Debaathification redux

In an earlier post, I noted that the Iraqi parliament had passed a law allowing the re-hiring of rank-and-file members of the Baathist party, who had lost their jobs in one fell swoop as a result of a decision by Paul Bremer in the immediate aftermath of the US-led invasion. As has been the case on numerous prior occasions in Iraq, the news may not be as good as originally hoped. From the NY Times we find:

A day after the Iraqi Parliament passed legislation billed as the first significant political step forward in Iraq after months of deadlock, there were troubling questions — and troubling silences — about the measure’s actual effects.

The measure, known as the Justice and Accountability Law, is meant to open government jobs to former members of the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein — the bureaucrats, engineers, city workers, teachers, soldiers and police officers who made the government work until they were barred from office after the American invasion in 2003.

But the legislation is at once confusing and controversial, a document riddled with loopholes and caveats to the point that some Sunni and Shiite officials say it could actually exclude more former Baathists than it lets back in, particularly in the crucial security ministries.

Once again, the crux of the issue in Iraq is the sectional and interethnic struggle amongst Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, and non-Arab Kurds, and who get what, when, and where. There are no easy answers.

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