Exile on Arab street

Our friends at No Left Turns have more on the good news from Iraq, both with respect to the reconstruction and with respect to politics. As to the latter. Peter Schramm is pleased with the selection of Iyad Alawi as Iraqi premier for three reasons: “First, and most important, this guy is a politician–and a reasonable one–with some base. And, he knows how to get others to support him. Note that two Shiite parties, each wanted a different person, and neither would compromise; yet both were willing to go with Alawi. And Sistani approves. Second, this puts an end to the UN’s Brahimi’s attempt to pick a non-politician, a so called technocrat, to be PM. That would have been a bad move. Third, the Iraqis themselves seemed to have pushed Alawi. This means that he seems to not have been imposed by either the Coalition or the UN. The fact that UN was surprised amuses me. They underestimated the Iraqis ability to do politics. They are going to need that ability in the coming years.”
Schramm is less amused by how “unthoughtful and/or prejudiced the U.S. elite media is toward developments in Iraq.” For example, the New York Times and CNN like to identify Alawi as “an exile with ties to the U.S.” This seems to be an an attempt to associate Alawi in the public’s mind with the supposedly discredited Chalabi, as well as an expression of “prejudice against exiles, and most certainly against anyone with American ties.” Schramm notes, however, that “the Iraqis seem to have no such prejudice. By the way, neither did Poles, Hungarians, Estonians, et al, after the fall of Communism. Their cabinets were stuffed with exiles.”


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