Political Bloodshed in Iraq – When It Will End

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Every
day brings fresh reports of killings in Iraq – US and other occupation
soldiers, yes, but even more Iraqis – Sunnis and Shiites alike.
Why this last?

Iraq
has been in an interregnum since Saddam was brought down. So long
as the occupation lasts, there is no long-term successor regime.
Therefore political jockeying for power must continue – pari
passu with the occupation. Therefore – so long as the occupation
continues – potential rivals for power (and their supporters)
will also continue to be killed – at all political levels:
municipal, provincial, national.

Thus
the longer the occupation lasts, the longer the interregnum, and
the longer the political killings go on…And the longer ordinary
Iraqis have to live with daily, continuing fear, bombings, shootings,
lack of water and electricity…

The
occupation can only end when the US politicians involved
feel they have squeezed the maximum political gain from it. At that
point, the political benefits come from withdrawal; staying on means
political losses. It is to be hoped that this point is reached
shortly after the 15 December elections.

At
that point, too, the covert war for power amongst the various groups
of Iraqi politicians – Sunni and Shiite, possibly Kurdish and
others – will no doubt come into the open. The length of this
power struggle cannot be predicted – but winners will eventually
emerge. Then and then only, will there be any possibility of peace
and security for ordinary Iraqis.

Meanwhile
the hapless Iraqis remain hostage to two sets of politicians
– their own and the American. All that the Iraqis –
and their friends – can do, is pray.

October
22, 2005

Sudha
Shenoy [send her
mail
], an Adjunct Scholar of the Mises Institute, is an Honorary
Associate in Economic History at the University of Newcastle in
Australia. See her
interview in the
Austrian
Economics Newsletter
.

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