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Iraq Winners Allied With Iran Are the Opposite of U.S. Vision
February 14, 2005 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Iraq Winners Allied With Iran Are the Opposite of U.S. Vision [access:sexy247@mailinator.com/ biteme] You can't always get what you ask for:: ...Yet the top two winning parties -- which together won more than 70 percent of the vote and are expected to name Iraq's new prime minister and president -- are Iran's closest allies in Iraq. Thousands of members of the United Iraqi Alliance, a Shiite-dominated slate that won almost half of the 8.5 million votes and will name the prime minister, spent decades in exile in Iran. Most of the militia members in its largest faction were trained in Shiite-dominated Iran...
posted by Postroad (59 comments total)

 
and jimmy carter achieved the same thing without firing a shot.
posted by three blind mice at 8:58 AM on February 14, 2005


Can't these guys wrap their heads around the concept of American Democracy?

Guess we'll have to reinvade Iraq, all over again.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:59 AM on February 14, 2005


Well I guess if we're planning to do some more invading, Syria is the logical choice now. Might as well isolate those crazy Shiites. Of course, an invasion of any sort is illogical but that's not the point at all!
posted by panoptican at 9:10 AM on February 14, 2005


hmm, it seems the only way out of this conuncrum is to invade Iran, to protect the Iraqi people.
posted by chaz at 9:13 AM on February 14, 2005


This is exactly why Bush didn't want these elections to begin with. He was forced by Sistani to do it anyway.
Ain't democracy grand?
I'm just soo happy (NOT) we illegally invaded Iraq, killed liberated over a hundred thousand citizens, have had thousands of troops killed and maimed, spent 200 billion dollars and gave the country to the Islamic fundies!
Great work neocons!
A regular damn cakewalk I tell you.
posted by nofundy at 9:13 AM on February 14, 2005


http://www.counterpunch.org/chomsky02022005.html

Chomsky had this figured out a while ago.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:15 AM on February 14, 2005


Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is a leading contender to be prime minister, reiterated yesterday that the new government does not want to emulate Iran. "We don't want either a Shiite government or an Islamic government," he said on CNN's "Late Edition." "Now we are working for a democratic government. This is our choice."

Why was this quote included in the story? It is mentioned then completely ignored.

Why listen to what the actual people have to say when you can get a doom and gloom quote from Mr. Juan ("There can be nothing good that can come of any of this") Cole?
posted by dios at 9:15 AM on February 14, 2005


Thousands of members of the United Iraqi Alliance, a Shiite-dominated slate that won almost half of the 8.5 million votes and will name the prime minister, spent decades in exile in Iran. Most of the militia members in its largest faction were trained in Shiite-dominated Iran.

Thousands? How many thousands?
posted by probablysteve at 9:16 AM on February 14, 2005


/insert obvious comment about Bushco and the Republican Party's retardation here.

And beyond that, wow nelly. We now have Iran West!

Wolfowitz, Perle, Cheney, Rice--I don't say this too lightly--they should all be sent to Guantanamo and covered in menstrual blood. Couldn't happen to nicer people.
posted by bardic at 9:25 AM on February 14, 2005


Further evidence that the NeoCons are actually Discordians in disguise.
posted by wadefranklin at 9:33 AM on February 14, 2005


We now have Iran West!
posted by bardic at 9:25 AM PST on February 14


You did it, too. You skipped right over this:
Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is a leading contender to be prime minister, reiterated yesterday that the new government does not want to emulate Iran. "We don't want either a Shiite government or an Islamic government," he said on CNN's "Late Edition." "Now we are working for a democratic government. This is our choice."

Did he not just state that they will not be Iran West? Are you ignoring incovienent facts? Or is Mahdi part of "Bushco"?

