More on coup d'etat rumors in Iraq
From Egypt's Al Ahram, a more rumors of a coup d'etat brewing in Baghad, with lots of interesting detail:
Well-informed Iraqi politicians told Al-Ahram Weekly that discussions of a coup have been underway for some time between American and Iraqi officers. One politician stated that several Iraqi leaders, who have been working closely with the Americans even before the 2003 war that toppled Saddam Hussein, are also involved in the discussions.
Another politician said Iraqi army officers are planning to stage a military coup with US help to oust Al-Maliki's government once he exhausts efforts to end violence. Politicians visiting Cairo last week said that several top army officers have visited Washington recently for talks with US officials on plans for replacing A-Maliki's government by a "national salvation" government with the mission to re- establish security and stability in Iraq.
The Iraqi politicians, who requested anonymity, said the Iraqi army officers' visit to the United States was designed to discuss the coup possibility and coordinate the military movements once such an option arises in case of a failure of Al-Maliki's government to restore order. He said among the prominent officers were the deputy chief of staff, a Muslim Shiite, the intelligence chief, a Sunni, and the commander of the air force, a Kurd. It is believed the three, who represent the current sectarian and ethnic make up of Iraqis, would form the nucleus of the next government after the army takes over power.
According to a third Iraqi politician, the coup idea has not reached the planning stage and it is still under discussion. He claims, via telephone from Baghdad, that under the proposals, units from the new Iraqi army, with the assistance of US forces, will take control, suspend the constitution, dissolve parliament and form a new government. He further suggests that martial law and a state of emergency will also be declared as the military takes direct control of the Iraqi provinces and local administrations.
He also said that certain Arab countries were informed of the plan and were requested to offer their help in convincing the leaders of the former Baath Party regime residing in their countries to support the move and stop the party-led insurgency in Iraq. In return, they will be invited to participate in the government at a later stage.
On 23 October the pan-Arab Al-Hayat daily quoted Iraqi leaders as saying talks about a coup inside the Baghdad Green Zone are rampant. "Al-Maliki was democratically elected and he cannot be deposed through a military coup," said Walid Al-Helli, member of the political bureau of Dawa Party. "The Americans are changing their course by 180 degrees, I cannot rule out that they will use Al-Maliki as a scapegoat," said Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman. On Tuesday the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that US- backed head of intelligence Gen Mohamed Abdullah Al-Shahwani was moved to neighbouring Jordan after threats to assassinate him following the coup reports.
Short of "cutting and running", the coup solution may be the Bush administration's least repellent option for an exit from Iraq. But not even this will end the plight of Iraqis or halt their country slipping into further chaos. It might even be a recipe for its division into three sectarian entities which many in Washington advocate if the United States wants to avoid a Vietnamisation of the Iraq war.