RealNews

Series of U.S. Fumbles Blamed for Turmoil in Postwar Iraq

The array of challenges the United States now faces in Iraq seems to have emerged almost overnight but is actually the accumulation of mistakes, miscalculations and missed opportunities since Saddam Hussein’s government collapsed a year ago, say U.S. officials and Iraq experts, including some who worked with the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority. The miscalculations were reflected in the period of confusion when the United States flip-flopped on which Americans and which Iraqis would run postwar Iraq — and how. The missed opportunities, the sources said, include the CPA’s failure to identify powerful Muslim clerics who might influence politics, from moderate Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to the radical young militia leader Moqtada Sadr, whose insurgents have been fighting coalition forces in Baghdad and in cities across southern Iraq. There were also mistakes that ignited Iraqi suspicions or fears about U.S. goals, such as appointing a Sunni former army colonel to be the mayor of Najaf, the holiest stronghold of Shiite Muslims who were once crushed by Hussein’s Sunni-led military. Two months later, the mayor was detained with 61 of his aides and charged with kidnapping and multiple counts of financial fraud, including stealing government funds. Full Story

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