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Reader comment on item: A Strongman for Iraq?

Submitted by Abu Fitnah (United Kingdom), May 1, 2003 at 02:56

What was democratically-inclined about Chaing Kai-Shek? He was an autocrat in no uncertain terms...instituted a system of crony-capitalism in which the generals of the Guomindang took a cut of everything...and had jails filled with political prisoners and Tawainese independence advocates. Just as incredulous was your reference to Ataturk as a democrat. Ataturk was many things and is well regarded by many here for secularising Turkey. But he was also an autocrat and an ethnic cleanser extraordinaire. The Greeks had lived in Asia Minor at least since the 5th century BCE. Under the Ottomans, they were protected dhimmis. Ataturk - in his nationalistic zeal - violently expelled the vast majority. I don't understand how you can recommend these two men as examples of "democratically inclined" strongmen. I suppose they both had positive attributes, particularly when compared to their contemporaries (Mao Zedong, the House of Saud). But I take issue with the rest of your article.

You want an American-imposed strongman to stave off anti-American sentiment in Iraq. But anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the situation there would know that this is precisely the step that would send the country into chaos and revolt.
To have someone in place who can be painted as an unelected dictator can only serve to bolster the Iranian cause (i.e. fundamentalist Shia Islam).

My own view is that the coalition - more specifically the USA - missed a chance when they failed to get a provisional government in place. They should have learned the lesson of how the Soviets dealt with Eastern Europe after World War 2. Stalin always made sure there was a provisional govenrement in place, even if it was only a complete puppet of Moscow.

Secondly, they should have, under the guise of restoring public order, ensured that all demonstrations require a licence. This is an instrument of control.

Thirdly, they should have been ready to take control of all media. In Iraq this should also mean controlling what is said in the Mosques at Friday prayers.

Fourthly, they need to undertake a programme of complete de-Ba'athisation. I think the continuing trouble-making potetnial of Ba'athism is underrated at present.

Of course, we have not gone down this path so we have to start from here. Starting from here, I would say that we still need to appoint a provisional government of Iraqis. The appointments should be on the authority of the US military and could be rescinded at any time.

Then we need a system of licensing political parties with rigorous auditing of democratic credentials. Any party influenced by undemocratic foreign powers e.g. Saudi, Emirates or Iran should not be permitted to take part in elections.

We need to start with local elections first. Then we should move up to the regional level (so as to entrench Kurdish regional power).

