American efforts to foist new rulers on the people of Iraq are becoming increasingly grotesque. In some cities US troops have sparked demonstrations by imposing officials from the old Saddam Hussein regime. In others they have evicted new anti-Saddam administrators who have local backing.
They have mishandled religious leaders as well as politicians. In the Shia suburbs of Baghdad, they arrested a powerful cleric, Mohammed Fartousi al-Sadr, who had criticised the US presence. In Falluja, an overwhelmingly Sunni town, they detained two popular imams. All three men were released within days, but local people saw the detentions as a warning that Iraqis should submit to the US will.
The Pentagon's General Jay Garner has taken an equally biased line in his plans for Iraq's government. He held a conference of 300 Iraqis in Baghdad last week and excluded almost every group which has an organised following....
That's from an article by Jonathan Steele in today's Guardian. Go read it.