentative, trajectory for success. This conclusion is supported by the following observations:  An improving military situation: Each of the commanders with whom our delegation of high-ranking retired U.S. officers and civilian national security experts met - from the man responsible for the Iraqi theater, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez on down - expressed confidence that the military situation in their areas of responsibility was satisfactory and improving. To be sure, each was experiencing incidents of various kinds and was prepared for the possibility of a further intensification of the fighting in their sectors. Still, they see evidence of the success of the Coalition's operations against former regime loyalists in the latters' increasing reliance upon indirect attacks, involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mortars. While these strikes often entail some casualties, they do not, in and of themselves, pose a significant military threat. Rather, they seem intended by an enemy on the defensive to show its continued relevance - in the face of much evidence to the contrary - by bloodying Coalition forces. To the extent that such attacks sometimes actually wind up killing innocent Iraqis instead, they seem to be further weakening what little support remains even in Sunni-dominated central Iraq for Saddam Hussein's regime and its operatives. The relatively recent introduction of foreign fighters, principally radical Wahhabi and other Islamists crossing into Iraq from Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia is another complicating factor. At present, however, the numbers of such "mujahedeen" have been too small to constitute a real security problem. Whether they will do so in the future will depend fundamentally on the most important task at hand - standing up Iraqi security forces - and the Coalition's ability to support them properly.  An Ever-greater Iraqi "Face": Civilians in the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and its military counterparts are seized with the urgency of recruiting, training and empowering Iraqi personnel to take responsibility for their country's security. Real progress is being made on this front, too. Specifically, Iraqi police are now patrolling with American forces in many areas and responding to "112" calls - their newly established equivalent to the American 911 emergency number. Iraqis are also joining a Civil Defense Corps, assuming responsibilities for protecting pipelines, electrical grids and other high-value assets and manning border posts. Their presence has not only freed up American and other Coalition forces for missions they are better suited to perform. The Iraqi "face" presented to their countrymen has also greatly improved the availability, quantity and quality of intelligence needed to avert enemy attacks and eliminate those who would mount them.  Success in Reconstructing Iraq: Perhaps most importantly, as the security situation steadily improves, significant achievements are being made in rebuilding the country. Critical to these successes have been the industriousness and innovation of Iraqi engineers, scientists, technicians and laborers. For decades, their skills were largely suppressed - or at least not rewarded - by the Baathist regime. Now they are being turned loose, with transformative effects. No less important, however, has been the intrepidness of American officers responsible for the various military regions of Iraq in identifying and enabling projects that are making a real and rapid difference in the Iraqi people's lives. Naturally, the restoration of Iraq's dilapidated and poorly maintained power, oil, water and sewage infrastructures have been a primary focus of such efforts. As we flew over much of Iraq on successive nights, however, the effects of work aimed at restoring electricity were palpable as illuminated cities and towns were visible across the country. Other, more prosaic, but no less palpable, achievements are also making a difference. Roads are being reopened, bridges rebuilt, schools by the thousands refurbished and equipped with books, pencils, paper and other necessary educational tools. Looted government buildings are getting rapidly overhauled and turned over to what are, in many cases, elected city councils, mayors and governors who are earning the confidence and support of their constituencies. Absolutely critical to these successes, however, has been something called the Commanders' Emergency Relief Fund (CERF). CERF monies have afforded senior officers the latitude and the wherewithal to spend tens of millions of dollars - to this point, all of it drawn from Saddam's frozen assets in the United States or recovered in- country from the Iraqi regime - to finance or kick-start projects in their areas of responsibility. One such commander, Major General David Petraeus, storied commander of the 101st Airborne, is fond of saying that in Iraq today, "money is ammunition." When he was told that it would take $23 million to restart an immense concrete factory near Mosul, he provided a small fraction of that amount in seed money from his CERF fund. To their credit, the Iraqis were thus able to prime the pump; the plant is now in business, employing large numbers of Iraqis and producing vast quantities of a key ingredient in their country's reconstruction. Unfortunately, Gen. Petraeus and his counterparts are rapidly running out of such "ammunition." Haggling over replenishing their CERF funds, whether in Washington or at Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters in Baghdad, risks denying these brilliant commanders their most important resource for consolidating the liberation of Iraq and lubricating necessary reconciliation among its long- suffering peoples. It likely will prove calamitous if new projects like the Mosul cement factory are not nurtured in the future and grounds thus denied for hope of further progress - particularly with respect to the employment of more and more Iraqis and the improvement of their quality of life. Even worse would be for projects already launched to lose their funding, thereby underminingthe trust in America being so painstakingly restored after our failure to eliminate Saddam twelve years before.  