Sheikh Majid al-Azzawi was one proud Iraqi. His office, surrounded by sandbags, barbed wire and tall concrete walls, looked more like a military base than an administrative building. But even the pitch-black darkness that swirled in the corridors most of the day did not dampen al-Azzawi’s spirits. “We are very happy to be part of this council, even if we have simple equipment,” said the member of the Rusafa district council in central Baghdad. “It is the first time for all the members of the government, because it was impossible before.”

The Rusafa council is one of hundreds of local proto-government entities set up all over Iraq by the US military and the US Agency for International Development — through the private Research Triangle Institute (RTI) — since the end of “major combat” in May 2003. The role of the North Carolina- based contractor came to light in November when Coalition Provisional Authority head L. Paul Bremer unveiled his origi- nal plan — later scrapped — for transferring “sovereignty” back to Iraqis: the interim government would be chosen through complex caucuses in local councils whose members had been vetted by RTI.

RTI is one of a battalion of private contractors hired by the US government for Iraq’s other “reconstruction.” As Bechtel attempts to rebuild bridges and power plants, other US companies are attempting to fashion Iraq’s legal, economic, political and social institutions so that they will be conducive to US interests. Most of the contracts are funded by USAID as foreign aid, and as USAID is the first to admit, in its aptly titled Foreign Aid in the National Interest, “all aid is political.” Foreign aid, says the USAID website, has a twofold purpose: “furthering America’s foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free markets while improving the lives of citi- zens of the developing world.” In Iraq, USAID’s partner RTI is recruiting and mobilizing Iraqis who it hopes will push for and defend preferred US policies — both within the state and in civil society — in a sovereign Iraq. One of them was Sheikh al-Azzawi.

Knocking on Doors

Among the first contractors to arrive after the invasion, RTI employees have roamed the country searching for what its contract with USAID calls “the most appropriate ‘legitimate’ and functional leaders.” (Quotation marks around “legitimate” appear in the original contract.) Aside from setting up a five-level system of local councils all over the country, RTI is also creat- ing and funding dozens of non-governmental organizations. How RTI — and its employer, the US government — defines “legitimate” is evident in the way it went about constituting these councils and determining what type of NGOs get supported. “What we are trying to do,” said Fritz Weden of the USAID Office of Transition Initiatives, “is to identify those groups, those leaders that you can work with.” [1]

RTI did not simply knock on the doors of “pro-occupation” Iraqis willing to serve the occupiers. There was no uniform process. In the village of Shemaya near Sadr City, RTI and the military actually allowed residents to cast votes, but the candidates allegedly made sure that only their relatives, tribe members and friends knew about the voting. There was no general voters’ list. “We didn’t know anything about these elections. We just suddenly heard about them,” complained one tribal leader who accused the winning council chair of nepotism and corruption. In Balad, a city north of Baghdad, Nabil Darwish Muhammad, a mayor who was otherwise sympathetic to the occupation authorities accused them of rigging the elections to favor their candidate. [2] As RTI employee Christian Arandel admitted at a forum in North Carolina: “Let us be clear. These are not elections. There are all processes of selections.” [3] In these selections, even though some local leaders were consulted and in some cases balloting actually took place, the US military, as guided by RTI, had the final say.

The Baghdad Citizen Advisory Council Handbook explicitly stated that the council members “for no specific term may be removed or replaced at any time by any authorized representative of the CPA or military commander.” In Taji, as in all places where a select group of Iraqis were asked by RTI to round up leaders, the self-appointed local community heads had to submit their list to the CPA for vetting. After two months, soldiers kicked out two alleged Baathists. “They were sitting in a meeting,” relates Kamal Ridha of the Taji City Council, “and the military commanders asked them to leave.” Hazim al-Suhail, an employee of the Pentagon’s Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council who sat at the Taji City Council meetings as a partner of RTI, was proud to say that, “There are no terrorists, no criminals and no thieves in the city councils.” At the Baghdad City Council, where RTI’s media officer Amir Tamimi also sits as a member, “terrorists” are banned. According to Tamimi, RTI instructed members of the local councils to kick out the “terrorists” — an appellation he would not define — through “democracy” by voting them out. They did.

