In search of the real Iraq

I can’t link to it yet, but the June issue of Commentary contains an excellent piece by Amir Taheri called “The Real Iraq.” Taheri, a scholar who has witnessed Iraq first-hand over the course of 40 years, found upon returning here from a recent visit that he was “confronted with an image of Iraq that is unrecognizable” because the impression one gets in America “grossly … distorts the realities of present-day Iraq.”

Among his findings are these:

Jihadists and residual Baathists] have failed to translate their talent for mayhem and murder into political success. Their campaign has not succeeded in appreciably slowing down, let alone stopping, the country’s democratization. Indeed, at each step along the way, the jihadists and Baathists have seen their self-declared objectives thwarted.

For almost three years, the insurgency worked hard to keep the Arab Sunni community, which accounts for some 15 percent of the population, out of the political process. But that campaign collapsed when millions of Sunnis turned out to vote in the constitutional referendum and in the second general election, which saw almost 11 million Iraqis go to the polls. As I write, all political parties representing the Arab Sunni minority have joined the political process and have strong representation in the new parliament. With the convening of that parliament, and the nomination in April of a new prime minister and a three-man presidential council, the way is open for the formation of a broad-based government of national unity to lead Iraq over the next four years.

The new strategy [of fomenting sectarian violence], like the ones previously tried, has certainly produced many deaths. But despite countless cases of sectarian killings by so-called militias, there is still no sign that the Shiites as a whole will acquiesce in the role assigned them by the insurgency and organize a concerted campaign of nationwide retaliation.

Taheri concludes that the situation in Iraq, though certainly “messy,” is far from the disaster or failure that most Demcrats and their MSM allies depict.

Without visiting Iraq oneself, it’s difficult to form a firm judgment as to the situation there. However, I’m far more inclined to believe Taheri than the Bush-hating, left leaning MSM whose claims now constitute the conventional wisdom.


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