There should be a timetable for an elected national govenremnt. Perhaps three years from now with a five year bedding in period, during which US forces would remain in control of the country's internal security.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (80) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Seven years later, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat agrees with this strategy [13 words]PezDispenserAug 7, 2010 17:27176465
A Strongman for Iraq... [369 words]Eleanor GoldsteinNov 12, 2006 11:0465916
Get real [165 words]DavidMay 26, 2004 15:1415371
Is it possible? [42 words]PamelaMay 10, 2003 18:248993
Freedom [23 words]StephenMay 6, 2003 04:198875
Why did we bother? [253 words]Glenn KlotzMay 5, 2003 13:428870
Faux strongman only [57 words]Erik RosaenMay 4, 2003 14:438862
Did the US inch to democracy in steps? [66 words]DerekMay 2, 2003 05:448837
Re: Pipes Is right [89 words]Khaldoun KhelilMay 2, 2003 03:358835
and who will pay? [139 words]royMay 1, 2003 20:538830
The real motives [138 words]Jose L AcevedoMay 1, 2003 19:158826
I agree with Jose L Acevedo [7 words]S Z KFeb 12, 2006 06:148826
Ignorance is bliss [90 words]PeterMay 1, 2003 11:118814
Nonsense [503 words]Abu FitnahMay 1, 2003 02:568812
Once Again, False Advertising [762 words]MarkMay 1, 2003 00:148811
Re-Install Saddam Hussein? [276 words]Oliver Boyd-BarrettApr 30, 2003 18:198807
I Don't see it working [124 words]Tom BewickApr 30, 2003 16:108805
Moderate Muslims [45 words]Ayesha A.Apr 30, 2003 15:148802
Maybe it won't take that long [102 words]R BargerApr 30, 2003 13:158797
Bravo - I think? [25 words]Bruce L. MurrayApr 30, 2003 11:568796
Lack of history sense [166 words]Neil AbramsonApr 30, 2003 11:458794
Please listen [22 words]John W. McGnleyApr 30, 2003 11:348793
Back to square one? [122 words]Ahmad Kamal AbdollahApr 30, 2003 10:258791
Who knows what Iraqi are capable of? [74 words]SallyApr 30, 2003 09:428789
Start a ccc program [96 words]Ted GreenApr 30, 2003 09:038788
Impossible [69 words]Philip SnyderApr 30, 2003 07:538785
Your disperect [634 words]Abdul Razak HarunApr 30, 2003 06:158784
Ataturk [112 words]JohnMay 21, 2008 16:068784
To John [277 words]Abdul RazakMay 22, 2008 03:338784
Saddam Hussein was a strongman... [128 words]H LuceApr 30, 2003 03:278782
Ditch The Onion, Try Scrappleface.com [142 words]John HadjiskyApr 29, 2003 21:118775
Not in our national interest [185 words]Sean OlsonApr 29, 2003 19:128774
Problems with Fundamentalism in Government [59 words]Jaime EisenApr 29, 2003 17:128773
Keep doing what you are doing... [134 words]John W. McGinleyApr 29, 2003 16:528769
Re: comment, "Arab Democracy" [54 words]Khaldoun KhelilApr 29, 2003 16:398768
Praiseworthy as always [15 words]Alexander BarrettoApr 29, 2003 15:548767
1Deja vu? [37 words]Jim VinselApr 29, 2003 13:568762
Auditions for Strongman [77 words]Philip R. JohnsonApr 29, 2003 13:248761
WANTED: Dead or Alive, WMD [56 words]sottomonApr 29, 2003 11:488759
Bravo for common sense! [38 words]Reuben LandauApr 29, 2003 11:408758
Iraqis demand "Yes to Islam" [82 words]A. A.Apr 29, 2003 09:318757
Arab democracy [71 words]Henry E WellingtonApr 29, 2003 03:248755
It might be good improvisation, but [163 words]Alain Jean-MairetApr 29, 2003 02:188754
Are you sure? [47 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Wallace Edward BrandApr 28, 2003 23:408752
Pipes is right. [182 words]Allen DaviesApr 28, 2003 22:358751
A Strongman for Iraq? Where can we find him? [179 words]Doris FitzgeraldApr 28, 2003 21:538750
Who's behind these mullahs? [43 words]D WeissApr 28, 2003 21:488749
Homegrown strongman wanted... apply inside [304 words]Khaldoun KhelilApr 28, 2003 19:488745
Militant Islam vs. Moderate Islam [84 words]Bruce GilboordApr 28, 2003 18:468742
I respectfully disagree [385 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Bill BrentApr 28, 2003 17:538739
Appreciation [135 words]Gary JonesApr 28, 2003 17:368738
Civil Rights Before Elections [226 words]David JacobApr 28, 2003 17:298737
The Evolution of a perceptual consciousness to a Conceptual one. [288 words]David SmithApr 28, 2003 17:098736
3There is no Difference between Islam and Radical Islam [548 words]Yael MedvedApr 28, 2003 16:538735
Basics in Iraq [225 words]Ron Burgo PhDApr 28, 2003 16:488734
Good ideas overall. [77 words]Gary FordApr 28, 2003 16:298733
Guiding Iraq toward Democracy [234 words]John F. BradleyApr 28, 2003 15:358730
Brilliant analysis! [77 words]Gorge SolomosApr 28, 2003 15:028729
Can I Use This in Indonesia? [439 words]William McAuleyApr 28, 2003 14:578728
Democracy: a red herring [368 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Alan NitikmanApr 28, 2003 14:548727
Wishful Thinking [271 words]E.A. RemlerApr 28, 2003 14:508726
Strongman for Iraq? [74 words]Sheldon RabinowitzApr 28, 2003 14:318725
Lasting Peace in Iraq? Divide Iraq along Ethnic and Religious Lines [329 words]William BryanApr 28, 2003 14:238724
Strongman for Iraq? [111 words]Kyle GosnellApr 28, 2003 14:138721
Correct Diagnosis, Wrong Prescription [256 words]Todd WinteringApr 28, 2003 13:538719
Another Alternative - Far-Fetched? [618 words]Ilona MelstradsApr 28, 2003 13:378718
In total agreement with your views [102 words]Carmen Waggoner, Ph.D.Apr 28, 2003 13:318717
I don't agree [136 words]TouficApr 28, 2003 13:208716
on "a strongman for Iraq" [79 words]Daniel TauberApr 28, 2003 13:118715
These two can't be together [175 words]George El MasriApr 28, 2003 12:458713
Comments to Iraqi Strongman [157 words]Mark SmithApr 28, 2003 12:278712
Strongman for Iraq [131 words]Toni HuppApr 28, 2003 11:568711
Strongman for Iraq [123 words]Jim SaxonApr 28, 2003 11:018708
The New Iraq [115 words]Hikmat FarajApr 28, 2003 10:118707
This is exactly what many feared. [94 words]BillApr 28, 2003 10:098706
We already have a strong man. [174 words]William HartApr 28, 2003 10:098705
U.S. Role in Iraq [157 words]A.J. KarloffApr 28, 2003 09:548703
On target! [62 words]GloriaApr 28, 2003 09:508702
Pervez Musharraf, for example? [51 words]Mel FechterApr 28, 2003 09:468700
Pretty interesting [19 words]NedraApr 28, 2003 06:478697

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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