Thursday, October 13, 2005

Iraqi Political Progress

According to the NYT:
Iraqi political leaders said they had agreed to an important last-minute change in the draft constitution this evening in exchange for a promise by some prominent Sunni Arab leaders to publicly support the document in the nationwide referendum on Saturday.
This is one of the most positive steps in Iraq in quite some time, I must say. Over at Liberals Against Terrorism, Eric Martin says that:
Credit goes to Zalmay Khalilzad, who has proven his mettle as one of the most competent and skilled appointees of the Bush Administration's foreign policy wing. He may not have achieved the broad consensus he wanted, but he was working with intractable problems and managed to compel at least some compromise.
Indeed. Initially, I was worried that Amb. Khalilzad's presense in Afghanistan would be a hinderance to political progress there. But since he's been in Iraq over the past 2 months, he's a very skilled diplomat and has made some, albeit not huge, progress with the seemingly uncompromising Iraqi religious groups. As readers know, I do not advocate a position of "withdrawl now" in the least, the distinction goes to one Matt Yglesias. He argues that since this is a clear example of political progress, it is only the Iraqis that can achieve it and thus "it's largely out of our hands" and we should just leave now. This is one of the most morally bankrupt positions I've seen on the non-radical left in quite some time. Matt chooses to wilfully ignore the fact that this agreement never would've been reached had it not been for the intense pressure brought down on the parties to make something happen. The Shi'ites and Kurds would have never agreed to anything resembling this and instead would've opted for an all out power grab. Matt says that worse comes to worse, "they'll fight a vicious civil war for a while and then work out a way to live peaceably." What a depressing Realist-like position. Do we not have a duty to try everything within our power to stop this civil war from escalating? How would we look in the eyes of history if we abandoned the Iraqi people yet again? Not even mentioning the fact that al Qaeda has laid out it's strategy as clear as day. They want to force a US withdrawl so they can establish a mini-Caliphate in the Anbar, Salahad and Ninawa provinces of Iraq. Once this is done, al Qaeda seeks to spread the jihad Syria and Jordan (it's been simmering in Saudi Arabia for 2 years now). Isn't this something we should be worried about first and foremost? I don't even see how a person who believes in humanitarianism can advocate such a position.