Friday, December 1, 2006

Beyond Disappointment

Having Pinned Little Hope on Talks, Many Iraqis Appear to Be Beyond Disappointment
BAGHDAD, Nov. 30 — Even if Sana al-Nabhani had cared about the summit meeting in Jordan on Thursday between Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and President Bush, she would not have been able to watch the news. As usual, Iraqis went without electricity from the national grid for most of the day and she could not find any gasoline to run her personal generator.

Told by a reporter later in the day about the meeting’s outcome, Ms. Nabhani, a 34-year-old homemaker, scoffed: “Is that all? Was that even worth the fuel consumed by their airplanes?”
She's not alone ...Ahmed Khalaf, a Baghdad taxi driver:
“It’s useless! ... It’s wasting time! ... Nothing will happen, and we will get no results and no solutions ... We need a strong state that can make decisions, that can beat the bad guys, can beat the militias. This meeting is just for the media, and it’s not useful!
Huda, Baghdad graphic designer:
“The solutions are so obvious that Maliki does not need Bush to tell him about them ... Mr. Maliki had many chances before to show his ability, but he failed ... We need a strong man and he is not like this at all.”
Mohammad Ridha, an agricultural engineer in Najaf, says the meeting
“didn’t make me feel any less depressed.”
Not all Iraqis are feeling the same way, of course. How could they? It's a country of 27 million, or at least it used to be. How could they all think the same thoughts, feel the same feelings? Some powerful Iraqis are still hoping for a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian solution.
Falah Hassan Shenshel, a member of the Sadr bloc, said Thursday that the Sadr loyalists were reaching across ethnic and religious lines to organize an alliance against the American military presence in Iraq. The group, he said, would demand a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops. “It’s a patriotic national group, it’s not sectarian or ethnic,” he said. “We need to be freed from the occupation.”