“See No Evil” Attitude Toward Iraq

There is a sharp counterpoint to the happy talk between President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Malaki at the White House. It comes from Deputy Prime Minister Salah al-Mutlaq, a leading Sunni politician who was part of the Iraqiya party which won more votes than al-Maliki’s Dawa party in the last election. In an interview with CNN, he warns that al-Maliki is becoming a new “dictator”:

“The political process is going in a very wrong direction, going toward a dictatorship,” he said. “People are not going to accept that, and most likely they are going to ask for the division of the country. And this is going to be a disaster. Dividing the country isn’t going to be smooth, because dividing the country is going to be a war before that and a war after that”….

Perhaps Mutlaq is being hyperbolic; but his words carry weight because of his considerable influence and standing in Iraqi politics. And they reflect the views of other Sunni leaders. Whether they are over-reacting or not doesn’t matter: Their words can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if Sunnis decide to once again take up arms against the government. They also serve as a harsh indictment of the Obama administration, which is taking a “see no evil” attitude toward this strategically important country.