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أيام سيئة في البصرة: كتاب يبرر فشل مهمة سلطة الإئتلاف في جنوب العراق

كلكامش نبيل

2020 / 12 / 24
مواضيع وابحاث سياسية


أتممتُ اليوم قراءة كتاب "أيام سيئة في البصرة" أو Bad Days in Basra بقلم السير هيلاري سينوت، الحاكم البريطاني للبصرة بعد عام 2003، وقد كان الكتاب مملاً في كثير من أجزائه وهو يتحدث عن سوء التخطيط والإدارة والقرارات السيئة التي أتخذت في أعقاب غزو العراق عام 2003 ولاسيما قراري حل الجيش واجتثاث كل المسؤولين البعثيين دفعة واحدة بشكل ساهم في ترك المؤسسات العراقية شبه مشلولة، فضلاً عن حالات السرقات والنهب التي طالت المنشئات الحيوية والبنى التحتية – خطوط نقل الطاقة الكهربائية والهواتف والوزارات والكليات والمدارس وغيرها. يتحدث سينوت عن اختياره بطريقة غريبة ليقوم بمهمة لا يعرف شيئًا عنها، وهو العائد للتو من باكستان ليبدأ تقاعده في المملكة المتحدة - ويطيل الحديث عن قلة دوره مقارنة بدور بول بريمر ويتطرق لمواضيع كثيرة تخص مشاكل بخصوص التمويل وغياب التخطيط وكيف تغيرت أولويات المهمة بمرور الوقت من بناء عراق ديمقراطي موحد مزدهر اقتصاديا إلى نقل السيادة للعراقيين ومن ثم تصريحات غوردون براون بأنه كان في الإمكان القيام بالمهمة بشكل أفضل. يصر الكاتب على القيام ببعض الجهود المهمة ولكنه يرى أنها لم تستمر وأن توقعات العراقيين كانت عالية جدًا. لكن السير سينوت يصر في ختام كتابه أن العراق شهد في عام 2005 ثلاث انتخابات وأن نسبة المشاركة بلغت 80 في المائة وأن هذا يجعل الديمقراطيات الغربية تشعر بالخجل من مثل هذه المشاركة الكبيرة، لكنني بصراحة أتساءل إن كان حقّا يصدق مثل هذه النسب!.

يتطرق الكتاب لنقاش حول تخوف أميركي من نفوذ مقتدى الصدر وتفاصيل عن أمير الأهوار وزعماء قبائل كثر في جنوب العراق خدعوا سلطة التحالف بأن لهم نفوذ وشعبية قبل أن يتبين أنهم لا أهمية لهم. يذكر الكتاب لقاءات برجال دين شيعة – وأحدهم من الطائفة الشيخية - وشخصيات مثل القاضي وائل عبد اللطيف وعز الدين سليم واغتياله واغتيال عقيلة الهاشمي وغيرها من تفاصيل. في لقاء برجل دين، يذكر الأخير بأن الوضع في العراق رائع اليوم لعدة أسباب هي: إزاحة صدام، التجمع بدون خوف من الاعتقال – في إشارة لقانون الطوارئ – وتوافر الكهرباء وأكلهم للموز!. يتطرق الكتاب للعلاقة بين قوات التحالف والمواطنين وزيارات للأسواق والمدارس وغيرها. يضم الكتاب ملاحق منها ملحق بأسماء الشخصيات المسؤولة عن كل ملف في سلطة الإئتلاف المؤقتة.

باختصار، أشعر أن الكتاب تبريري ومحاولة من السير سينوت التخلي عن مسؤوليته في فشل المهمة رغم إقراره بالفشل. قد يكون الكتاب مهمًا لكنني وجدته مملاً بصراحة واستغرقتُ وقتا طويلا في إتمام قراءته.

Quotes:

- But more than 150,000 foreign troops had had to remain in an environment in which violence, criminality, sectarianism, insurgency and terrorism were spinning out of control. Although Iraq had become nominally fully sovereign and the foreign forces were present at the request of the Iraqi authorities, many of the country’s citizens still regarded these forces as occupiers.

