The US and Britain are pressuring Iraq’s dominant Shia community to relinquish two key ministries in negotiations for a new government, as the country was hit by a wave of bombings that killed at least 24 people.
The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, warned yesterday that Washington might cut aid to the Iraqis if the new government included sectarian politicians, pointing out that the US had spent “billions” in building up the police and the army.
“American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly. We are not going to invest the resources of the American people into forces run by people who are sectarian,” he said. He singled out the defence and interior ministries, saying they should be in the hands of people “who are non-sectarian, broadly acceptable and who are not tied to militias”.
In other words, we bought it, we paid for it, and we’ll be darned if we’re gonna let there be any mingling of religion and state in our brand-new government in Iraq.
This is from an administration that owes its life and its fortune to the Chrisitian Coalition, that pushes the bounds of church and state to the limits and beyond the First Amendment, and whose party is actively recruiting new voters from the directories of churches. Oy.