Sunday, June 08, 2003

war blog Iraq War updates
And then the cry went up: 'Where are the French?' (8 June 03) in Radio Free USA

I was shocked by poor weapons intelligence -- Blix (07 June 03) in Radio Free USA


Iraq Democracy Watch: "In search of a justice system
A recent UN humanitarian briefing had some encouraging news:  security in Baghdad is improving.
And according to the Guardian , "The number of US troops in Baghdad has been significantly increased in the past fortnight and the number of military police has been doubled."
More work still needs to be done, though, as evidenced in a Middle East Online report saying that, "In the absence of companies that provide security guards, businessmen have to settle for generally lightly armed vigilantes who watch over their premises around the clock. Gangs of looters continue to roam the streets while the bulk of the population goes home early ahead of the nightly curfew in force from 11:00 pm ..."
I've mentioned before the spectre of "a hybrid economy operating with different levels of protection, including home-grown mafia..."  Clearly, this sort of thing is already beginning to evolve.
Human Rights Watch issued a report on security in Basra recently that helps put the current security issues in context.  Key points include:
-- "The reconstitution of an effective legal system in Iraq is even farther behind than the regeneration of a police force. ... It remains unclear how and when a proper legal system will be implemented in Iraq."
-- Attempts to create a local police force have proceded "with little or no guidance or coordination at the national level"
-- "As of the time of writing, local courts were only tentatively being reconstituted in al-?Amara, and were not yet operational in other cities in southern Iraq."
-- "The persistent looting and lawlessness in Basra and across the south of Iraq is aggravated by the inability of coalition forces to prosecute and imprison criminals systematically."
-- "To add to the general confusion and lack of coordination, British and U.S. forces in southern Iraq are not using the same legal process for detaining people."
Remember that the Shi'ite clergy has set up a de facto judicial system... although that's not necessarily enough for foreign businesses wanting to set up shop in Iraq.  A Jordan Times article assesses risks and benefits for Jordanian businesses investing in Iraq, summarizing the former by saying that, "companies investing in Iraq or trying to do business there will be working in a country that lacks constitutional and legal framework."
So, it seems as though the lack of a state-aligned judicial and legal system is a key logjam for both increased investment in Iraq, and the ultimate reduction of looting and lawlessness. 
Whether the occupation authority (CPA) agrees with this analysis is an entirely different question, given all the infighting about our deciding to appoint delegates to a constitutional council, rather than having Iraqis elect them.
After reading a Washington Times quote of a CPA official, I am wondering about the capability of those folks to make effective analyses.  "The CPA official said that people will not be able to focus on the political process until basic utilities are restored and law and order can be enforced, providing a sense of stability again." 
Question:  what methods does the CPA use to evaluate the Iraqis' ability to focus?
Any chance that racism is influencing any of our decisions over there?  Just curious.

Iraq Museum to Reopen Displaying Lost Treasure: "Baghdad's famed antiquities museum,ransacked by looters as Saddam Hussein's rule crumbled, willreopen next month after many of the treasures feared lostforever were found stashed in secret vaults around the city. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

UNICEF Worried by Health Risks to Iraqi Children: "Iraqi children are suffering alarminglyhigh rates of diarrhea and related diseases, a spokesman forthe U.N. children's agency UNICEF said Sunday. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Remains of Kuwaiti POW found in Iraq: minister: "The remains of a Kuwaiti prisoner of war have been found in a mass grave in southern Iraq, a Kuwaiti minister said. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq


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