Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The future of Iraq?

Fallujah Emerging As Islamic Mini-State

With U.S. Marines gone and central government authority virtually nonexistent, Fallujah resembles an Islamic mini-state -- anyone caught selling alcohol is flogged and paraded in the city. Men are encouraged to grow beards and barbers are warned against giving "Western" hair cuts.

"After all the blood that was shed, and the lives that were lost, we shall only accept God's law in Fallujah," said cleric Abdul-Qader al-Aloussi, offering a glimpse of what a future Iraq may look like as the U.S.-led occupation draws to a close. "We must capitalize on our victory over the Americans and implement Islamic sharia laws."

The departure of the Marines under an agreement that ended the three-week siege last month has enabled hard-line Islamic leaders to assert their power in this once-restive city 30 miles west of Baghdad.

Some were active in defending the city against the Marines and have profited by a perception — both here and elsewhere in Iraq — that the mujahedeen, or Islamic holy warriors, defeated a superpower....


In spite of the Bush fairytale (Rid the world of the evildoer and everything will turn out swell!), Iraq was always a massive risk, if not a hopeless cause, a place that was going to be extremely hard to put back together again after Saddam -- too many factions, too few people who understand governing. And then, of course, we've screwed up so much of the putting back together. Maybe this is what we'll get.

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