Six Iraqi opposition groups met in London on Saturday but the chances of this being similar to the Bonn meeting that helped create the post-Taliban Afghan government look limited. Nonetheless lets hope that the US administration’s attitude is more constructive than the one outlined by an official in this recent Washington Post preview of the meeting.
There appear to be some in Washington who see the Iraqi opposition’s wish for a role in the liberation of their country as being little more than technical consultants.
“Other than that, I don’t see anything rapid about giving Iraqi exiles much authority,” a senior US official told the Post, “They can’t even get their act together.”
Given that the opponents of Saddam range from Communists to bankers, monarchists and Kurdish groups to Iranian-backed Islamists it is not surprising that there are divisions. Perhaps a more explicit commitment to a plan for a post-Saddam Iraq from the US will help to unify the groups however.
A more positive (or optimistic?) approach is taken by Ghassan Atiyyah in a piece for Open Democracywhich also looks at the history of such opposition fronts.
The question of what role for the Iraqi opposition is obviously an important one for people on the left debating the pros and cons of war. This New York Times article (Reg required) goes through the debate currently ongoing among people on the left in the States.