Prior to RTI’s selection process, the CPA abolished all local councils that had been formed after the war. “I’m not opposed to [elections], but I want to do it in a way that takes care of our concerns,” Bremer said. “In a situation like this, if you start holding elections, the people who are rejectionists tend to win,” he explained. [4] Another CPA official was more direct when asked why elections could not be held soon: “There’s not enough time for the moderates to organize.” [5]

RTI’s task is to make sure the “legitimate” leaders — and not the rejectionists or the non-moderates — prevail. This mission serves the larger goal of building a social base of Iraqis that will bear with the continued US-led occupation, in order to offset those other groups that are hostile or uncooperative. “Beneath the new interest of the United States in bringing democracy to the Middle East,” points out Thomas Carothers, director of the Democracy Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “is the central dilemma that the most powerful, popular movements are the ones that we are deeply uncomfortable with.” [6]

“The Right People” Complementing RTI’s work is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a quasi-governmental body promised a 100 percent increase in Congressional funding in George W. Bush’s 2004 State of the Union address. “There is a lot of change taking place [in the Middle East],” NED President Carl Gershman remarked to the Washington Times. “We know how to get to the right people.”

In Nicaragua in 1990, the right people were from the conservative opposition party led by Violeta Chamorro, who ran against the Sandinista President Daniel Ortega with campaign funding from NED. [7] In Venezuela in April 2002, NED felt it made the right choice in supporting those who organized a failed coup d’etat against Hugo Chavez. [8] In Iraq, NED is once again busy searching for the right people. While RTI recruits people at the grassroots, NED and its affiliates have been developing the machinery for scores of political formations expected to contest the national elections planned for January 2005 or crowd the scheduled Constitutional Assembly to be held beforehand.

In Baghdad, scores of houses have been renovated to be the headquarters of new political parties — many of them furnished by NED. But NED does not simply dispense cash. Since the occupation began, NED’s affiliates, the International Repub- lican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), have been holding political party development semi- nars and focus group discussions. As with USAID-sponsored “political party development” programs, the NED seminars train Iraqis on techniques of strategic planning, building up the party’s local and regional structures, recruiting members, fundraising and media relations. More advanced levels take up electoral communication strategies, campaign planning and candidate recruitment. [9]

The NDI has been holding sessions for assessing party strengths and weaknesses and evaluating their potential for participating in elections. [10] The IRI has gone as far as produc- ing a database of parties, with information on each group’s characteristics, their regions of operations, and estimates of their memberships. [11] At least one of the parties, the Free Republican Party, has openly packaged itself as the Iraqi version of the US Republican Party. [12]

Meanwhile, the US government allotted funding through a common NED conduit, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) of the US Chamber of Commerce, to set up business associations in Iraq. “By serving as a platform to voice the business community’s needs and interests to political decision-makers, business associations contribute to the growth of a participatory civil society and the development of a regulatory and policy environment conducive to private enterprise,” reads its report. One of the organizations that CIPE founded, the Iraqi American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is bent on “promoting an open market economy and a democratic political system.” [13]

“Best Practices”

The layout of the office on the second floor of the Taji administrative building suggested that someone important worked there. Comfortable sofas for guests lined three walls, on the fourth side sat a massive wooden desk, and in the middle of the room, there were three small tables to hold the brass plate that carried the tiny cups of tea. Besides seeking out the council members, RTI was also in charge of refurbishing their offices. It was a Wednesday and, in a city where the lights are out, water is not running and garbage remains uncollected, a thousand tasks were waiting to be accomplished. But there was no urgency in what the Taji council members gathered in the office were doing: smoking and drinking tea.

For the purposes for which the council was created, the council members were doing a superb job. With no real power at all — not over budgets and not even over meeting schedules [14] — the councils’ main purpose was to deflect criticism of the US military and to channel the political energies of the population in non-threatening directions. In Sadr City, for instance, the neighborhood council was deployed to calm people down after a US helicopter knocked down a flag with religious significance. [15] In the Abu Nuwas neighborhood, according to one council member, the council was tasked with going door to door to collect guns.