The Iraqis Can Get By Without the UN: The situation in Iraq does not "require" the help of the United Nations. If anything, Iraqis we talked to expressed little appetite to have the UN play a significant role in their country, apart perhaps from facilitating the provision of humanitarian relief. As one regional governor put it, the UN lacks the equipment, the wealth, the power or the credibility to replace the United States as the midwife for Iraq's freedom. Not unreasonably, it appears that the last thing most of the Iraqi people want is for a nation that has these attributes and that undertook to liberate them - in the face of persistent UN opposition - to leave their fate to the tender mercies of those who supported Saddam's regime. The possibility that the accomplishments that underpin this guardedly up-beat assessment could be easily undone at this juncture should not be allowed to diminish their reality. Neither should they discourage us from building quickly upon our success to date. More than one of our interlocutors - Iraqi, American and allied alike - impressed upon our delegation that we are in a race against the clock. The forces of tyranny (secular or Islamist), of civil strife and chaos are anxious to defeat us and, by so doing, to deny the people of Iraq, those of the region and, for that matter, the world, a very different model of an Arab Muslim nation. For the next six months to perhaps a year, we have a window of opportunity to help Iraqis consolidate their freedom and become in their own way what President Reagan used to call "a shining city on the hill." While the costs associated with continuing on the present trajectory are significant, they pale by comparison with the certain costs of failure. We simply cannot afford to permit the liberation of Iraq to become what surely is not now - a miserable failure. Frank J. Gaffney Jr. formerly held senior positions in the Reagan Defense Department. He is currently the President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1055766,00.html * A LAND RULED BY CHAOS by Suzanne Goldenberg The Guardian, 4th October [.....] Gratitude at having been freed from Saddam has given way to resentment and mistrust in a part of Iraq that could never remotely be considered as Ba'ath country. Compared with Baghdad, the south is an occupation success story. Apart from Basra, where there have been sporadic attacks on British forces, the foreign troops in the south operate in relative security. None of the towns has a night curfew and, aside from in Basra, there was relatively little looting at the end of the war. In Nassiriya, the first town in Iraq with 24-hour electricity, Italian soldiers patrol without helmets. There has never been an attack on US forces there. And for good reason. Almost every person I met along the way had had a member of their immediate family jailed or executed by the regime, or had been jailed themselves. Some were exiled, but returned in the wake of the US invasion with their hopes for a new Iraq. All were thankful to be rid of Saddam, but months after that cataclysmic event they detect few dividends from the occupation. "You have done very little for the people of Iraq," says Salaam Daoud Salaam, an English teacher in Basra. "Yes, you removed that man from power - a very good thing. But what about the rest? We haven't felt that meaning of liberty. It lasted just for a few days, but then our suffering is coming back." Benefits, when they did arrive - a partial restoration of electricity, and a gradual reduction in crime - were seen as miserly and overdue, a betrayal of the promises made by Britain and America to build a new Iraq, prosperous, modern, and free. Saddam's Republic of Fear, the mechanism of iron controls that held the state together, was gone, but its replacement is a violent chaos. The void created by the defeat of Saddam's highly centralised one-party regime has empowered religious extremists, political gangs, tribal chieftains, criminals and speculators, the venal and the corrupt. These are the men profiting in the new Iraq. The knock at the door at night is no longer a member of Saddam's secret police, but it could very well be an armed robber, an enforcer from a political faction, or an enemy intent on revenge. [.....] Longing for the stability of old is never far from the surface in Iraq, and understandable in the present chaos. But it is not mere nostalgia. My next stop is beneath a burlap tent where a tribal chieftain, Ali al-Ghazi, is holding court, peeling off $100 bills for supplicants and overseeing the preparations for lunch for 300. In these parts, near the town of Nassiriya, there is no more powerful authority. The town straddling the Euphrates saw the first serious clashes of the war on March 23, when US convoys were ambushed and 18 troops were killed. A few months before the war, Mr Ghazi threw in his lot with the US invaders. His men, equipped with Thuraya satellite phones from the Americans, fed information on Iraqi troop positions to the CIA, and his brother, Taysir, took two bul lets in the shoulder around the time the convoy was attacked. Now, it is payback time. After suffering in a neglected backwater during