Monday, April 02, 2007
i'm not the way i thought i was:
The rubiyyat of Zalmay Khalilzad: O, Abu Omar -- did you get rolled?

As a parting gift to the outgoing U.S. ambassador, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani returns to Iraqi politics to forbid backsliding on de-Baathification. Relaxing de-Baathification has been a massive priority for Khalilzad since his 2005 arrival in Baghdad, and he had hoped it to be an achievement crowning his tenure. Yet Nouri al-Maliki managed to outmaneuver Khalilzad by delivering too much of what Khalilzad wanted -- that is, a thoroughgoing rollback of de-Baathification designed to be unacceptable to the Shiite clerisy. Ed Wong:

Advisers to Mr. Maliki, a devout Shiite, said the prime minister had been skeptical that conservative Shiite leaders would support the measure. Before he took office, Mr. Maliki was one of the most vocal champions of the purging of former Baathists. Critics of the prime minister suggested he might have made the announcement last week simply to appear to be offering an olive branch to the Sunni Arabs.

Now that's some cynicism. First Bush stops flirting with dumping Maliki and throws him several high-profile endorsements. Then several thousand additional U.S. forces turn Baghdad into (as much of) a fortress (as it's possible to make it), all to buy time for Maliki to share some of his power. And it turns out he's not gonna.

Final scorecard for Zal. Recall the outgoing U.S. ambassador's March 3 op-ed on the now-stalled oil law:
A national reconciliation that stabilizes Iraq can be achieved if similar compromises are made on the future of de-Baathification and on amending the constitution.
Oil law rancorous. De-Baathification overruled. Amending the constitution behind schedule and in doubt. Much as Ghostface confessed he should have stayed in Job Corps, Khalilzad would be forgiven for feeling he should have stayed in Kabul.
--Spencer Ackerman
Job corps?
Blogger chrismealy | 7:48 PM

Funny, I don't remember that quatrain in the Rubaiyat.
Blogger The Special | 8:20 PM

Oh, I don't think he wants to go back to Kabul. He knows that Kabul's turn is coming, sooner or later. Better the UN.
Blogger Dick Durata | 10:21 PM