After (or if ever) the bombs stop exploding, however, the US would like to see this layer of Iraqis calling the shots. To empower them to do so, the CPA conducted a massive country- wide teach-in about the different components of “democracy.” Many forums and workshops were organized by RTI and other contractors and attended by local council members and NGO leaders. In Najaf, there was a workshop on “Constitutional Democracy: Rebuilding Society in a Democratic Age.” [16] Across Iraq, according to a CPA press release, “Tribal Democracy Centers” were set up to encourage sheikhs and tribal leaders to take the required classes. Every week, after flag ceremonies in elementary and secondary schools, teachers of “democracy” were given five minutes to expound on various concepts. [17] In the northern city of Erbil, where the lessons were far more advanced, Iraqis from the government, civil society, media and the business community partook of a six-part series of “economic development clinics” for diagnosing the “potential role of Erbil in the global economy.” [18]

What kind of “democracy” were the Iraqi trainees told to master? Larry Diamond, a senior advisor to the CPA and former co-director of NED, offered a preview in a lecture at Hilla University in January 2004. According to the CPA press release, Diamond told his audience that a basic element of “democracy” is a “market economy” and among the most fundamental rights is the right to own property — a view affirmed by USAID. This, in turn, calls for a kind of democracy in which social equality is not a necessary aim and in which inequalities may in fact be necessary. As Samuel Huntington puts it: “Political democracy is clearly compatible with inequality in both wealth and income, and in some measure, it may be dependent upon such inequality…. Defining democracy in terms of goals such as economic wellbeing, social justice and overall economic equity is not…very useful.” [19]

While they imbibed these fundamental lessons, Iraqis would then be taught the operational details. RTI is required by contract to “identify, prepare and disseminate best practices in local governance.”

“Particular Expertise”

“We don’t present ourselves as we have advice to offer to you, or we don’t present ourselves as here’s the best way to do something…. We have experience in a lot of countries in doing similar kinds of work, and so we do try to say, ‘In our experience, here are some best practices,’” explained an RTI official at a USAID event in Washington. [20] The contractor’s record in dozens of other countries, as gathered from various USAID and RTI documents, shows what it considers to be best practices.

In Central and Eastern Europe, RTI was involved in administering “shock therapy” to former Soviet bloc states, moving the local governments toward open market economies. In Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, it took part in the privatization of over 150,000 state-owned enterprises. In Ukraine, RTI “advisors” developed the policy for setting the prices of local services. In Romania, where it prides itself on securing the enactment of a new municipal finance law, RTI created an association of municipal civil servants and “guided” them in lobbying for a new national legislative structure for local governments by teaching them the “best practices.” Providing what it described as “high-impact assistance” to national ministries and municipal associations setting Bulgaria’s fiscal decentralization policies, RTI pushed for the passage of a “Municipal Budget Act” and a “Municipal Borrowing Act.” Claiming to be giving “objective non-partisan assistance,” RTI was proud to report that it worked — on a daily basis — with officials from the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance drafting two policy papers on decentralization. In pushing for the privatization of Bulgaria’s educational system, it also claims to have helped set the standard of education each pupil will get given maintenance costs. In Poland, it developed training programs on the management of water and wastewater utilities. In privatizing and restructuring the housing agency of one city, RTI went so far as to provide samples of company charters as well as procedures for the meeting of shareholders to the newly privatized company.

In Indonesia, RTI trained bureaucrats to “restructure local water utilities into profit-making entities” by obliging Indonesian city dwellers to pay for services. In Pakistan, RTI was recently contracted by USAID to privatize the country’s educational system. [21] In South Africa, RTI boasts of drafting the 2001 constitutional amendment signed by President Thabo Mbeki allowing municipalities to make loans. The South African government claimed that the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Unit, which assisted municipalities in getting financing for their local infrastructure through public-private partnerships, was part of a government agency. It was, in fact, created and run by people from RTI. [22] The contractor con- ducted pilot demonstrations of privatized solid waste management in Tunisia.

