Friday, February 04, 2005


Excellent guest editorial at Juan Cole's concerning the danger of paralysis in post-election Iraq. Personally, I suspect that a scenario like the one he describes, in which the new constitutional assembly locks up in a permanent veto of the constitutional draft and/or the government, is both likely and dangerous. In a sense, it may be better if the "Shia/Kurdish dominance" scenario does come out of the election, as it would obviate a permanent blocking minority. Mind you, it could also lead even further into civil war.

But if the current and deeply unpopular government is left there, and the occupation statute remains in place, then the process of degeneration will continue until someone decides to dispense with a pointless debating chamber. There's a real danger of the "negative coalition" characteristic of early-30s Germany emerging. Worryingly we may be already into it, as we already have an unpopular ruler with no real support (Allawi/von Papen) relying on his monopoly of force whilst the coalition of extremes on both sides blocks any progress. That overstates, of course.

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