Saddam's time, Nassiriya's new rulers have yet to appoint a provincial governor, or to consolidate a new police force. The local elected council has no money. That has given the Ghazis and other tribal leaders a free run as arbiters of disputes, and dispensers of justice according to the ancient tribal laws of revenge and retribution. In the months since the war, the clans have sanctioned the revenge killings of about 50 Ba'athists in Nassiriya. There would have been far more but for the new-fangled notion of settling old scores with cash. [.....] No one dares to challenge the threat to the emerging institutions of Iraq. Instead, the power of the tribes is being reinforced and legitimised. On this day, a handful of important visitors make their way to Mr Ghazi's tent: two British representatives from the provisional administration, and Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a physician who returned from London to become a member of the Iraqi governing council. "The centre has no influence, not compared to the previous regime, so we are trying to give them that sense that there is a government," Mr Rubaie says. "What I came here for first is to show that the IGC cares." What he came for second was to formalise a tribal role in the police force, or at least extract a promise from the tribes to obey the law. Mr Ghazi is unimpressed. "We, we will keep order and security in our region," he says, and dismisses the IGC. "We have no need for them. They have need for us." [.....] A few mornings ago, the armed followers of a relatively upstart cleric called Muqtada al Sadr turned up at a shrine in the adjoining town of Kufa. As pilgrims watched aghast, the thugs from Sadr's so-called Mahdi army beat and chased away the men who have been hereditary custodians for the site as long as anyone in Najaf can remember. They then took control of the strongbox where donations from pilgrims are gathered, shearing off the three locks from the finance ministry, the community charitable trust and the keepers, which had served to regulate the funds for years. The bonanza was estimated to be worth several million dinars a week, enough for a steady supply of AK-47s. All of Najaf is talking about the affront. Locals, or at least the wealthy ones, see Sadr's followers as an ill-bred rabble, because he draws much of his support from the poor slums of Baghdad. In the wake of the takeover, there is talk of a full-on battle for supremacy between the upstart cleric and more established religious leaders. "No one tried to usurp us, not even Saddam himself," says Ali al-Kufi, one of the hereditary keepers of the shrine. But in the new Najaf, there was no one equipped to stop them - not the police, and certainly not the clerics, who are engaged in their own power grabs. "The destruction didn't happen only to Iraq as a state, but it touched their very souls," Mr Ageli sighs. "We can rebuild the state of Iraq, but for our souls there is no way." Ali seizes the moment: "Does this mean we can go back to Syria or Iran?" he asks. After the social fragmentation of Basra, Najaf and Nassiriya, I had been looking forward to Hilla. Built near the ancient ruins of Babylon, the town lies on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, within striking distance of Baghdad. The US forces forded the Euphrates on March 31, moving swiftly to take the capital's airport on April 3, and consolidating their hold six days later. While Baghdad descended into violence and looting, the people of Hilla took their destiny into their hands. They looked to the future as well as the past, establishing a local administration and setting up a commission to excavate the mass graves outside town, perhaps the largest collection of Saddam's murdered victims. Ask anyone in Hilla, and they will say: "You can't find a city better than this." Police patrol at every junction, the criminals are on the run. Power remains intermittent, but adroit management of supply has allowed the factories to get back to work. On the edges of town, the vast Babylon textile mills, with 2,800 employees, have rumbled back into production, although they are running at half capacity. In the centre of town, at the blue and white-striped headquarters of the Babylon governate which houses the department of martyrs and missing persons, Captain Amer Mahmoud al Shemari toils into the night. It is hard to know what prepared Mr Shemari for this job in his previous existence. He fled Iraq on a forged passport in 1985 after completing his military service. He returned two days before the start of the war, confident that Saddam would fall. During the intervening years, he lived in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, Oman, Iran and Dubai. He worked at a factory making oil soap (in Jordan), as a car mechanic (Syria), and as a secretary (Dubai). During his first full month of work in Iraq, last May, he oversaw the first exhumation of Hilla's mass graves, a time when they were digging up 100 to 150 corpses a day. Most were young men, seized at random and killed without trial or mercy after Saddam's troops reasserted their control over Hilla following the 1991 uprising. But workers also dug up the corpses of old men, and of women clutching their babies in the folds of their now crumbling abbayas. That particular grisly task has stopped now. Mr Shameri says he can not continue digging without proper equipment. There are about half a dozen additional gravesites around Hilla. At the first site unearthed, at the back of a farm north of Hilla, the unidentified dead have been reburied, with their bloodied scraps of clothes placed atop small mounds of earth. [.....] The neighbourhood of Nuab Dubat is a dreary row of hovels built to house the