OPINION

The Iraqi quagmire

As 2005 dawns, the Americans remain trapped in a Mesopotamian minefield. Imminent elections are unlikely to help them maintain control over Iraq unless they are willing to pay the heavy price of occupation. On the contrary, things are likely to get much more complicated. Due to the anticipated abstention of a large proportion of Sunnis from the polls, the new parliament is expected to be dominated by Shi’ites. In reality, the likelihood of a split in Iraq is more probable than ever, due to the pressure being exerted by the Kurds who seek to an establish an independent state. Iraqi elections are not expected to give President Bush the political outlet he desires, as was the case with the ostensible handover of power to Alawi’s regime and Bush’s attempt to make the situation in Iraq NATO’s problem (and involving member states who had strongly opposed sending troops). Opinion polls show that more and more Americans are realizing that the real challenge was not in deposing Saddam Hussein but in managing the situation afterward. And it is plain to see that the occupying powers are sinking into a quagmire. Meanwhile, the bomb attacks against them and the interim government they have appointed show no sign of abating…