Saturday, January 07, 2006

Iraq Facing Hurdles, U.S. General Warns - New York Times

Iraq Facing Hurdles, U.S. General Warns - New York Times
"The reason it's important to look at areas like governance and infrastructure is because oil is the lifeblood of Iraq," said General Vines, who commands the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C. "If they don't produce enough income to support their security forces, members of those forces could turn to ulterior purposes and could become militias or armed gangs."

General Vines said the fact that Iraqis voted in such large numbers on Dec. 15 was uplifting, but he lamented that the balloting broke down largely along religious and ethnic lines. "The vote is reported to be primarily along sectarian lines, which is not particularly heartening," he said. "There was enormous enthusiasm for the election. But it must be a government by and for Iraqis, not sects. I don't think we can know that yet."

General Vines said it is too soon to gauge how well Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds will succeed in forging an inclusive government that protects all citizens of Iraq. "As the government forms, if we see indicators that there are purges of competent people to be replaced with ideologues in the security ministries, that would be disturbing," he said. "If competent commanders were to be replaced by those whose main qualification is an allegiance to a sect, that would be of concern to us."

That will be the sign: if posting are made along sectarian lines there won't be much hope for any sort of peace in Iraq...

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