RTI performed similar work throughout the Carribean and Central America, including Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as in Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Swaziland, Korea and Portugal. This long experience has given RTI reason to advertise its market niche. “We have particular expertise in helping prepare short- and long-term public-private partnerships for the financing and management of municipal services such as water supply, sanitation, waste management, energy and transportation,” the company’s website notes.

Nuts and Bolts

Given this track record, it is obvious what constitutes “best practices” for RTI. Paid by the USAID, RTI has no choice but to follow directives which the agency’s website makes clear: “The safeguarding and protection of economic freedom lies at the heart of USAID’s legal and institutional reform activities.” In its contracts with USAID, RTI invariably works to overhaul local governments in order to make them friendlier to the private sector.

In Iraq, if the pieces fall into place, the council members and the NGOs will soon be sitting through lessons on the “best practices” of local governance and directed, as RTI’s previous students have been, to reading materials such as the World Bank Tool for Private Sector Participation in Water and Sanitation. If this tool’s previous use is any indication, even the financial spreadsheet software the Iraqis will be asked to master will serve a specific purpose: assessing the creditworthiness of their municipality. Already in Karbala, local council members and bureaucrats have taken workshops in “Management Accounting and Reporting for Efficient and Effective Service Delivery.” [23]

When Iraqis eventually begin work on the nuts and bolts of their political system, RTI will be there every step of the way, providing “technical assistance” in drafting laws, helping ministries understand and relay complex regulations to their constituencies, supplying them with “model” constitutional provisions, giving them access to advice of “consultants” free of charge, handing them “technical” studies and background papers, and so on. According to the contractor’s website, “As the CPA and the Iraqi Governing Council advance in their efforts to strengthen national institutions, adopt and implement national policies, and design a political system for a future Iraq. RTI and our partners are working to ensure that the knowledge base generated by our field activities informs key decisions.” RTI’s contract spells out that they will “strengthen the capacities of NGOs…to advocate on behalf of preferred local policies.”

USAID takes pains to convince Iraqis that these measures are in their best interest, because they supposedly ensure that the new Iraq will succeed in the global economy. “Globalization and regional integration have benefited countries regard- less of their stage of development,” the agency maintains. [24] At the same time, USAID is quick to point out, this success will also redound to benefit of the US. “Successful development abroad generates diffuse benefits. It opens new, more dynamic markets for US goods and services. It generates more secure and promising environments for US investment.” [25]

If Iraq is “today’s California Gold Rush,” as former CPA director of private sector Tom Foley called it, then the silent battalion of private contractors exemplified by RTI is trying to erect the legal and institutional structures for ensuring that the occupiers get the most gold. “Business conditions are improving every day in Iraq, creating a greater opportunity for US business to explore virtually an untapped market,” cheerfully noted Commerce Secretary Don Evans at one point.

In the National Interest

In this ambitious plan, RTI and other contractors in Iraq are applying what the US government has learned from decades of using foreign aid to push for “policy reforms” in scores of countries around the world. [26]

According to USAID, the successful adoption of US-backed policies requires “political will” which can come from three sources: the state or ruling elites, indigenous civil society, and foreign governments and civil society. Focusing on only the state or the ruling elites, USAID learned, is not enough.

“Even if state elites propose reforms — for example, to privatize state industries, improve the tax system or crack down on smuggling and bribery — these reforms may not be sustain- able unless society is educated about the need for them and mobilized to support them,” the report Foreign Policy in theNational Interest points out. This explains why the US is also very hot on “civil society.” “Organized pressure from below, in civil society, plays an essential role in persuading ruling elites of the need for institutional reforms to improve governance,” the report notes. [27]

In Iraq, the US-sponsored civil society is intended to function as a backup in case the eventual elected government refuses to pursue “reforms” after the US leaves. “What we are hoping is…that there will be this moderating influence that will have an effect on the way that people at the national level choose to behave,” a USAID official said. “Now we know…that we stand a better than even chance of moderating some of the extreme behavior at the top.” [28] USAID is blunt about consequences: “If there is no political commitment to democratic and governance reforms, the United States should suspend government assistance and work only with non-government actors.” [29] Should the new US super-embassy in Baghdad wield its $18.4 billion reconstruction fund as such a lever of power, it would be practicing what USAID calls “tough love.” [30]

