Brahimi, a Sunni Muslim who used to work for the wildly undemocratic Arab League, is essentially doing the bidding of Iraq?s Arab Sunnis before they become the minority in a democracy. Particularly to the Shi?ites, this will be seen as yet another betrayal.
All of which means Brahimi will have to act fast.
Baathist leaders came from the 15% of Iraqis that are Arab Sunnis, the only people who lived well under Saddam. And de-Baathification enjoys strong support among the 60% who are Arab Shi?ites (who live mostly in the south) and the 25% who are Kurds (who live mostly in the north.)
The 85% of Iraqis who were consigned to poverty and lived in constant fear are not terribly forgiving to the top tiers of Saddam?s minions who helped make that tyranny possible.
Once it?s the Iraqi people and not the US or the UN calling the shots, former Baathists are not likely to get favorable treatment.
Nor should they. Of the two million former Baath Party members, only 15,000 ? 20,000 of them were purged by Bremer?s order last spring. So the people who were members only to get a job were left unscathed.
Anyone in the top four levels of the Baath Party?the ones actually affected by Bremer?s order?were guilty by definition. Saddam could not have maintained his reign of terror without their active efforts. Just because some of them may not have physically murdered people doesn?t mean they don?t all have blood on their hands.
Signs are not encouraging. The media barely blinked when it was announced that full colonels and even generals will be let back in to lead the new Iraqi military. Given the almost unparalleled atrocities committed by the Iraqi military over the years, how could any of its former leaders be considered ?innocent??
Asks one person who consults several Iraqi officials, ?Do they think those mass graves filled themselves??
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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