Friday, July 09, 2004

In Baghdad this week, the Post's own Matthew Gutman found both the fledgling government and the man on the street to be more confident and astute than often credited. Though security is clearly the top priority, the government rejected offers from Yemen and Jordan to send peacekeepers. Nor is the Iraqi street interested in seeing troops from any Arab or Muslim country.

"The toppling of Saddam is affecting all our neighboring countries," said Ali Rubai, relaxing in a Baghdad cafe. "The leaders of the Arab world fear such changes, and therefore will try to prevent a better future for Iraq."

Meanwhile, despite the fact that Iraqi police are being blown up by terrorists at an alarming rate, Gutman found that Iraqis are literally lining up for hours to join the police.

In some places, anti-Zarqawi vigilantes are popping up to fight the terrorists who are plaguing Iraq, and the Alawi government has just given itself emergency powers to allow widespread detentions in some areas. We can expect the next year or so to be messy, but there is little doubt that Iraqis understand they have been given the opportunity for a future they don't want to lose and are willing to fight for.

No comments: