December 14, 2005

Iraq: Democracy Works

Michael Rubin’s Op-Ed in today’s WSJ Online is as definitive as one can get on the influence of Iraq’s new democracy upon the rest of the Arab world.

The coalition’s ouster of Saddam may have created a template for change, but it is Iraqis who have pressed forward to hold not only Saddam, but also subsequent politicians, to account. On June 28, 2004, Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L. Paul Bremer appointed Iyad Allawi as interim prime minister. Mr. Allawi, a former Baathist, was a favorite of the U.S., British and Jordanian intelligence services. He projected an image of strong leadership to an Iraqi audience craving security. He promised to jumpstart reconstruction. But he failed. Corruption exploded. Iraqis blamed his empowerment of senior Baathists for the spread of insurgency and decline in security. Furthermore, he treated U.S. diplomats, not Iraqis, as his most important constituency. He campaigned surrounded by American security agents. Iraqis had enough. On Jan. 30, millions braved bombs to bounce him from office. Even with the trappings of incumbency–media coverage and a bully pulpit for his campaign–he barely mustered 14%. As Egyptians, Libyans, Tunisians and Syrians watched with envy, Iraqis held a failed incumbent to account.

They will do it again tomorrow. Like Mr. Allawi, current Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari has failed. Local humor is telling. A popular Baghdad joke tells of how he walks into his office to find a rooster, dog and donkey. “I’m here to wake you up so you can do your job,” the rooster crows. “I’m here to provide security,” the dog barks. “Why are you here?” Jaafari asks the donkey. “I don’t know. I’m no different from you,” the donkey brays.

Read the entire story here.

by @ 8:09 pm. Filed under Iraq Success Stories
Trackback URL for this post:

Comments are closed.