The Guardian–not a very pro-US or pro-Iraq war paper, to say the least–runs an interesting story today on the “permissive environment Saddam created for Al-Qaeda in Iraq,” as claimed by Tony Blair’s government.
What’s more interesting to me, however, is the way the Iraqi authorities are looking at the transition, as gleamed from the remarks of PM Blair’s special human rights envoy to Iraq, Ann Clwyd. She says:
“The Iraqis themselves did say when I was there three weeks ago they thought attacks of this kind [the suicide bombing of the day] would continue with increased ferocity up to June 30 and possibly for six months afterwards,” she said.
But she predicted “a very different scene” in six months’ time. She said it would become a governable country and reiterated her support for the war.
While it seems that this would be poor news for the new Iraqi administration, I tend to view it as rather hopeful. The key point here is that the new government is bracing itself to fight off insurgents and those who would try to pull off a coup, but are determined to stay the course. As the Saddam torture videos remind us, not much can be worse than Saddam–so six months of relative instability is not too high a price to pay.