Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A "completely false" grievance

The much heralded Iraqi "government of national unity" is already showing signs of strain. The Sunni Iraqi Accord Front (or "Concord" or "Accordance" depending on who you ask) have withdrawn from parliament and threatened to withdraw their ministers from the cabinet after one of their MPs, Tayseer al-Mashhadani, was kidnapped. The Sunni group believes that Shia militias are responsible for the kidnapping.

In the current security climate, sadly, the fragile alliances which eventually bound this government together are under constant pressure. Trust, an essential component of an alliance government, is in short supply. As I've said before, if you can imagine how difficult it would be for Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams to work together in government, and add in an even bloodier history and a backdrop of constant sectarian violence, you'll have some idea of the problems facing Iraq today.

Let's be clear that this has nothing to do with "medieval" nature of Muslims or Arabs. Even after all these years of ceasefire, Adams and Paisely, both "modern" Christians, still can't put aside their distrust and work together. Sectarian tensions, once inflamed, are corrosive in the extreme and enormously difficult to defuse. That's a constant which applies to all human beings.

Today, a deputy minister has been kidnapped.

Again, I must stress that it is irresponsible in the extreme to initiate violence when you've got no idea how it might then be stopped. Whatever you think of the invasion of Iraq, it is surely impossible to dispute that the "coalition" has been grossly negligent in its complete inability to understand how difficult it would be to secure peace. If tens of thousands of western lives had been lost as a result of this horrendous miscalculation, if they were still dying every day, how many people would be prepare to argue that this was simply the result of an acceptable series of tactical errors?

It's almost as if the lives of Muslim Iraqis are worth less than those of Westerners. But in Blair's mind, there is absolutely no chance that this might form the basis of a legitimate grievance. In fact, anyone who thinks it might be, and indeed anyone who doesn't denounce and dismiss such a suggestion at every opportunity, is clearly guilty of not doing enough to root out Islamic extremism...

Blair. Must. Go.

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