The Fall of Baghdad?

It seems just a little too early to tell, but the Western press seems convinced that Baghdad has all but fallen. Seems at least some of the Iraqi public feel that it is now safe enough to speak out, with the same looped images of Iraqi’s cheering in east Baghdad being shown ad-nauseum on TV, and mentioned repeatedly on the wire.

Many of us were praying for a quick war, perhaps we will see the end of formal hostilities soon. Then the U.S. leadership faces a much greater challenge – convincing the world that its intentions were in fact admirable. With U.S. companies already lining up for a slice of the post-war “reconstruction”, with billions of dollars of aid money is about to line the pockets of many an executive, this doesn’t seem likely. And watch the oil…

And with the U.S. already putting forward their chosen candidates for leading the new Iraq government, one has to wonder whether the Iraqi people will truly have a say in who their new leaders will be. If the Afghanian experience is anything to go by, this is unlikely in the short term at least. And then there’s the continued animosity between the U.S. and the U.N. to contend with.

At the least, I do hope that aid in the form of medical supplies can now find its way to the hospitals to help the thousands of wounded civilians, and that water and food make it quickly to where it is most needed. It will be a fine sight indeed to see the U.N. and international NGOs getting involved asap to start managing aid deployments.

It will be interesting to see how the surrounding states react to the new Iraqi situation as well – many dictatorships that may be feeling the pinch if the U.S. is successful will be a tinderbox.

That is, of course, if this isn’t just a big propaganda campaign. With few journalists left in Baghdad, Iraqi state TV and Al Jazeera out of the way, it’s hard to tell…