Getting the Arabs Involved in Iraq
A top U.N. envoy urged Arab foreign ministers at a conference yesterday to work together to end Iraq's political deadlock, while Iraqi and other Arab leaders squabbled over the role of Iran.Now, I think it's a good thing for the Arab League to step up its involvement in the political process in Iraq for two reasons. First, it's a statement of support for representative government in the region, and second, it should be reassuring to the Sunni minority in Iraq that there will be some powerful Sunni voices whispering in the ear of the Shi'a dominated government of Iraq. But I think the Arab League, and other Muslim countries could do more.
"Neighboring countries and the region are responsible for sending a clear message to the Iraqi people that they are supporting the political process in Iraq," said Ashraf Qazi, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy in Iraq.
I recall from my JPME that OAS observers were used with great success in a number of countries in Central America as they transitioned to democracy to ensure that the ruling party and security forces were acting within the law and applying the law in an even handed manner. Perhaps some of the more prominent and stable Sunni countries, like Jordan, Oman, Indonesia and Morocco should be encouraged to pony up some observers to accompany the Shi'a dominated army and security forces in Iraq to reassure Iraq's Sunni population that they'll be treated fairly.