It's almost at if trying to rip on Bush and talk down the situation in Iraq is more important to some people than intellectual honesty.
posted by dios at 9:34 AM on February 14, 2005


We don't even have to invade Iran, duh. Just part of it. Set up a Green Zone in Tehran and everything is fine.
posted by eatitlive at 9:35 AM on February 14, 2005


Why listen to what the actual people have to say when you can get a doom and gloom quote from Mr. Juan ("There can be nothing good that can come of any of this") Cole?
posted by dios at 9:15 AM PST on February 14


Whatsamatta' dios?
Did Cole diss' your main man Jonah or something dude?
Is his feelings hurt?

Perhaps you should start reading some Juan Cole and actually learn something about that area of the world instead of maybe getting the latest spin from little green snotballs or the right wing nut's insane corner. Live long and prosper!
posted by nofundy at 9:39 AM on February 14, 2005


First, they quote Juan Cole in this article. Are they serious?

Second, the neocons are wrong. This is good. Iran went bad because of inner corruption, not because of Islam; the the Shi'a are the best hope Iraq has right now, and people who are paranoid about another Iran forming (i. e. everybody on the right and the left, now) are, I think, misunderstanding the fundamental nature of Islam.

The hope now is that Iraqi Shi'a learn from the example of Iran. Iran, when the revolution happened, was more promising than any other Arab project in the last century; nearly everything Khomeini said inspired a great deal of hope. Sadly, it turned out he was a fairly worthless leader. We can, however, hope for better ones in Iraq.

On preview: nofundy, all I've read of Juan Cole was that bit the other day about white feathers. That seemed pretty damned juvenile, but maybe I was wrong. If he's some kind of "expert" on the region, can you link me some stuff that he's written about it? I feel like I should know him.
posted by koeselitz at 9:44 AM on February 14, 2005


That Mahdi says Iraq won't emulate Iran doesn't mean at all that Baghdad and Tehran won't be cozy which is the main point the article makes. A Shiite-run Iraq would likely side with Iran with relation to oil policy, Israel, etc. Taking it a step further into the realm of hypothetical, Iraq would likely object to an invasion of Iran. Both of these presents problems to the neo-con vision of the Middle East.
posted by panoptican at 9:44 AM on February 14, 2005


Whoopsy. Mulligan?
posted by srboisvert at 9:44 AM on February 14, 2005


To every one of you reveling in this latest complication of the Iraq war just because it hurts Bush, I hope you choke on the bitter bile you spew.

I hate the neoconservative platform as much as any of you, but wishing continued instability in the Middle East just because you don't want Bush to get any credit for it is just sickening.

Keep this in mind. The Kurds are close allies of the US, and relatively secular. They'll be primarily interested in Kurdish rule of Northern Iraq and opposing Islamic theocracy. The Shiites hold a slim majority in their legislative body with 140 of 275 seats. The Sunnis, who boycotted the election, are the largest anti-American threat. They hold little power, and will only attempt to cause unrest. The people of Iraq are tired of this, and there will almost certainly be a backlash there.

As for Iran, the new Iraqi government isn't stupid enough to deal with them heavily while the US still holds heavy occupation in Iraq. Unless the Democrats gain control of both houses in '06, it's very unlikely that our heavy hand will lift enough to allow something like this to happen.

Really, your greatest fears should be that the risk of Iranian influence will move Bush to attack Iran when our military is already depleted and lacking in funds.

So save your bile, there's been so much spit that the outcry against the nearly inevitable Iran war will fall on deaf ears.
posted by Saydur at 9:45 AM on February 14, 2005


panoptican: so you have decided, without any stated grounds, that Mahdi is a liar. Must be neat being omniscent. You'd rather assume that Cole, who has no say in anything and is obviously a pessimist, is right and that the repeated statements of a secular Iraq by the people who will be running it, are a bunch of lies. Sounds to me that you are hoping looking for the worst possible result.

Whatsamatta' dios?
Did Cole diss' your main man Jonah or something dude?
Is his feelings hurt?
posted by nofundy at 9:39 AM PST on February 14


Wow. Petty and stupid comments from nofundy. Who'd a thunk it?

I couldn't give a shit about Goldberg or Cole. They are equally asinine blowhards (although, neither has anything on you). But, good job, for the millionth time of ignoring the substance and relying on only labeling and pigeonholing and poor attempts at humor.
posted by dios at 9:53 AM on February 14, 2005


Um, dios: responding to nofundy like that won't make things better. Remember: only love can conquer the almighty snark!

