Must-read on the Sunnis at Strategy Page

Reality Check for Sunni Arabs (08/28/2005 entry)

Here’s a good post, especially the lengthy discussion of the border patrol situation:

The newly reconstituted border guards are short of radios, sensors (night vision goggles, motion sensors, searchlights), weapons, vehicles, food and fuel. Part of this is just the getting everyone everything while the border guard force is rapidly built from nothing. Saddam’s border guard was pretty corrupt and incompetent, and no great loss. A new one is still being formed.

But a major reason for the material shortages is corruption. An old Iraqi tradition is that, at every level of the bureaucracy, the guy in charge takes a cut of the budget. Not a lot of the money gets down to the individual border guard level. Cracking down on the corruption has been viewed as something of an unnatural act. Iraqis are still split on the corruption issue. Many Iraqis believe that eliminating corruption, in an abstract sense, is a good thing. But when it comes down to the their level, and leaving a bribe on the table, there is much less enthusiasm for clean government. But the American advisors are rubbing everyone’s noses into the results, pointing out that the border guards are ill-equipped because Iraqi officials up the line stole the money. Many Iraqis are not happy with having this pointed out to them, but most make the connection and accept the fact that there is a problem that only Iraqis can solve.

There’s much more and you should go read it.


  1. Would the new constitution, and the problems they have with it, have anything to do with this corruption issue?

  2. Exact same problem here in Israel/Palestine with the Arabs. All that ‘professionalism’ and ‘lets move our culture forward’ theory stuff is fine as long as the guy your talking too gets his cut of whatever action (like having a physical plant improvement built at our work site) is taking place. I swear they are their own worst enemies.

  3. Yet more evidence that Arabs are backward savages who will never accept civilization. They should just be exterminated.

  4. Right………..! The fact Arab culture (in the mid east anyway) tends towards authortartianism, paternalism, nepotism, and graft does not mean it is without redeeming value. I see much evidence Arab culture is SLOWLY adopting more progressive values in some areas (like those mentioned above) as they become more exposed to western values and culture. Of course that same exposure has pushed many into radicalism as a reaction to it. One can hardly say western culture & capitalism is without it’s drawbacks too. We’ve have certainly committed our share of evil on the world (Hiler, Stahlin, a whole pack of Roman & mid evil despots, yahta, yahta, yahta……)