Does Iraq Require A National Union Dictatorship?

Georges Malbrunot, writing in Le Figaro, argues the Iraq situation has become so completely disorganized that it might require the emergence of a national union dictatorship in order to extract the situation from the current mess. He praises the American military for shifting its emphasis to working with tribal groups and engaging in projects that focus on meeting local needs. “However, these praiseworthy intentions could prove insufficient unless the state leadership sets an example of coexistence.” Unfortunately, there is scant evidence the Mailiki government seeks to reach out to Sunnis in a spirit of conciliation and cooperation.

A diplomat noted, “The Maliki cabinet is a government without troops.” According to the World Bank, about 70% of government employees never show up for work and the other 30% come in for a few days a week. Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, an expert on Iraq, puts it this way, “The Americans are the prisoners of their own original sins and of their selective policy in favour of the Kurds and Sh’is.” Bush never paid any attention to State Department warnings concerning Iraq and years later the results of this failure are now evident.

Prime Minister Maliki may well be trapped in a Catch-22 situation. If he stands up against the Americans he might be perceived by some parts of the Iraq population as capable of rule, but he also would lose support from the Americans who provide him military protection. Malbrunot suggests the only way out of this impasse is creation of some sort of national union dictatorship and abandoning any pretense of democracy in Iraq. Of course, this would certainly be ironic if at the end, America installed a dictatorship to replace a dictatorship.

  • hakim

    Thanks for this excellent article. I enjoy reading Georges Malbrunot’s articles in the Figaro and in case you read French, Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer wrote a highly instructive book called “Hamlet en Irak” (“Hamlet in Iraq”, in English). A balanced point of view on US policy in Iraq from a European expert looking at both US and Iraqi sides.