Signs Of Progress

One of Iraq’s first and best weekly newspapers is now available online. Reading it is a far more nuanced and revealing look into post-Saddam Iraq than what is coming from the Western media. Things like this are a sign that Iraq is beginning to develop the necessary civic institutions to develop a real democracy – an encouraging sign to say the least.

5 thoughts on “Signs Of Progress

  1. I’m very glad to hear that, but considering that most iraqis are struggling to have water, food, and to a lesser extent, electricity, I don’t think 1% of them actually have an internet access.

  2. Actually, you’d be surprised. There are Internet cafes in Baghdad that are open to the public. That and Iraq Today also has a print edition which is fairly widespread.

    Iraqis aren’t starving in the streets, and they have enough basic sanitation that there isn’t a big worry of disease. The biggest problem is electricity, but that is slowly getting better over time.

    Given what the Iraqis have gone through over the last few decades, they’re doing surprisingly well. There’s a lot left to be done, no doubt, but significant progress has been made in just a few months.

  3. It ain’t an easy situation. I don’t agree with the french position on one point: transition to an iraqi government right now. this would lead to a non-democratic government.
    The problem being (in my mind), that it’s not 2 years that will do it either.Maybe 10. Maybe more. You almost need to wait until a new generation can take over.
    Another problem is of course the trust in the iraqi police and army, and the gun control.
    Iraq was such a developped country before Saddam 🙁

  4. Vincent hits on a good point.

    A VERY large part of the reason we’ve having such trouble with getting the infrastructure, especially power, going again is that so much of the institutional knowledge to run the infrastructure was carried, almost via tribal oral tradition, among the principals, rather than written down and carefully distributed (like a Western company would usually do). That institutuional knowledge was held by…you guessed it. Ba’athists. And they’ve been pretty completely expunged from all positions of responsibility – which means their institutional knowledge is gone, too.

    It WILL take a while – two years, five, ten? – to rebuild that knowledge in a new generation of Iraqis, to say nothing of teaching them what Democracy is about. It’s a foreign concept to everyone in that part of the world, to say nothing of Iraqis especially. They have no concept of the rule of law (like the Russians; that’s why their transition to democracy has been so much thornier than that of the Poles, Hungarians and Czechs, who at least have some form of liberal tradition in their histories).

    I still blame the French, though.

  5. For once, I completely agree with you Vincent, making Iraq democratic is going to be a long process.

    I also think De Villepin knows this, which is why he made such a ridiculous condition part of any deal with the UN. He knows the US can’t accept such a deal as is, and he’s thinking this means that when the US comes back to the UN he can get what he really wants – which is more French control over the Iraqi economy.

    Somehow I don’t think the US will take the bait, but then again, they might. All in all, it’s not a bad diplomatic strategy, but it will only work if the US gets desperate. Personally, I have a feeling that Iraq is likely to get much better rather than getting much worse – especially as we’re apparently closing in on the leaders of the Ba’athist resistance in the Sunni Triangle…

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