Hmm. We don’t know if we can pat ourselves on the back yet, but it does look like our projection about the Shi’ite response to Saddam’s capture is starting to assume the outlines we predicted.

“Officials held a round of urgent meetings in Washington and Baghdad in the wake of the rejection on Sunday by a powerful Shiite religious leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, of the administration's complex plans to hold caucuses around the country to select an interim legislature and executive in a newly self-governing Iraq. Officials say they are responding to the cleric's objections with a new plan that will open the caucuses to more people and make their inner workings more transparent.
Administration officials also expressed concern about a separate part of Ayatollah Sistani's statement on Sunday that demanded that any agreement for American-led forces to remain in Iraq be approved by directly elected representatives.”
If you will cast your mind back, faithful reader, you’ll remember that we said, a day or two after the capture of Saddam:

“With Saddam rendered irrelevant, the third factor in Iraqi politics can now come into play � and come into play in such a way as to disturb Wolfowitz�s dream of Pax Chile on the Euphrates. That third factor is the Shi’ite demand for elections. Americans have been blocking this demand, because the American backplan is to somehow thrust a Chalabi or Chalabi like figure on Iraq. This thrusting was to be called democracy, not rape. So far, with Chalabi, it has pretty much failed …

In our opinion, the combinations now at work in Iraq are about to tumble to a new configuration. And this is not going to make the Pentagon happy. Our bet, right now, is that the following will emerge as the combination of forces in Iraq in the next, oh, two or three months:

The resistance will continue. It is a headless resistance. Whether it gets a brain will make a lot of difference, here. Our bet is that it won’t.

The Council is going to have to over-reach or dissolve. They�ve been put in an impossible middle position by the Americans. The question of who and how and for what Saddam H. is tried is going to be a point around which the Council will have to concentrate, for good or ill. We think that the Council, which is as brainless as the resistance, will try to over-reach and submit at the same time, and that it just won�t work any more. Alienating its patron, and alienated from its land, the Council will change radically.

Southern Iraq, assured by Saddam�s capture, will finally show a restiveness that America can ill afford. This, we think, will shape whatever happens next in Iraq. As to what that shape will be --- we have no idea. In truth, the Bushies have been so blinded to what is happening in Iran that they dont realize that the conservative mullahs are, ideologically, their best friends. We think the clerical Shi�a elite, which has obtained a considerable amount of capital, is eager to find an excuse to privatize, and to inject its capital into the global monetary flows. Whether that influences the Shia elite in Iraq is something we don�t know enough about to predict.”

Hey, that looks pretty good at the moment.

So, the comedy of multi-cultural misunderstanding goes on. It is rather amazing that Americans in 2004 are acting the way Americans in 1904 acted in the Philippines – as if they were dealing with an inferior race. But, in fact, that is exactly what they are doing. These grafs are wholly believable, and wholly astonishing:
“Now that Ayatollah Sistani has rejected the system as not democratic enough, administration officials said they were intensifying efforts in all of Iraq's governorates and in cities and towns to hold local meetings to select delegates to the caucuses.
The new hope in Washington, the officials said, was in effect to make the caucus system look more democratic without changing it in a fundamental way.”
Right. It’s the beads approach – give those savages beads, and in return they’ll give you Manhattan. Hell, worked four hundred years ago, oughta work today. So much for the much lauded moral politics of the Wolfowitz crowd. It’s democracy without any of that pesky will of the people stuff. And really, how can the people object when we’ve imposed on them a perfectly decent savage, one Chalabi, who even learned the charming American art of swindling – he’s almost as civilized as us!

However, a hopeful point should be made. We originally thought that there might be a lot more violence in Southern Iraq, due to the capture of S. There hasn't been. Really, there is a chance for a peaceful revolution here, after all: one bringing with it the prefiguration of Iraqi democracy without the servility towards the Americans. A good thing, a very good thing.