soldiers from the adjacent Iraqi army base. One is the home of Ali al-Meyahi, who was a member of the Republican Guard, meant to be Iraq's premier force. Like the other 400,000 members of Iraq's army, he lost his job at the end of the war. Now he faces the prospect of losing his home. The base has been taken over by Polish soldiers, and the night before three mortars intended for those forces landed practically on Mr Meyahi's doorstep. Shrapnel perforated the blue front door of his house, injuring his son Ahmed, 10, and daughter Safa, 12, who were sitting on the wooden bench at the back of the house. The children were only lightly wounded, but when a Polish soldier looms in the doorway, offering medical treatment at the military ambulance parked outside, Ahmed screams in terror. Mr Meyahi shakes his head. In his 21 years in uniform, he says he was always a reluctant soldier, more so after the regime killed his uncle and a cousin in the purges of 1991. When he was ordered to defend Baghdad, he melted away during the night of shock and awe on March 21, and went home to await the peace. Instead, he lost his job, and watched his finances dwindle. As the months passed, he sold the bedroom set and his wife's jewellery. The family's only assets now are the television and the refrigerator, gifts from his wife's parents. After half a lifetime serving the regime he dreaded, he does not fancy his chances in the new Iraq. "When the war started, we thought our dream would come true, that the coalition would come to liberate us. That is why we left fighting. We were looking forward to having a better situation, but what we have seen until now leaves us without hope," he says. It's hard to shake off the despair that descends as I draw nearer to Baghdad, and the end of the journey. I stop in the town of Mohawil, 30 miles from Baghdad. Last April the troops paused here for just 37 minutes before pushing onwards to victory. The new mayor of Mohawil, Wasil al-Shameli, returned with them from exile in circumstances that he was not prepared to describe. But he offers his explanation for the violence and disorder that has descended on his country. "It's true there was a horrible regime, but there were government departments, and offices working. But after the war and the looting, all the government institutions were destroyed, and it happened suddenly. It left Iraqis feeling naked," he says. "This was also complicated by the fact that we had an entirely military way of change. So of course we have a jungle now, and jungle law." After an elegant dissection of the chaos of the present, Mr Shameli sketches an even more depressing scenario for the future. At his mayor's desk, beneath the empty picture frame that once held a portrait of Saddam, he says he has given up hope of building the political and legal institutions that could transform Iraq into a law-based society. "It will not be a society of institutions because the Americans are allowing tribalism and religious extremists to take part in this society, so of course it will affect the future," he says. "If the forces of modernity retreat in the face of tribalism, it will create another dictator, another Saddam." He pauses. "I am so, so sad. I am so sorry. I am one of those citizens who hoped to build another culture for Iraqi society. Now I have started to feel that we are returning to the 1920s." There seems little more to say, and we take our leave. Mr Shameli invites us to return some day, but he isn't sure how long he will be mayor. [.....] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3158348.stm * IRAQ WILL BE POOR 'FOR YEARS' BBC, 1st October Iraq will remain impoverished for years to come because oil will not fund public spending, aid will fall short of what is needed and few companies will want to invest there, a report leaked to Reuters news agency has said. Even if oil prices are favourable, stability is achieved and debts are largely written off, Iraq's economy will not reach even half the size it was in the 1970s, the US-based Institute of International Finance (IIF) said in a document sent to its members and quoted by Reuters. The grim predictions come as governments and international agencies meet in Madrid to prepare for an Iraq donors' conference later this month. Reconstruction costs in Iraq are estimated to amount to at least $75bn but so far pledges stand at $20bn from the US and a mere $230m from the EU. The IFF - a leading banking body in Washington - did not deny circulating the report quoted by Reuters but refused to comment on its contents. The report said that Iraq's GDP (gross domestic product) per head would not surpass $3,500 in the next 10-15 years. The country's GDP per head reached $7,000 in the late 1970s, but economic mismanagement, three wars and 13 years of sanctions has pushed that to around $1,000 per capita, a level which rates it among the world's poorest countries. Elsewhere in the region, Saudi Arabia, for example, has had GDP per capita of $9,000 over the past five years. Iraq has massive debts which the IIF estimates at $134bn, or 400% of gross domestic product. The report said that assuming an oil price of $25 a barrel in 2004 and oil exports reaching no more than 2.5 million barrels per day by the end of next year, export revenues would be $10bn. "Given that it could take up to $15bn to cover recurrent public expenditure in 2004, this would leave the government with a financing gap of around $5bn," the report said. "If reconstruction costs are added, the public financing gap in 2004 is set to be far larger, perhaps as much as $15 bn," it added. Foreign investment is expected to fill some of the gap, but the IIF said private companies would be reluctant to invest in Iraq until stability is achieved. "Reconstruction is therefore likely to be a slow process, ensuring that Iraq remains a poor country for years to come," the report said. