Monday, July 30, 2007

The battle for the 7th Floor --- not a parody

I have never been optimistic about 'success' in Iraq where success is defined as a reasonably peaceful, single, non-sectarian nation state that has a viable claim to a near monopoly on the use of force within its writ. The systemic damage to the social fabric from the combination of Hussein's rule, the invasion and the botched job of occupation and Heritage Foundation reconstruction is too severe. And then, while reading Needlenose today, I see this article in the LA Times concerning the 'government' of Iraq's limited reach. The entire story concerns the inter-office conflicts at the Interior Ministry in Baghdad. Remember that everywhere else in the world, the Interior Ministry is the domestic security force and not the National Parks Service administrative bosses.

No floor has posed more of a challenge than the seventh, which houses the intelligence division. . . [which] has been hobbled by a power struggle between two of America's nominal allies in Iraq, the Kurds and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council.

The fight came to a head earlier this year with a death threat against the Kurdish deputy minister in charge of intelligence, Hussein Ali Kamal. The Kurdish leader, who controls the eastern wing of the floor, was battling for control of the intelligence apparatus with his deputy, a Badr militia commander who dominates the western side.

Okay, the Maliki government's major factions and supporters are in near open warfare to control a single floor of a single office building housing one of the more important ministries that needs to be working reasonably efficiently for the stated goals of the surge to be achieved. And this is not a parody or a farce.

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