Dopo il voto in Irak, persiste la sfida per gli USA

USA rischiano di veder ridurre la loro influenza
dopo le elezioni, e man mano che ritirano le truppe.

  • L’ambasciatore USA, Khalilzad, afghano-americano, già
    ambasciatore in Afghanistan, è definito il migliore dei proconsoli USA in Irak;
  • sta cercando di presentarsi come al di sopra delle
    parti, denunciando torture e abusi contro prigionieri resistenti sunniti, prima
    del referendum aveva premuto per emendamenti che andassero incontro ai sunniti,
  • Ma al-Hakim, capo dello SCIRI (sciita) lo ha
    attaccato pubblicamente per aver protetto i ribelli, e rifiuta ogni emendamento
    alla Costituzione.
  • Tesi Larry Diamond, ex consigliere dell’autorità
    di occupazione USA:
  • influenza USA è in calo;
  • capi sciiti accusano gli americani di trattare con i
    ribelli che hanno ucciso migliaia di militari e poliziotti iracheni, e di impedire
    di sradicare i ribelli o di costituire una regione semi-indipendente nel sud
    ricco di petrolio.
  • Sciiti sentono di aver vinto le elezione, e vogliono
    essere i padroni.
  • Ambasciata USA non ha concesso intervista a
    Khalilzad, ma alto funzionario sostiene che sciiti non sono monolitici e che
    una parte è disposta al dialogo coi sunniti.
  • Khalilzad vuole emendare la Costituzione sul
    federalismo e sulla divisione del petrolio, e perché ai sunniti venga dato il
    ministero degli Interni o Difesa.
  • USA evitano di pronunciarsi per un candidato a primo
    ministro (oltre a Jafaari, che è stato una delusione, il VP attuale, Adil

American Envoy Khalilzad Aims to Forge

Political Peace Among Sectarian Groups



January 19, 2006; Page A4

WASHINGTON — He isn’t a candidate, but U.S.
Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad has a lot riding on Iraq’s recent

In the run-up to the Dec. 15 elections for a
permanent government, Mr. Khalilzad and his aides worked to bring Iraq’s
disaffected Sunni Arab minority into the political process, frequently clashing
with the Shiite-dominated government. When Sunnis threatened to reject the
country’s new constitution in an October referendum, Mr. Khalilzad persuaded
Shiite and Kurdish leaders to amend the document to address Sunni concerns.
When evidence surfaced that Shiite-dominated security forces had tortured and
in some cases assassinated Sunni leaders, Mr. Khalilzad publicly criticized the
abuses and demanded that interim Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and his
government take steps to curb them.

Finally, he and his team pressured election
workers to announce results quickly and held pre-emptive talks with the main
political parties to avert the months of drift that followed Iraq’s elections
for an interim government in January 2005.

Today, those initiatives still have a ways to
go. Shiite groups have held protests, denouncing Mr. Khalilzad by name for
restraining their security forces and demanding that security personnel be
allowed to take a harder line against the insurgents,
who are predominantly
Sunnis. Iraq’s most powerful Shiite political leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim,
has said he opposes making any significant amendments to the constitution.
And the good feeling engendered by the recent elections has been clouded by
Sunni complaints that their vote totals were suppressed by ballot shortages,
voter intimidation and other irregularities. With the Sunni complaints and
similar ones from secular Shiites, final results have yet to be announced more
than a month after the election.

Mr. Khalilzad is widely seen as the most
competent U.S. representative yet to serve in Baghdad.
An Afghan-American who forged relationships with a number of
prominent Republicans, he served on President Bush’s National Security Council
and was ambassador to Afghanistan until 2005, when he was named to the Baghdad

The problems facing his initiatives highlight
an emerging shift. Nearly three years after U.S. forces toppled former Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein, American influence in the country is diminishing
as the Bush administration crafts an exit strategy and Iraq’s Shiite majority
flexes its muscles
. The two trends suggest that, in the coming year,
Washington and Baghdad may diverge
in their approaches to curbing Iraq’s
violence and building a political accord among sectarian groups.

"There’s a tension that didn’t exist in
the recent past, because the people who have been empowered on the Shiite side
have goals and aspirations that will be hard to square with the U.S. vision of
a nonsectarian Iraq where power and resources are shared equitably," says Larry
, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and
former adviser to the American occupation authority in Iraq. "When you
look down the road, the U.S. capacity to shape Iraq and induce major players
to honor their promises is clearly diminishing

Mr. Diamond says Shiite leaders complain
that U.S. officials favor the Sunnis
, citing recent disclosures that U.S.
officials are holding talks with insurgents
tied to attacks that have
killed thousands of mostly Shiite security personnel. Many Shiite leaders also
say the U.S. is preventing them from using security forces to stem the
insurgency or from using provisions in the Iraq constitution to create a
semi-independent, oil-rich ministate in southern Iraq
, Mr. Diamond says.

The American Embassy in Baghdad declined to
make Mr. Khalilzad available for an interview, but a senior U.S. official
says it is too early to conclude that relations between the U.S. and the next
Iraqi government will be rocky. The official says leaders like Mr. Hakim could
be staking out aggressive positions to score political points ahead of what are
certain to be difficult negotiations over choosing the country’s next prime
minister. Shiites aren’t monolithic, he notes, adding that, while Mr.
Hakim was outlining anti-U.S. stances, other Shiite leaders were behaving
more moderately and continuing to reach out to Sunni groups

The senior U.S. official also says Mr. Khalilzad
is committed to seeing amendments made to the constitution on issues such as
federalism and the division of natural resources, primarily oil
. "No
one here is ready to throw in the towel on any of this," he says. For now,
the U.S. is prodding Iraqi political leaders to create a broad government that
would feature Sunnis in positions of authority, such as at the helm of the
Interior or Defense ministries
, he and other American officials say.

Senior U.S. officials in Baghdad are
mediating talks between the political parties but aren’t suggesting candidates
for cabinet posts, officials say. The officials also say the U.S. won’t signal
a preference for either of the two main contenders to be prime minister,
Mr. Jaafari and Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul-Mehdi, despite
widespread feeling in Washington and Baghdad that Mr. Jaafari has been a

Still, it is unclear how much the U.S. will
be ale to steer Iraq’s political transition. Iraq’s leaders know that the
White House is allowing the funds for its Iraq reconstruction program to run
and that the administration has acknowledged plans to begin a
military withdrawal this year
amid plunging public support for the war.

Henri Barkey, a professor of international
relations at Lehigh University and former State Department policy-planning
official, says the U.S. retains significant influence in Iraq because of the
massive American military there. But with the U.S. presence in Iraq likely to
begin winding down in coming months, he says that Iraq’s largely Shiite rulers
might be more willing to buck the U.S. and pursue their own interests.

"Everything you see in the Shiite public
discourse suggests that they think they won the elections and now own the
country," he says. "The balance has clearly shifted

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