Irrelevance Lost

by Marc Lynch | published March 20, 2003

The Trouble with the Tribunal

Saddam Hussein and the Elusiveness of Justice

by Jennifer R. Ridha
published in MER232

“Baghdad, if you ask your friends about it, has one re- markable peculiarity.” [1] So wrote Freya Stark in 1937 in her famed, and more than slightly Orientalist, collection of travel essays, Baghdad Sketches. Today, Baghdad has a number of peculiarities, though its most staggering is the pervasiveness of the memory of atrocities under Saddam Hussein’s 25-year rule.

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The Paris Club, the Washington Consensus and the Baghdad Cake

by Justin Alexander
published in MER232

In October 2004, representatives from the G-8 and 11 other countries will meet without fanfare or press coverage in a quiet room in the French Finance Ministry. It is unlikely that their lunchtime dessert will actually be a cake decorated with the stripes and green stars of the Iraqi flag, but they will certainly be intent on grabbing as large a slice as they can of the metaphorical cake in their minds. The outcome of their meeting will have tremendous significance for 26 million Iraqis.

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Silent Battalions of Democracy

by Herbert Docena
published in MER232

Sheikh Majid al-Azzawi was one proud Iraqi. His office, surrounded by sandbags, barbed wire and tall concrete walls, looked more like a military base than an administrative building. But even the pitch-black darkness that swirled in the corridors most of the day did not dampen al-Azzawi’s spirits. “We are very happy to be part of this council, even if we have simple equipment,” said the member of the Rusafa district council in central Baghdad. “It is the first time for all the members of the government, because it was impossible before.”

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The Insurgency Intensifies

by Steve Negus
published in MER232

Within months after the fall of Saddam, the US military was engaged in a low-intensity guerrilla conflict throughout the predominantly Sunni Arab towns north and west of Baghdad. At first, the US dismissed the attacks as the work of Baathist “diehards” and “dead-enders,” a minor problem that would swiftly disappear thanks to US military might and the cooperation of an Iraqi public anxious to rebuild. Indeed, in its early stages the guerrilla campaign was little more than amateur harassment. But by the end of 2003 -- partly because of the political failures of the Coalition Provisional Authority, but also because of US counterinsurgency tactics -- the insurgency had escalated into a force capable of taking entire cities.

Democracy, Deception and the Arms Trade

The US, Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction

by Irene Gendzier
published in MER234

The controversy over Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction, the prime justification for the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, has apparently been laid to rest. A succession of US-commissioned reports have failed to confirm the Bush administration's claims.