CROSS AND DOUBLE-CROSS
What exactly is it that happened in Iraq with the announcement by the IGC that Iyad Allawi will be the next Prime Minister? It is obvious that, whatever the murky process that the parties were supposed to follow, this was not it. Both the UN and the US government were caught off guard. The rest we have to guess at, but some pretty good guesses can be made by first considering the people who make up the IGC.
We know that the IGC will disappear when the new Iraqi government is formed, and from that simple fact we can deduce much. If you have never been in a position to see US diplomats forcefully shape events and policy in a third world country, it is an eye opening experience (I witnessed much of this in Outer Mongolia when I lived there). Diplomats know how to carry the power and wealth of the US in their dealings. If the diplomats want something to happen, they have a wide variety of sticks and carrots to choose from, and they can be both charming and persuasive while using them. When the IGC was being put together, it is very reasonable to assume that more carrots than sticks were used when convincing candidates to join the IGC. Thus, with collective high expectations for gains at both the personal and national level and with the full faith, credit, and armed might of the US behind them, Iraqi exiles and nationals joined the IGC.
Whatever the newly minted members of the IGC expected, it was probably different from what they got. Being a member of the IGC was probably good for several months, even though Bremer made almost all the real decisions. For both those IGC members who wanted lucre from their positions and for those who wanted stability and justice for Iraq from their positions, it was probably a disappointment to be less influential than they had expected. After a few months, however, sharper disappointments were probably felt when the personal security of IGC members degraded. Instead of Iraq becoming safer and safer with time, it was becoming less and less stable and attempts on the lives of IGC members were becoming more and more professional and coordinated. IGC members who expected to play a key and respected role in a transition period and probably expected to play a key and respected/profitable role in a longer-term government found themselves the object of derision and aggression among Iraqis.
Look at these IGC members for a moment in the context of the normal humans that they are: They expected much, and were probably promised much by the US during the formation phase, but those expectations were dashed and it became very apparent that they were all going to be cut loose when a new government was appointed, and their expectations of power and wealth would be replaced by very real worries about what would happen to them when they were no longer powerful, no longer guarded, and no longer living in the green zone. Understandably, they were worried about the consequences of being seen as the tools of the US after the US no longer had any use for them. Thus, we can see the IGC is a group of talented, intelligent, worried people who are very, very motivated to keep power. And by engineering a solution among themselves and announcing one of their own as Prime Minister, they have implemented a plan that will, they hope, result in assuring their security and meeting their other longer-term goals, however noble or ignoble.
If the above informed speculation is anywhere near the mark, we can make some guesses about what is to come:
1. Brahimi’s job will get more and more complicated as the IGC tries to control the process and put their own people into positions of power.
2. The new government will coalesce quickly, and will demand a continuation of high levels of US troop support and project funding. At the same time, the government will work against US objectives in order to begin building their political base among the people.
3. Many people in the new government will be pursuing many different and often conflicting agendas, and a huge amount of energy and resources will be spent on misdirected efforts, personality conflicts, and deliberation. In sum, the new government will function as a collection of individuals and not as a team and will be very weak and opportunistic.
4. The US will not be happy at all with the progress in Iraq or the cost attached to it.
So, there you have it: My guess as to what went on and what will happen next. Time will tell.