The German Press on Developments in Iraq

One thing the German papers can all agree about covering is the record heatwave currently raging there. (It’s sunny and somewhat warm here in Amsterdam, too, but not really too bad.) But that’s boring; my cursory examination of the heatwave-related articles in the various German on-line papers unfortunately failed to turn up any piquant points of the “man-bites-dog” variety that I could usefully bring to your attention, not even any weather researchers willing to see the current wave as the forerunner of a longer warming trend in Northern Hemisphere temperatures.

Otherwise we could talk about Liberia. Maybe some other time; instead there is some interesting coverage in the German press of the ongoing situation in Iraq. (Unfortunately, none of it – yet! – discusses the deployment of Polish troops going on there.) Die Welt has an interesting article about the so-called “terror tourists”. These are the Islamic volunteers out of lands such as Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, the Palestinian areas, and, yes, Egypt and Saudi Arabia (the former the second-largest recipient world-wide of US foreign aid money, by the way) who come into Iraq via Syria and Iran to conduct their jihad against the western occupation troops there, and the Americans in particular. There could be as many as a thousand of these “terror tourists” in-country already, according to the estimates of Middle Eastern intelligence agencies, and their contribution is doing much to keep up the resistance to occupation forces in the face of waning resistance from Iraqi Baath party holdouts and uncertainty among radical Shiite groups in southern Iraq as to whether it would be a better idea to fight the occupiers or join them in the effort to rebuild the country.

And there is this further report in Die Welt about the first ministerial post in the transitional Iraqi government having been assigned. The winner is Adib el Dschadradschi (German spelling), of the Independent Democrat party, who was designated as Iraqi foreign minister. The Iraqi Governing Council is the authority behind this move, and Die Welt‘s report indicates that they’ve also already made their decisions on who is to occupy a further eleven of the twenty-five total ministerial posts they need to fill. Interestingly, the post of interior minister (i.e. controller of the national police) is said to be slated for a member of the Shiite “Dawa” party – a very influential Shiite political party, which for a while there was unsure whether it wouldn’t just be better to hold back and resist the Americans in their own jihad, rather than actually try to work with them to get the country back on its feet. And another important Shiite party, with particularly strong connections to Iran, the SCIRI, will be given the Science and Education ministry. Well, it is true that, on the basis of numbers, the Shiites constitute the majority of Iraq’s population.

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