Wednesday, August 27, 2003
::: The Story of the Nine Dancing Pupets :::
::: OR ::: Iraq Has Nine Presidents :::
Another post from River at Baghdad Burning
I am calling her River because that is part of the name where she lives. It is the only name I have for her.
This is the story of the new rotating Governer's Council. The composition of the council is as follows:
The nine-member rotating presidency is a failure at first sight. It’s also a failure at second, third, fourth… and ninth sight. The members of the rotating presidency, composed of 4 Shi’a Muslims, 2 Sunni Muslims and 2 Kurds, were selected on a basis of ethnicity and religion
It was decided that each one of them would get a chance to govern their adoring Iraqi population a month. After several arguments and, I imagine, threats, ultimatums and tantrums, it was decided that each one of the members would get their turn in alphabetical order (the Arabic alphabet).
So here is the cast of the most elaborate puppet show Iraq has ever seen (in order of appearance).
The Puppet: Ibraheim Al-Jaffari
56-year-old head of the Islamic Daawa party who was living in Iran and London.
The Al-Daawa Islamic Party debuted in 1958 as the most prominent Shi’a political movement. Al-Daawa ‘activists’ learned their techniques from an extremist Iranian group known as ‘Fida’yeen El-Islam’ and were distinctive for their use of explosives to make political statements. Universities, schools and recreational centers were often targets.
Ibraheim Al-Jaffari makes me uncomfortable. He isn’t very direct or coherent. He speaks in a suspiciously low voice and has a shifty gaze that never seems to settle on the camera.
The Puppet: Ahmad Al-Chalabi
This guy is a real peach. He is the head of the Iraqi National Congress and heavily backed by the Pentagon. He was a banker who embezzled millions from the Petra Bank in Jordan. My favorite part of his life story is how he escaped from Jordan in the trunk of a car… a modern-day Cleopatra, if you will. When asked if he thinks the war on Iraq was justified, even if WMD aren’t found, he immediately (and rather huffily) replies, “Of course- *I* wouldn’t be sitting here in Iraq if it weren’t for the war…” As if he’s God’s gift to humanity. He’s actually America’s gift to the Iraqi people- the crowning glory of the war, chaos and occupation: the looter of all looters.
Puppet: Iyad Allawi
A former Iraqi intelligence officer, and former Ba’ath member, who was sent to London on a scholarship from the former Ba’athist government. Rumor has it that when the scholarship ran out, he denounced his Ba’ath membership and med the Iraqi National Accord.has been living in London ever since 1971.
Head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The PUK controls the southeastern part of the autonomous Kurdish area in the north. Scintillating rumor on the street: ore he became a ‘leader’, he had a nightclub in Turkey where he was running an illegitimate… umm… we’ll call it an ‘escort service’e truth is that he is the rival of Massoud Berazani, the other leader in the autonomous Kurdish region and ir rivalry would often lead to bloodshed between their supporters. famous quote: “Politics is a whore”.
NOTE: Granny's Added Update ~~ Tragic Bombing on 8-29-03
NAJAF, Iraq (CNN) -- A massive car bomb that claimed the lives of one of Shiite Islam's top clerics and 124 others Friday was the deadliest attack in Iraq since the regime of Saddam Hussein fell and the third in a string of terrorist attacks this month.
Ammar Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, left [picture not included], nephew of prominent cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim -- who was killed in Friday's bombing -- appears at the massive gathering in Najaf on Saturday.
Details included to identify the Ayatollah's nephew as the person killed in the bombing.
Puppet: Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim
uty leader of SCIRI (Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq). He has been in Iran for decades and is the commander of ‘Badir’s Army’ or what is also known as the Badir Brigade- responsible for a lot of the post-war chaos. frightening thing is that there are ors of negotiations between SCIRI and the CPA t allowing the Brigade to be in charge of ‘security’ in some regions.
Puppet: Adnan Al-Pachichi
A Sunni Arab who is- brace yourself- years old (some say it’s 84). as foreign minister for 2 years in the ‘60s. My grandfather remembers him *vaguely*. I’m sorry, but he just looks too weary to be running Iraq. It will be amazing if he makes it to elections. He been outside of Iraq ever since the late ‘60s and seems to know as little about modern Iraq as the Iraqis know about him.
Puppet: Mohsen Abdul Hamid
The secretary of the Islamic Party- a Sunni fundamentalist Islamic group (a branch of the Islamic Brotherhood). another fundamentalist group, but this one was chosen to keep the Sunni fundamentalists quiet.
Puppet: Mohammed Bahr Ul Iloom
Otherwise known as ‘Mohammed Bahr Ul- who???’ Very few people seem to have heard of him. He is a Shi’a Muslim cleric who fled Iraq in 1991. He was in exile in London. He is o in his 80s and his only political qualification seems to be the fact that he fled and considered himself in exile.promptly squelched any chance he had at gaining popularity by being the one selected to declare April 9 the Iraqi National Day.
Puppet: Massoud Berezani
The d of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and rival of Jalal Talabani. He was backed by the US in north Iraq. conflicts with Talabani have ulted in the deaths of thousands of Kurds in bloody battles and assassinations and the exile of others. To see them sitting at the same table, staring adoringly at ‘Father Bremerou would think they had always been the best of friends- it’s a fascinating lesson in politics. A question poses itself: if they couldn’t control a few provinces in the north, how do they expect to be able to govern all of Iraq?
The two Kurdish leaders also control an armed militia known as ‘Bayshmarga’. The Bayshmarga are multitalented. They act as bodyguards, and smugglers. They were caught smuggling cars, currency and artifacts. These last two days there have been clashes between them and the Turkomen in Kirkuk.
The most infuriating thing is hearing Bremer talk about how the members of the rotating presidency represent the Iraqi people. In reality, they represent the CPA and Bremer. They are America’s Puppets (some of them are Iran’s). They do not govern Iraq or Iraqis in any way- they are merely very highly paid translators: Bremer gives the orders and they translate them to an incredulous public. The majority of them were trained using American tax dollars, and now they are being ‘kept’ by the CPA using Iraqi oil money.
It’s a bad start to democracy, being occupied and having your government and potential leaders selected for you by the occupying powers… On the other hand, could we really expect more from a country whose president was ‘appointed’ by the Supreme Court?