"On 28 June 2004, Iraq was declared sovereign. The coalition did not, however, turn over functional sovereignty to Iraqis on the very matters that Arabs, conscious of a legacy of colonialism, consider to be essential to sovereignty: borders, internal security, internal political order and legal system, and economic policies. This was a wise decision. Still, "sovereignty" and "independence" have quite freighted connotations in Arab political parlance. As long as the coalition continues, in the words of Secretary of State Colin Powell, to "borrow" Iraq's sovereignty, the "true" colonialist intent of the U.S. "occupation" will appear proven to Arabs in and out of Iraq. There is another problem. Recently, U.S. leaders have spoken of a strategy "to build Iraqi capacity and transfer responsibilities from the coalition to Iraq rapidly." Issues of key concern here have been listed as "transferring authority to a sovereign Iraq… security… rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure… enlisting international support, and continuing building on Iraq's capacity for self-government." Absent from this enumeration has been democratization. Those working in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom should be concerned. Casting aside WMD and al-Qa'ida-linked terror as the reasons for unseating the Ba'th regime, what remains is the altruistic goal of introducing democracy to the heart of the Middle East, so that its re-oxygenated blood can radiate outwards to the rest of the region. If we take the planners of the Iraq war at their word, such aspirations expose the liberal inspiration of an aggressively interventionist foreign policy." The author analyzes these problems and discusses the elements of work on the road to democratization.
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (August 2004), v.3 no.8