Sunday, August 14, 2005

MEN WITH GUNS Baghdad Mayor Alaa al-Tamimi was removed from office at gunpoint this week. But after a flurry of early, barebones accounts, the story has garnered remarkably little coverage.

In the most recent article on the subject I can find--a Reuters piece from Friday--we learn:

Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari...was quoted this week as saying he had responded to a request from the city council to remove Tamimi.

Tamimi said Jaafari had rejected his previous offers to quit under pressure from [rival local official Hussein] al-Tahhan supporters: "What Jaafari said is very bad. Why now? This means he supports a state where armed men can just remove elected officials from office," said Tamimi.

"When Saddam was here we had one bad person. Now we have thousands running around with militias."


"When they removed the governor of Samawa, Jaafari sent a delegation to rescue him. I was removed by gunmen because I am a secular technocrat with no ties to [religious Shi'ite-dominated Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)] and not backed by a militia," said Tamimi.

"This is terrible for Iraq. It means any future elections will mean nothing because gunmen can just walk into any office and remove and install whoever they want."
I don't know enough about the feuding to know whether Tamimi is right--whether his removal was a pure militia-backed power play.

But if he's wrong, shouldn't someone on the American side have explained to us by now why he's wrong?

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.