By Patrick Sabatier
Thursday 13 November 2003
The decision hasn t been made, but the debate that s raging in Washington prepares it: the retreat, at least a partial and progressive one, of the United States from Iraq. The code word for this strategic retreat that won t say its name is Iraqization . Vietnamization cloaked the GI s departure from Saigon in a bygone time.
The Bush priority is simple: reduce the number of coffins coming home from Iraq and the daily flood of images of attacks and suicide bombings. American public opinion s rising hostility to the Iraqi adventure mortgages his chances for reelection in a year.
Moreover, the coalition is experiencing a black November in what American Generals no longer hesitate to call a war, even if politicians call it low intensity . To get his boys out and surrender the occupier s role, Bush has to entrust the duty of confronting terrorists to Iraqis.
After having refused to do it, he is suddenly in a rush to accelerate the transfer of power to Iraqis.
A danger of this Iraqization is that it puts in the saddle a divided and impotent power that has no real legitimacy, and is backed up by an army of auxiliaries, less well armed than the GIs to combat an ever more deadly terrorism.
The only chance for the operation resides in the fact that the vast majority of Iraqis neither want a return to Saddam s dictatorship, nor a civil war. The question is to know whether it isn t already too late to put an Iraqi government in place in Baghdad. Such a one could neither last without the support of an international force that was not an occupying force, nor without a minimum of legitimacy, which only the U.N. can confer in the immediate future so that Iraqization is not transformed into desertion.
Translation: Truthout French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher.
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