The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, December 14, 2003

So, after all, who is running Iraq?

Staying well away from today's breaking news - in accordance with the policy of the blog! - but there is a possible straw in the wind worth noting, I think:

For some months, I've tried to operate a self-denying ordinance on events in Iraq, leaving the situation there well alone, except in cases which could, as it were, be dealt with on the papers, as on a motion for summary judgement.

The story of the girl with thalassemia from Kerbala (or Karbala), as told in the BBC's From Our Own Correspondent (transcript from December 13 programme) I offer merely as evidence worthy of further investigation.

The hack's shtick was to take the girl and her father to meet a local leader from the Daawa Party, and use her to lever somthing on the Party's health policies from the leader.

Suddenly, the meeting turns nasty:
"I want you to know that I'm head of security for the Daawa party", he said. "You must show me your identification. The way you're acting makes me think you're a spy."

The police are called. They
stopped us leaving. "Why?" we asked.

The officer shrugged. "The Daawa party is very powerful", he said. "If they tell us to do something we have to do it."

Naturally, the hack, the girl and her father were soon released. But the piece is some evidence that not only are there gaps in the provision of security, but the security forces that are present are not working solely for the CPA.

Perhaps this de facto kind of indirect rule is inevitable and, perhaps, desirable: the sooner the Iraqis get used to the way things are going to be post-handover, the better.

From the start, power vacuums have been filled in this way: so long as Iraqis can distinguish pious hope from deliverable promise, there's probably no real harm done...

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