Thursday, April 10, 2003

Well, the Brits unveiled the Sheik of Basra today...

And it didn't go very well.

Today, Sheik Muzahim Mustafa Kanan Tameemi went public, meeting with a council of about 30 local leaders designated to start running the city. Tameemi, a former brigadier general in the army of Saddam Hussein and a onetime member of Hussein's ruling Baath Party, was considered sufficiently anti-Hussein by British officials for the post. But the announcement today was greeted by political tumult. A rival tribe nearly rioted, throwing stones at Tameemi's home in the Basra suburb of Zubair. In a poor slum neighborhood of the city, there was a protest march of Shiite Muslims sympathetic to Iran. It all suggested how difficult it will be to find prominent Iraqis to incorporate into a new administration to replace the fallen Baath Party.