Monday, October 8, 2007

An interesting WaPo story on sectarian negotiations and suspicions in Iraq. I might wonder, however, if, rather than being an alternative to national "reconciliation" (as this story implies), "streamlining the government bureaucracy, placing experienced technocrats in positions of authority and improving the dismal record of providing basic services" might be a way of arriving at some potential reconciliation. It seems to me that one of the many lingering problems Iraqis face is a lack of trust in each other and a national government. Having an actually functioning national government might help build this trust that would seem so important for national reconciliation. It seems that an Iraqi parliament member would agree with this:

Humam Hamoudi, a prominent Shiite cleric and parliament member, said any future reconciliation would emerge naturally from an efficient, fair government, not through short-term political engineering among Sunnis and Shiites.

"Reconciliation should be a result and not a goal by itself," he said. "You should create the atmosphere for correct relationships, and not wave slogans that 'I want to reconcile with you.' "