Sunday, January 13, 2008

More on deBaathification

I have to second Libby's suspician that de-Ba'athification is Arabic for "Clear Skies Initiative." As she notes, via Juan Cole, the supporters of the de-Ba'athification measure that passed were the hard-core anti-Ba'athists, the Sadrists and the Kurds who have suffered the most from the Ba'ath party. Much like Tom DeLay believed the perfect vote was 218-217 with a misleading name, the Iraqi Parliament saw 48% of its members not be present on this major piece of 'reconciliation.'

And now the Washington Post reports that the de-Ba'athification bill will put more Sunni Arabs out of work

The new measure could lead to a new purge of members of the current Iraqi government, Lami said, including about 7,000 officers in the Interior Ministry. Even influential Iraqi security force officials who used to be Baathists could face removal.

"The commander of the Baghdad security plan and his assistants, according to the new law, they should retire," he said.

The New York Times is reporting a larger number of potential purgable slots:

One Shiite politician, who spoke on condition that his name not be used, said the new law could forcibly retire up to 27,000 former Baathists, who would receive pensions.

If the intent of a modified de-Ba'athificiation law was to give more former Ba'ath Party members, overwhelmingly Sunni Arabs, stakes in a successful and peaceful Iraq as a unified nation-state, then there are no real stakes being offered here. However looking at the Washington Post report that the head of the Baghdad security plan and his senior leaders, as well as the overwhelming Sadrist and Kurdish support, the intent is to make sure that the Sunni Arab population is marginalized and is never in a position to mount an effective coup becomes much clearer.

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