segunda-feira, dezembro 11, 2006

O relatório Al-Hakim e a partilha do Iraque

"President Bush has finally heard some realistic, even brutal, ideas about finding a path out of Iraq that he should seriously consider. Then he can move on to decode the less-useful suggestions that came from the strategically flawed Iraq Study Group.

A visit to the White House by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the single most powerful Shiite political leader in Iraq, last Monday was quickly eclipsed by the manufactured drama of the release of the policy study headed by Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton on Wednesday.

Their recommendations were a mixed bag of good intentions (Mr. Hamilton's strength) and profound, manipulative cynicism (a Baker talent). The report's value lies not in what it says about Iraq, and certainly not in the insincere scheme the group hatched -- without seriously consulting Israel -- to have Israel hand the Golan Heights back to Syria as part of an American-led New Diplomatic Offensive. The report's value lies in recommendations on reorganizing the Pentagon, the State Department and Congress.

But on Iraq, the study group repeats the error that this administration has made since overthrowing Saddam Hussein. That is to refuse to anticipate and then accept the consequences of U.S. actions. Having empowered the formerly persecuted Shiite majority in Iraq through regime change, President Bush repeatedly has found its exercise of power suspect or unacceptable, primarily because of Shiite links to Iran. The struggle in Iraq is now the center of a broader civil war within Islam that pits Shiites against Sunnis and moderates against extremists. American actions are not designed to give one religious group advantage over another. But they inevitably do, and inevitably are judged in that light by the Iraqis and their neighbors. Mr. al-Hakim's view goes like this: U.S. forces and the feeble central government do too little to protect Shiites. We can do that job ourselves if U.S. troops get out of the way. That will clear the way for U.S. withdrawals and the informal division of Iraq into three distinct autonomous regions. That is the only acceptable alternative to a strong central government controlled by the Shiites, which may no longer be in reach. British commanders have reported that Mr. al-Hakim's Shiite party has completed a gradual takeover of Iraq's south. That leaves British forces with little ability to influence events -- or reason to stay on for much longer in large numbers -- the commanders add pointedly.

Mr. al-Hakim has patiently watched as his Shiite rivals in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party and in Moqtada al-Sadr's organization have been chewed up in the meat grinder of Baghdad's barbaric sectarian conflicts, rampant corruption and U.S. inconsistency. Mr. al-Hakim gave the impression in Washington of a man riding a wave carrying him inexorably toward where he wants to go."

Jim Hoagland, The Washington Post, 11-12-2006

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