The Looming Credibility Crisis of the IIG

Want evidence that Iraq has become the ultimate power vacuum
where the men toting the biggest guns at a given time rule the
hour? Look no further than the squatters who have occupied various
government and military buildings, posh mansions on the Tigris, or
even most of the Green Zone and the Republican Palace (in the case
of the United States army). Christopher Allbritton, author of the
fantastically insightful and independent weblog
Back-To-Iraq, writes that the fledgling Iraqi Interim
Government will have to somehow establish property rights if it is
to gain any legitimacy among the Iraqi people after the June 30
handover date.

‘What is the general populace to take away when they’re forced
from formerly Ba’athist apartments on Abu Niwass street on the
Tigris while their neighbors — who have a lot of guns and can get
audiences with the British ambassador — sit around smoking
excellent Cuban cigars (in the case of Jumaliddin [a former advisor
to occupation czar L. Paul Bremer who has since lost favor with the
Americans]) and thumbing their noses at the law?’ Allbritton asks.
‘And that’s not even mentioning the number of Saddam-era generals
who have decamped to swank apartments formerly held by government
officials. Their location? Scattered throughout the Green Zone
overlooking the trailer parks that currently house a large number
of CPA workers.’

Whether the IIG does or does not act to remove squatters, or if
it does so selectively, brings up the bigger question of Iraqis’
historical relationship to authority. In Allbritton’s most recent
entry he compares them to Texans, ‘taken to an extreme in their
anti-governmental feelings. For 1,400 years, with only one recent
exception in the form of Abdul Kareem Qasim (1958-1963), Iraqis
have felt like their governments are an enemy, according to
Jumaliddin, and fiercely resisted them.’ The irony here is rich.
Allbritton continues: ‘The land that produced the first code of
laws has come to ridicule the idea that laws can govern a populace.
It is the leaders who are the source of power, not the law. And to
many in Iraq, the leaders now are outsiders and thieves … Is this
the legacy of Saddam? Or was Saddam the product of the
Jacob Wheeler

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Looming Credibility Crisis of the IIG

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