Rice in Iraq

Via BBC: Rice pushes role for Iraq Sunnis

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has stressed the importance of Sunni Arabs being more involved in drafting Iraq’s new constitution. In a surprise visit to the country, Ms Rice said she and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, had discussed mechanisms to achieve this.

She told American ABC television that Iraq’s achievements in the past year had been remarkable. But she said further political progress was vital to overcome the insurgency.

It’s great that she’s over there, and I think it’s important for our leadership to make appearances in the country in order to show the people there that we support them. We should encourage them and continue to push them toward freedom and democracy.

One thing does make me wonder — how do the Iraqi men relate to a powerful woman like Secretary Rice, especially when some of their own women are covered from head to toe in black and are prohibited from showing any personal freedom whatsoever? Yes, I know that many women in Iraq are coming out of their shells, abandoning the black garb for more fashionable colorful head coverings. Many are outspoken. Still, a culture shift has not yet fully occurred in the country, and until it does, women will continue to have a diminished role in society and especially in leadership.

What do the male Iraqi leaders say when Condi leaves the meeting room? To this group of men, with all the baggage of their culture, all the traditions and class systems they grew up with…is Secretary of State Rice credible?

I wonder.

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