According to the USAID’s review, “reforms” do not succeed when “reformers” fail to organize wider constituencies among “stakeholders.” This is where foreign aid comes in. “Where political will for systemic reform is lacking,” says the report, “the main thing that foreign assistance can do is to strengthen the constituencies for reform in civil society.” [31] Foreign aid will be used to educate them about preferred policies and learn about the experience of other countries, improve their coordination with each other, enhance their ability to lobby and to project themselves as experts, and campaign for greater support. Interest groups such as trade unions, chambers of commerce and think tanks, as well as the mass media, should be targeted.

A crucial element for the success of “reforms,” USAID points out, is the perception of “ownership.” The adoption of “reforms” must not be seen as externally imposed, like the International Monetary Fund’s structural adjustment policies or the policies of a direct colonial authority. It is important that the “best practices” that the RTI is teaching Iraqis will, in the end, be seen as proposed by the Iraqis themselves.

“Policy Champions”

Guided by these realizations, USAID has developed a step-by-step list of tasks to improve the likelihood of “reforms” being successfully embraced. The first among these tasks is what USAID calls legitimation” or the means for getting “buy-in” from the people who should be seen as owning the policies. In this stage, USAID should single out what it calls “policy champions” who could be relied on to act as the main proponents of the policy. Drawing from its “Policy Implementation Toolkit,” USAID contractors are expected to carry out “stakeholder analysis” because this “helps managers to identify individuals and groups that have an interest, or stake, in the outcome of a policy decision.”

To carry out this analysis, USAID contractors must maintain a catalogue of stakeholders and classify them either as “sup- porters,” “opponents” or “neutral parties. They should also be able to prioritize “which groups are the most important ones for managers to seek to influence.” A more advanced version of the analysis is what USAID calls “political mapping” which should provide a graphic guide to the political landscape facing a certain policy. This tool “permits a finer-grained assessment of the support and opposition facing policy implementation and allows implementers to track how various implementation strategies might rearrange coalitions of supporters and opponents.” [32]

Presumably, these political maps hang somewhere at the USAID headquarters in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. What better way to gather data for “stakeholder analysis” and for “political mapping” than to sit through all of the local council meetings or be planted in the ministries, observe the members and bureaucrats, and take notes? RTI is incidentally under contract to “develop a body of knowledge that is essential to effective program implementation” by making reports on various aspects of Iraqi society, including “appropriate and legitimate leadership” and the “status of local governance.” At a time when Iraq’s governors are selected by “screening committees” rather than the people at large, the information that RTI gathers on the ground should be useful not only for getting the pulse of the people but also for identifying “policy champions” to be endorsed for ranking positions in government or “opponents” to be marginalized and countered.

The second task is “constituency building” or “gaining active support from groups that see the proposed reform as desirable or beneficial” and which is intended to “reduce or deflect the opposition of groups who consider the proposed reform measure to be harmful or threatening.” [33] Here, the plethora of workshops and conferences that the USAID organized become useful not just as educational sessions but also for building consensus and developing common plans of actions among “policy champions.” “It is of vital importance to set up groups of activists in every locality,” RTI noted from its experience in Ukraine. Building consensus is key because, as USAID points out, “The broader and more sustained elite consensus in favor of governance reforms, the greater impact democracy and governance programs tend to have.” [34]

“Entry Points”

In a sense, USAID and its contractors should have had it easier in Iraq. In most of the other countries where it has projects, USAID has no choice but to work through existing institutions. Confronting circumstances that are often beyond its control, USAID had to seize on opportunities such as constitutional reforms, the passage of bills or the implementation of administrative regulations to push for its preferred policies. In the jargon of USAID, these are the “entry points.” To increase its chances, USAID contractors are instructed to look for “sympathetic” ministers in the national administration or a chairperson of a strategic parliamentary commission in the legislature, as well as set up associations of elected officials or bureaucrats. USAID calls this “capitalizing on national opening.” [35]

