Carronade The Yankee Sailor Carronade

The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.

I've relocated to a new Yankee Sailor.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Getting the Arabs Involved in Iraq

There have been a couple of stories in the mainstream press in the last two days, one at the Washington Times and another at the NYT, about U.N. pressure to get Arab countries to increase their diplomatic presence in Iraq that I think are worth bringing up. Here's the introduction from the WT:

A top U.N. envoy urged Arab foreign ministers at a conference yesterday to work together to end Iraq's political deadlock, while Iraqi and other Arab leaders squabbled over the role of Iran.

"Neighboring countries and the region are responsible for sending a clear message to the Iraqi people that they are supporting the political process in Iraq," said Ashraf Qazi, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy in Iraq.
Now, I think it's a good thing for the Arab League to step up its involvement in the political process in Iraq for two reasons. First, it's a statement of support for representative government in the region, and second, it should be reassuring to the Sunni minority in Iraq that there will be some powerful Sunni voices whispering in the ear of the Shi'a dominated government of Iraq. But I think the Arab League, and other Muslim countries could do more.

I recall from my JPME that OAS observers were used with great success in a number of countries in Central America as they transitioned to democracy to ensure that the ruling party and security forces were acting within the law and applying the law in an even handed manner. Perhaps some of the more prominent and stable Sunni countries, like Jordan, Oman, Indonesia and Morocco should be encouraged to pony up some observers to accompany the Shi'a dominated army and security forces in Iraq to reassure Iraq's Sunni population that they'll be treated fairly.