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America’s Incremental Iraqi Coup d etat

Published: August 26, 2007, Author: MHirch

President George W. Bush delivered a “hot” and “cold” testimonial in support and with disappointment about Nouri Al-Maliki’s Iraqi government when he spoke before an assembly of the Veterans of Foreign Wars last week. America’s political leaders (both parties) are openly seeking the removal of Maliki, and Bush is pretending support while his operatives are working behind the scenes to replace him with Ayad Alawi–the former “interim prime minister” favored by the American government and particularly the US Central Intelligence Agency.

Maliki represents the success of the Shiite majority population and his selection as Prime Minister symbolically represents the ascendancy of Shiite dominance as a majority population in Iraq. Alawi is an American lapdog who is likely to be inserted as a replacement of a “failed Maliki government” providing an authoritarian alternative to elected officials. Republicans and many Democratic political leaders in the United States are desperately seeking to create the pretense of “political progress” in Iraq by undermining what the US has claimed is a sovereign government. The American answer appears to be: Install an authoritarian government that will do the bidding of American political leaders.

The American incremental coup of the Maliki government appears to be fully underway.

This all reminds me of what the American government under the Gerald Ford Administration and later under the Carter Administration attempted to do with American Indian governments in the middle and late 1970s. Fearing the emergence of political leaders like Joe DeLaCruz of the Quinault Indian Nation, Wendel Chino of the Mescalero Apache and Peter MacDonald of the Navajo Nation who advocated “tribal sovereignty” the American government attempted to organize an “indirect coup” to overthrow as many as twelve tribal governments.

In a memorandum produced in the Office of Management and Budget in the White House (sometimes referred to as the Borgstroum Memo or the Mitchell Memorandum [1976]) government officials put together a plan to facilitate the “departure of Indians from reservations” through the introduction of psychologists charged with persuading Indians to leave. Or, the alternative plan was called “incrementalism” that was more specifically targeted at gradually reducing funds to the “problem tribes” hoping to force the elimination of jobs on which Indians were dependent, then hope that the angry tribal members would force out the “failed political leader.” Then a new leader, it was thought, could be inserted in the tribal government who would be more malleable, made more responsive to American government needs and interests.

American government attitudes toward the tribes in Iraq appears to be no different than its occasional practices dealing with American Indian tribes. The overthrow of Maliki is likely to set the stage for more civil war and polarization in Iraq. The Americans are about to make a mistake if they succeed…and it appears their incremental coup is about to succeed. The “blue finger” elections once considered symbolic of Bushes’ democratic success in Iraq is about to be thrown out and replaced by authoritarian intervention. We will probably see Alawi, a CIA hack, assume control of the Iraqi government and we will see the return of Saddam Hussein’s “heavy hammer” authoritarianism serving American political needs. Hussein once performed this role for the Americans in the early 1980’s and when he was no longer useful he was eliminated. This is bad policy, and will doubtless produce long term complications for peoples in the Middle East and in the United States.

(c) 2007 Center for World Indigenous Studies

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