In Iraq, the “entry point” was the invasion. The “national opening” was the collapsed state left in its wake. There are no existing institutions to work through; the US is attempting to create them from the ground up. From the rubble of the bombed-out ministry buildings scattered all over Baghdad new government agencies were designed and constructed by the occupation authorities. The “legitimate leaders” are not to be identified and coopted, they have to be groomed and primed. In other countries, USAID operators have to cajole or effectively coerce governments to submit to its “reforms.” In Iraq, they were the government. Despite the “transfer of sovereignty” on June 28, they continue to exercise considerable power over the interim government. There is no need to tinker with Iraq’s laws because, presumably, they will be written on a blank slate by the first elected government. All this is possible because of the rare opportunity offered by the war. In Iraq, the first step was not “legitimation” or “constituency building.” It was dropping bombs.

Hobbled by Contradiction

But it is not so easy. The violence directed at local council members selected by RTI is only the most dramatic measure of the difficulties the USAID programs face in Iraq. In April, anti-occupation militants killed Sheikh Majid al-Azzawi of the Rusafa council. The council president, who once said of those who attacked foreign soldiers, “they’re not resistance, they’re terrorists,” was injured.

Already in the spring of 2004, furthermore, the very people whom the US is counting on to preach patience to their fellow Iraqis are running out of it. “I want the occupation to end,” said Abbas of the Taji council. “I don’t care if they kick me out of the council,” he responded when reminded that he should not be saying such things. “In the end, the US will leave Iraq,” Ridha, the former council president stressed, with an evident uncertainty in his voice. “We know that the Americans are not going to say something they don’t mean.” Still, Abbas warned: “Now we are patient — for a day, for a month, for a year. But suddenly, who knows when a revolution will come?”

The council members are not mere puppets. In many cases, the US practically blackmailed the locals into signing up for the councils by telling them that this was the only way they could get services such as electricity and water as well as re- construction funds for schools and clinics. “At first we didn’t want to sit in the same table as the coalition forces,” confessed Ridha. But being pragmatic, they eventually did.

Occupation authorities also used fear to induce locals to take their side. On one hand, they played up the possible restoration of Baathist rule if the Iraqis did not cooperate. As Ridha said: “I want to stay in the local council because if I don’t, the Baathists will return.” On the other hand, the occupation authorities constantly emphasized the threat posed by religious parties, to portray themselves as defenders of human rights — especially women’s rights — and secularism. The sudden proliferation of women’s centers and women’s NGOs attests to deliberate US efforts to build up a constituency among women.

While stoking their fears, the coalition authorities fanned Iraqis’ hopes by exploiting a genuine desire for empower- ment that has been bottled up for decades. There was no shortage of people eager to assume positions that promised them a chance to have a say in running their own affairs. In creating a layer of Iraqis who owe their positions to the occupation forces, the US cast itself as the only center of power to which aspiring Iraqi politicians could appeal. In Taji, for in- stance, community leaders were initially hesitant to be seen as sidling up to the occupiers. As Abbas tells it, “But then we were surprised because there was another group who claimed to represent people from Taji who approached CPA. And so we went to the CPA to say we were the true council.”

The CPA’s self-projected image as neutral arbiter proved to be double-edged: as it instrumentalized Iraqis for US interests, it was also prone to being manipulated by Iraqi politicians. As it inevitably took sides among competing factions, the US attracted the resentment of the faction whose side it did not take. In Abu Nuwas, for instance, where a local council member was able to persuade the CPA to fire other council members, the target of the ousted members’ anger was not just the usurper but also the CPA. “Where’s the difference between the old regime and now? Where’s the democracy?” the expelled member lamented.

Because of the interests they are perceived to be serving, the US-built Iraqi institutions are strategic targets in the ongoing war. Police stations and local council offices have increasingly become the dumping ground of explosives. “Nobody in this town respects the council, because we were handpicked by the Americans,” complained Burkan Khalid of the Samarra’ City Council. “We are despised, and the next council chosen by the Americans and their puppets also will be despised.” [36] From the outset, the ambitious US political “reconstruction” program was hobbled by a contradiction: the one thing the lo- cal councils need to survive — legitimacy — is the one thing that they cannot have. Al-Azzawi’s death indicates why, for all the sophistication and ambition of the US programs in Iraq, the plan to turn Iraq into “today’s California Gold Rush” could yet collapse. Despite the hard-to-match perks offered by the CPA to investors, for example, the plan to privatize Iraq’s industries has already been temporarily shelved and scaled down because there have been few brave takers.