- Hasty generalization is a logical fallacy involving inductive generalization based on insufficient evidence... basing a broad conclusion upon the statistics of a survey of a small group that fails to sufficiently represent the whole population.

- Those who had initiated the operations in Iraq in 2003 knew little about the country. Traditional political, commercial, diplomatic, media and social links had eroded over the previous decades of Ba’athist rule, and had been virtually extinguished during the 12 year regime of international sanctions which commenced with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Heavy reliance was placed on the testimony of exiles who had agendas of their own and who were adept at manipulating their paymasters. The decision-makers and their strategic policy advisers had no idea of the-limit-s of their knowledge´-or-the extent of their ignorance.

- Better forty years of oppression than one day of anarchy. Arab proverb

- During August temperatures rose to the high 50s and, being close to the sea, the atmosphere was humid and dispiriting. The behavior of the local Basrawis began to change and their attitude towards us shifted from one of neutral tolerance to suspicious hostility.

- He answered warmly and positively. It was excellent, he said. ‘First, Saddam is gone. Second, we can meet together like this and not be arrested’. There were about 20 of us present, which would have been a suspiciously large assembly previously. ‘Third’, and Hakim pointed to our host’s elaborately large and bright chandeliers in the middle of the room, ‘the lights are on’. He paused. ‘And fourth, we are eating bananas!’

- An illiterate but effective former Fauji, Abu Rashid – a relative of Abu Hatem – had been appointed Chief of Police.

- Plans are nothing. Planning is everything. General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

- Planning had started in the US State Department in October 2001, less than a month after the attacks on 11 September, under the --dir--ection of a former State Department official, Thomas S. Warrick. The operation was called The Future of Iraq Project. Its papers were released under the US Freedom of Information Act and in September 2006 they were published by the National Security Archive, an independent, non-governmental research institute at The George Washington University, together with some supporting documents.

- The enormously important issue of education was the subject of only one meeting, recorded in six pages. Local government was covered in more detail: 44 pages, including PowerPoint slides and supporting evidence. Agriculture, probably the country’s greatest single source of employment, was dealt with in less than eight pages, mainly concerned with increasing cereal production – the result of just two sessions of a working group on water, agriculture and environment. Transitional justice merited over 200 pages.

- The CPA could then use this note as the basis of a consistent approach across the country. The main purpose would be to persuade selected religious leaders of the supremacy of the law and to disassociate themselves from Moqtada. It would be essential that Iraqis themselves were seen to take a lead and that there should be minimal evidence that the CPA were trying to orchestrate opposition, although that of course was exactly what we would be doing. Therefore the approaches should be-limit-ed to a small number and conducted with great discretion. We hoped that, knowing that Moqtada was not popular in the South and that other Iraqis were concerned about him too, this might leave him high and dry.

- Of course Basra city had none of the brilliant, shiny and grossly expensive perfection of Kuwait city, which I found myself reacting strongly against. But neither did it reveal any of the poverty and deprivation which were such common sights in parts of Pakistan and India. Despite its deep troubles, it still looked like a city of a middle-income developing country. There were plenty of cars on the roads- shops were open- Basra city’s tea shops were busy and there was a general air of bustle.

- Power lines were stripped- copper and aluminium cable were smelted into ingots and sold on in neighbouring countries. As a result, whole swathes of the country were without electricity, even when generators were brought on stream by the joint efforts of the Coalition and Iraqi engineers.

- In March 2006, ABC News On Line reported: ‘The former WA (Western Australian) farmer was labelled the “million-dollar man” by the Federal Opposition when it was revealed the Government paid him --$--1 million for less than a year’s work in Baghdad’. In contrast, a report from the US General Accounting Office in June 2004 reported that of the --$--22 million allocated for agriculture infrastructure projects, only --$--12 million had actually been disbursed.

- The first set of elections duly took place in January 2005, the referendum on 15 October, and the constitutionally-based elections occurred on 15 December 2005, with a turnout of nearly 80 per cent. The Iraqi people went to the polls three times in 12 months, with turnouts which put many Western democracies to shame.








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