Monday, May 30, 2005


More good news from the front

Two pieces, actually. First, powerful evidence that the British are better at colonialism than the US: The chief of police in Basra admitted yesterday that he had effectively lost control of three-quarters of his officers and that sectarian militias had infiltrated the force and were using their posts to assassinate opponents. Speaking to the Guardian, General Hassan al-Sade said half of his 13,750-strong force was secretly working for political parties in Iraq's second city and that some officers were involved in ambushes. And second, that they're putting their colonial brilliance to great effect in opening a new front in the war on Terra: A bizarre revolutionary army supported by British politicians who want more "regime change" in the Middle East, has been accused of torture and brainwashing. Evidence obtained by the Guardian backs a report by Human Rights Watch. This makes detailed accusations of abuse, including deaths under interrogation, against the "People's Mujahideen" of Iran (MKO). The Mujahideen are a 4000-strong anti-Iranian dissident army, currently under US protection in a camp in Iraq. They have a vociferous public relations campaign in Britain and the backing of some Washington neo-conservatives. ... There is a growing right-wing campaign in parts of Washington and London for regime change, citing Iran's nuclear ambitions. But leftwing UK figures have also joined the campaign to legitimise the Mujahideen, whom they see as freedom fighters. ...However, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, calls them a "a nasty terrorist organisation" and British officials are barred from contact. Beam me up, Scotty.
From the first story:

In fact the port city, part of the British zone, is remarkably peaceful. It is largely untouched by the insurgency and crimes such as kidnapping and theft have ebbed since the chaotic months after the March 2003 invasion.

In marked contrast to Baghdad, razor wire and blast walls are uncommon in Basra and instead of cowering indoors after dark families take strolls along the corniche.

But Gen Sade said the tranquillity had been bought by ceding authority to conservative Islamic parties and turning a blind eye to their militias' corruption scams and hit squads.

During the 1960s, women not only could be doctors and lawyers, they could walk around Baghdad in miniskirts under the milder, pre-Saddam version of Ba'athism, a version that actually paid more than lip service to socialist ideals. The '60s Ba'athists took the parts of British colonialism they liked -- namely, the secularized society -- built on it. Even under Saddam, who spent much of his régime catering to the imams and mullahs, women were about 60% of all university graduates and had guaranteed jobs on graduation.

Now, women, even (especially?) in the "peaceful" parts of Iraq, will be lucky to be allowed to read.

In post-Saddam
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