Amir Taheri is an Iranian born columnist who now works for Benadora Associates, a New York/Washington based PR firm, has written many insightful articles in the past concerning issues in the Middle East. His perspective is a welcome antidote to the usual west-hating diatribes coming out of the Arab press, and this article here is no exception. Telling it straight and to the point, Mr. Taheri tells us-
WHAT TO DO IN IRAQ?: AND THE REAL ROAD AHEAD
May 4, 2004 -- WHAT to do about Iraq? I was bombarded with this question during a recent visit to the United States.
The question is based on two assumptions. First, that Iraq is about to plunge into one of the nightmare scenarios discussed by self-styled experts on TV. Second, that there is some kind of magic wand that one could wave to transform Iraq into a paradise of freedom and prosperity.
Both assumptions are false.
The nightmares are often peddled by those who had opposed the liberation because they didn't wish to see a U.S.-led coalition bring down a Third World dictator. The doomsayers' initial prediction was that, deprived of its oppressor, Iraq would plunge into civil war. That has not happened, so they now warn of chaos, and predict a nationwide insurrection against the Coalition.
But is Iraq really plunging into chaos? Anyone in contact with Iraqi realities would know that the answer is: No.
Yes, a variety of terrorist, insurgent and ordinary criminals are active in the country. Parts of Baghdad remain unsafe. Some roads, especially in the desert area bordering Jordan and Syria, are prone to attacks by bandits. And, as in many other parts of the world where criminal gangs operate, there is also some hostage-taking. But most of Iraq's 18,000 villages and 200-plus towns and cities remain as safe, if not safer, than those in some other Arab countries.
The Coalition faces a problem in Fallujah. But Fallujah accounts for no more than 4 percent of Iraq's Sunni Arab community. Other major Sunni cities - Mosul, Ramadi, even Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown - remain calm......................
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