In the beginning of April 2004, as the widespread uprising triggered by the US sieges of Falluja and Sadr City caught fire, the Taji City Council cancelled its regular weekly meeting and closed its doors. Posted on the gate of the Taji administrative building was a short notice expressing the council’s support for the uprising. They were no longer just drinking tea.


[1] Transcript of USAID Iraq Sectoral Conference, Third Series, Local Governance Consultation, September 30, 2003. Accessed online at
[2] Wall Street Journal (Asia), November 25, 2003.
[3] Chris Kromm, Rania Masri and Tara Purohit, “Why No Democracy in Iraq?” Counterpunch, February 23, 2004.
[4] Washington Post, June 28, 2003.
[5] New York Times, January 18, 2004.
[6] Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2004.
[7] William Robinson, A Faustian Bargain: US Intervention in the Nicaraguan Elections and American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1992).
[8] Guardian, April 22, 2002.
[9] Ronald Shaiko, “Political Party Development and USAID,” Democracy Dialogue (December 1999).
[10] CPA Administrator’s Weekly Governance Report, March 13-19, 2004.
[11] CPA Administrator’s Weekly Governance Report, February 7-13, 2004.
[12] CPA Administrator’s Weekly Governance Reports, various dates.
[13] Raad Ommar and Sabah Khesbak, “Conditions and Expectation for Private Enterprise in Iraq,” Iraqi American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, undated report; Nick Nadal and Zaid Abdul Hamid Abdul Moneim, “Iraq Trip Report,” Center for International Private Enterprise, internal memo, August 23-31, 2003.
[14] Baghdad Citizen Advisory Council Handbook.
[15] USAID Local Governance Consultation, op cit.
[16] CPA Administrator’s Weekly Governance Report, January 3-February 6, 2004.
[17] CPA Administrator’s Weekly Governance Report, February 28-March 5, 2004.
[18] CPA Administrator’s Weekly Governance Report, March 6-12, 2004.
[19] Samuel P. Huntington, “The Modest Meaning of Democracy,” in Robert A. Pastor, Democracy in the Americas: Stopping the Pendulum, New York: Holmes and Meier, 1989, pp. 12-13.
[20] USAID Local Governance Consultation, op cit.
[21] Daily Times (Pakistan), February 19, 2004.
[22] Public Services International, August 20, 2002.
[23] CPA Administrator’s Weekly Governance Report, January 31-Febuary 6, 2004.
[24] USAID, Foreign Aid in the National Interest, p. 13.
[25] Ibid., p. 2.
[26] See William Robinson, Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention and Hegemony (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 48-56.
[27] USAID, Foreign Aid in the National Interest, p. 48.
[28] Transcript of USAID Iraq Sectoral Conference,Third Series,Local Governance Consultation,June 19, 2003. Accessed online at
[29] USAID, Foreign Aid in the National Interest, p. 10.
[30] Ibid., pp. 50, 51.
[31] Ibid., p. 48.
[32] USAID Center for Democracy and Governance, Policy Implementation: What USAID has Learned, pp. 11-12.
[33] Ibid., p. 5.
[34] USAID, Foreign Aid in the National Interest, p. 48.
[35] USAID, Decentralization and Democratic Local Governance Programming Handbook, pp. 33, 35.
[36] Robert Collier, “Democracy How?” The American Prospect, March 1, 2004.

How to cite this article:

Herbert Docena "Silent Battalions of Democracy," Middle East Report 232 (Fall 2004).

For 50 years, MERIP has published critical analysis of Middle Eastern politics, history, and social justice not available in other publications. Our articles have debunked pernicious myths, exposed the human costs of war and conflict, and highlighted the suppression of basic human rights. After many years behind a paywall, our content is now open-access and free to anyone, anywhere in the world. Your donation ensures that MERIP can continue to remain an invaluable resource for everyone.


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