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/03_10_03_c.asp * WELCOME BENIGN US IMPERIALISM by Arnab Neil Sengupta Lebanon Daily Star, 3rd October The way things are going in Congress and at the United Nations, to say nothing of middle class Middle America, don¹t be surprised if US President George W. Bush decides to cut his losses and pull out of Iraq, with or without a UN peacekeeping force in place. For both serving and aspiring autocrats around the world, such a denouement would call for the ³mother of all celebrations.² Although it still remains unlikely, a premature withdrawal from Iraq would mean much more than just loss of face for the global hyperpower or a vindication of multilateralist mush. It could very well mark the end of an era of imperial defense and grand strategy spanning centuries that had kept despotism in check from Burma to Burundi, and that has provided good administration to vast swathes of humanity. It was easy for Third World nationalists and Western liberals to dismiss the invasion of Iraq as a neoconservative folly fraught with unnecessary danger. In this age of human bombs and porous borders, there is no dearth of mass murderers to prove the prophets of doom right. But for 24.5 million Iraqis who had been languishing in a vast prison run by their former president, Saddam Hussein, and his clansmen, their only hope of salvation lay not in the collective will of a timid international community, but in a burst of American hegemonic zeal. Not surprisingly, Iraqis are still grateful to Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for delivering them from Saddam¹s tyranny, as a much-publicized recent Gallup poll confirmed. It would be a tragedy of unimaginable proportions, however, were this imperial mission to founder on the killing fields of Fallujah and Ramadi. It is one thing for Americans to criticize the Bush administration¹s decision to go to war without fully thinking through the consequences. After all, it is their soldiers who are dying every day at the hands of a faceless enemy, and it is their tax dollars - an estimated $1 billion a week - that are going into rebuilding Iraq¹s institutions. But it is quite another thing for outsiders to continue to pick legalistic holes in the idea of intervention as such, given that 67 percent of Iraqis still believe their country will be in better condition in five years time than it was before the war. In justifying the American presence in Iraq, one might be hard-pressed to use the precedent of Britain¹s entry into Mesopotamia in 1917, which was followed after the war by British control over Iraq. But there are plenty of examples of nation-states or societies that took far more out of its occupiers than the occupiers took out of them. A case in point is India. After wasting half a century being obsessed with nationalistic and socialistic ideas, the country is slowly rediscovering the Empire-era virtues of muscular diplomacy and free markets. The social elites, frustrated with mediocre governance and political squabbling, no longer see the 200 years of British rule as a dark chapter in Indian history. Rather, they regard is as, in the words of revisionist historian Niall Ferguson, a spectacular improvement over all that had existed before. On Aug. 15, India¹s Independence Day, New Delhi-based political commentator Swapan Dasgupta wrote in an opinion piece: ³Over the past five decades, under the veneer of puerile anti-imperialism, there has been a contrived repudiation of the (Raj) legacy. It is not this discourtesy of not saying a thank you for shaping all that was good and living within us that counts. What matters is that in turning our back on the British Empire, contemporary India has also turned its back on the institution of Empire. It is this rejection of an idea that is proving costly today.² Iraqis, having suffered a great deal, can avoid the mistakes that other former colonies have paid dearly for. They have a chance to leapfrog from totalitarian Baathism to capitalist democracy under the guidance of the two great powers that have done the most to nurture liberal democracy and free trade. Iraqis will neither have to take a detour through Nasserite nationalism, nor get carried away by the rhetoric of Third World solidarity. They are in a position to set up a police, army, civil service and judiciary in the mold of the developed world, and can write a new constitution and economic laws with the help of the acknowledged masters of these fields. In short, they are being offered the great and the good of temporary colonialism, without the arrogance and the economic exploitation. What¹s more, all of this is coming absolutely free. On the other hand, if, despite the overpowering attractions of a brief spell of imperial rule, the Iraqis¹ defeatist instincts take over, the country could become an inspiration for rogue states and second-rate rulers. From Havana to Harare, from Pyongyang to Rangoon, authoritarian regimes would breathe easier in the belief that, with the US in trouble, they would not have to worry about retribution; nor would their tired and terrified populations be able to count on outside powers coming to their rescue. At the next global talkfest, they and like-minded Western leaders would crow about the ³defeat of pre-emption² and the dawn of a ³new just world order.² To date this remains a worst-case scenario. But, all the same, the fate of benign imperialism is in the balance. Arnab Neil Sengupta is an Indian journalist working in Dubai. He wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk