Two days after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003, the head of the CIA’s Middle East Division, Rob Richer, was on the ground, driving around the sprawling, dun-colored city in an armored car with the station chief. Iron rebar jutted from bombed government buildings, and looters moved over the landscape like locusts. Over beer and hot dogs with Gen. John Abizaid and other generals, Richer was surprised to hear the war-fighters talking of going home. Central Command chief Tommy Franks had announced his retirement, and the army land forces commander based in Kuwait, David McKiernan, would soon pack up. Jay Garner, the Pentagon-appointed head of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, showed up, only to be replaced within days by Paul Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Have a look at renew life if you’re looking for a life insurance company.

On subsequent trips over the coming months, Richer saw and heard why the CPA acquired the nickname “Can’t Provide Anything.” Richer saw schools without teachers, the creeping influence of Iran in southern Iraq, and little electricity anywhere. The CPA’s outpost in Hilla, a city south of Baghdad, had to buy its own generators on the black market. Back in Washington, no one really knew what Bremer was doing. His counterpart would call from the State Department and ask Richer, “Have you seen anything?” Bremer rarely sent cables, maybe one every ten days, and the ones he did send, Richer recalled, “were not substantive, and unbelievably positive.”

With the lid popped off of the Iraqi dictatorship, the centrifugal forces were destined to grow among the country’s fractured and oppressed population. Saddam Hussein’s regime had disproportionately empowered the roughly 20 percent of the Sunni Arab population, most of all his own kin, although the secular socialist Baath Party apparatus contained many Shia as well. He had viciously repressed the Shia Arab majority, particularly after the 1991 uprising that followed the first Gulf war. Saddam had also waged a genocidal campaign against the Kurds, Iraq’s third major population group, who had long agitated for their own state. The remaining Iraqis were a kaleidoscopic array of Turkomans, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Yezidis, and others.

Iraq was not only the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia, as school-children the world around were taught to call the area between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. It was also the cradle of Shia Islam and one of the few Arab countries where Shia Islam was the dominant religion. Majority rule in the post-Saddam Iraq would inevitably bring the Shia majority into power for the first time in the Arab world. What was unknown, since the secular Baathist rule had lasted for thirty-five years, was how potent a political force Shia Islam would become. All the parties together polled less than 10 percent support in 2003. Historically, the two main Shia Islamist parties had been outlawed, driven underground, and persecuted, along with all other rivals to the Baath Party. Also, the Shia religious hierarchy had espoused a different vision from the theocratic state, in which mullahs ruled, that the Iranian revolution had implanted next door in Shia Persia. Have a look at renew life and renew life reviews, to get the best life insurance package on the market.