Two stories in the Washington Post today, illustrate that Democracy may be finally budding in Iraq. But they also illustrate that Democracy has its consequences—one of them not very good for an American company.
In one story the Post reports:
Tens of thousands of policemen and soldiers, doctors at hospitals, prisoners clad in orange jumpsuits and residents forced from contested towns cast early ballots Wednesday in provincial elections that will redraw Iraq’s political landscape.
Thirteen of the country’s 18 provinces will vote Saturday to choose the equivalent of state legislatures, while the three predominantly Kurdish provinces in the north will hold elections later this year.
Although there has been some scattered violence, and there are “signs of potential conflict emerging,” overall these elections and the mood and turnout are good signs for Iraq’s emerging Democracy.
On the other side of the “Democracy coin,” the Post reports that
The Iraqi government has informed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that it will not issue a new operating license to Blackwater Worldwide, the embassy’s primary security company, which has come under scrutiny for allegedly using excessive force while protecting American diplomats, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Wednesday.
As most of us remember, Blackwater gained notoriety and became widely loathed by Iraqis after a string of allegedly unnecessary shootings and use of excessive force by its armed guards, culminating in the infamous Nisoor Square incident in central Baghdad when Blackwater guards opened fire on Iraqis in the crowded square killing 17 civilians, “after the guards’ convoy reportedly came under fire.”
The Post calls this decision by Iraq’s Interior Ministry, “one of the boldest moves the government has made since the Jan. 1 implementation of a security agreement with the United States that sharply curbed American power in Iraq.”
Certainly, a budding Democracy in action.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.