Wednesday, January 21, 2004

an ayatollah has led them by the nose
Given his varied troubles, the last thing the PM wants is a major uprising in Basra, so it's no surprise that the British have come round to Ayatollah Sistani's view that if the occupiers are serious about democracy in Iraq, then an election might not be a bad idea.

The US-led coalition in Iraq is on the verge of bowing to Shia Muslim pressure for direct elections before the handover of power on June 30, the Guardian has learned.
According to British officials, the Blair government has been swayed by Shia arguments and the US is also shifting ground.

They believe that Paul Bremer, the US head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) running Iraq, has been persuaded of the need for direct elections, provided it can be shown that they are practicable.

What's the betting that it can be so proved? And in another part of the desert, the Kurds seem to have figured that if the coalition can be bossed about by a wily old ayatollah, they should start pulling the rope too.

Iraqi Kurds, the one Iraqi community that has broadly supported the American occupation, are expressing growing anger at the failure of the United States and its allies to give them full control of their own affairs and allow the Kurds to expel Arabs placed in Kurdistan by Saddam Hussein.

Sharia law introduced; the prospect of ethnic cleansing in the North; Sunni incendiaries and jihadis from all over. Time to wrap the whole parcel up in a pink ribbon and dump it on the UN.