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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Baghdad Mayor Is Ousted by a Shiite Group and Replaced

New York Times:

Armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia. The deposed mayor, Alaa al-Tamimi, who was not in his offices at the time, recounted the events in a telephone interview on Tuesday and called the move a municipal coup d'etat. He added that he had gone into hiding for fear of his life. 'This is the new Iraq,' said Mr. Tamimi, a secular engineer with no party affiliation. 'They use force to achieve their goal.'
I saw this yesterday and refrained from posting on it until I had thought through what it means and what it's implications are likely to be. First off, while it isn't exactly a positivie development, and not the way I would like to see things done, it isn't exactly a coup either. The basis of this seems to be a pretty ineffective mayor and a provincial government that covers the same territory being at odds with each other. Basically it is like a city council kicking out a mayor. Now, it is probably not legal, but it isn't armed thugs taking over either. There was no violence and while al-Tamini claims to be in fear of his life, it is hard to evaluate how rational that fear is (to an extent, any politician in Iraq is in danger, but not, so far as I can tell, from those behind this particular event. I am confident that the Iraqi's will figure out how to handle this and that it isn't something we need to be majorly worried over.


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