Sowing the Seeds of Civil War

From Holden:

Iraqi Shiites, with their victorious purple fingers, want to purge the security forces Georgie is counting on to pull the U.S. military out of Iraqi briar patch.

Iraq’s fledgling security forces are in danger of collapse if the newly elected government follows through on promises to purge the ranks of former regime members, politicians and analysts warn.

The dismantling of Saddam Hussein’s military is widely viewed as one of the gravest mistakes of the U.S.-led occupation, and the Bush administration has worked in the past year to reverse it by helping the interim Iraqi government restore the jobs of some highly skilled soldiers who served under Saddam.

Now, analysts say, the incoming government led by Shiite Muslims is at risk of repeating the error that was blamed for swelling the mostly Sunni insurgency.

[snip]

“All the ministries, especially ones that concern security, like defense and interior, need reformation,” [ Hadi al-Ameri, the leader of a large Shiite militia that won seats as a political party in the election] said. “All the bad elements should be removed.”

Ameri and other Shiite leaders have called for a second wave of de-Baathification, the controversial process of dismissing Iraqis who held a ranking level of membership in Saddam’s Baath Party. The first campaign, overseen by onetime Pentagon favorite Ahmed Chalabi, was criticized as overzealous and ineffective.

Many Sunnis have vowed to fight the proposed purge of the military, calling the plan a witch hunt that would institutionalize revenge against men who are innocent or who had no choice but to carry out Saddam’s orders.