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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 16, 2003

Cooling Down Iraq

Last week I wrote in my weblog that the international community should give the Iraqis time to vent their frustrations and break something. If they don't--the argument goes--we're going to have to pay for the lack of closure in the future. And, in any case, the Iraqis should take responsibility for their liberation by policing their own streets.

Kenan Makiya, an Iraqi activist and leader I very much admire, wrote this in his weblog in The New Republic:
I spoke by sat-phone with friends in Baghdad. According to them, the breakdown of authority familiar to the world is getting better. Citizens groups are forming to keep order in the streets, and meeting little preliminary resistance. People want to be safe, and now that the ministries have been ransacked, it appears the worst of the looting has passed. In Basra, too, I understand these same groups are forming. One friend told me that the looting of the National Museum--something that cut deeply into me--was the work of newly deposed Baathist officials, who had been selling off our patrimony as they saw their days were numbered. As the regime fell, these (ex-)Baathists went back for one last swindle, and took with them treasures that dated back 9,000 years, to the Sumerians and the Babylonians. One final crime perpetrated by Saddam's thugs.
One last crime, but that too will come to pass. It is nice to see a peoples organizing itself so quickly after so many years of violence.