Also, panopticon didn't say that Madhi was a liar. He said that Madhi didn't say that Iran and Iraq wouldn't have good relations.

posted by koeselitz at 10:01 AM on February 14, 2005


Good point re: panopticon. I stand corrected. Although, I still submit that the view he is espousing is contrary to everything that the Grand Alliance has been affirming with respect to their commitment to secular democratic principles and their rejection of theocratic tyranny. (And it does smack of desperate pessimism all the same).

If one chose, one might be optimistic and assume that these people mean what they say. That, after living under a tyrannical theocratic ruler, they learned a lesson and are sincerely committed to not cause religious tyranny.
posted by dios at 10:10 AM on February 14, 2005


Um, dhos, look up "taqiyya". It seems to me there there's no reason why dissimulating Shia intentions would be much less likely than dissimulating Shia identity, especially when your country's currently occupied by a fanatic-led superpower.

And panoptican, invading Syria to "isolate" the Shia might not work too well, since not only have Syria's ruling 'Alawi been recognized as Shia, but the Lebanese Bekaa Valley, home of the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah, is still occupied by Syrian troops (and invested in by Syrian businesses); the US would need to invade and occupy Lebanon too, along with the southeastern part of Turkey (home to more 'Alawi and more "orthodox" Alevi), Yemen (lots of Zaydi Shia, a bunch of Twelvers, and various sects of Musta'li Isma'ilis), Oman and the UAE (Twelvers), Gujerat and Mumbai in western India (Nizari Khojas and Dawoodi Bohras), a few enclaves of various secta of Shia in Pakistan and Shia neighborhoods in the major cities, and the Herat region of western Afghanistan (Twelvers, Zaydis, and Ismailis). If the goal is to isolate the Shia it'd be better to leave Shia areas alone and encircle them -- to occupy Turkey, Mongolia, western China, central Russia (or Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Kirgizistan and Tajikistan, if the US ain't up to taking Russia on directly), Egypt, Ethiopea and India, to join up with our Sunni Pashtun clients in Afghanistan. (Of course the US could go away and let them exercise self-determination by themselves, which would also be easier and cheaper, but the Bushites don't seem to know what that might mean.)

And Koeselitz, when you said "Iran, when the revolution happened, was more promising than any other Arab project in the last century", I bet you'd simply forgotten that the Iranians (at least the vast majority of them) are Persians, not Arabs. And (to go on) the Pashtun ain't Arabs either: by their tradition they're Jews, or Lost Tribes at least. And the various ex-Soviet Central Asian republics are mostly Turkish, except for Tajikistan which is also Persian (I think "Tajik" is Turkish for Persian, but I've got too much to do to go Googling all over), and the Uighurs of western China are by now a mix of Turkish and Chinese. And the Muslim Indonesians are Malays, as are the Muslim Malaysians. And oh, guess what, Farrakhan's not an Arab either.
posted by davy at 10:19 AM on February 14, 2005


Proof that the US didn't rig the elections. Now the Shiites will have to form an alliance, which just makes the new Iraqi government stonger. I think this is about the best outcome we could have expected.
posted by WebToy at 10:19 AM on February 14, 2005


Oh, I left Azerbaijan out of the list of ex-SSRs. Sorry. It wasn't intentional.
posted by davy at 10:21 AM on February 14, 2005


Nice comments , koeselitz.
posted by WebToy at 10:23 AM on February 14, 2005


Surely, secular Iran will rally back in the favor of unification with Iran and rise up against its own fundamental rule. There may be revolution in Iran, but there will not be another Iran\Iraq War. They don't have enough fight in them left over there. The important thing is, however, that we be able to support the youth's stuggle to get the Iran back that their parents romantically spoke of.
posted by WebToy at 10:30 AM on February 14, 2005


On preview: nofundy, all I've read of Juan Cole was that bit the other day about white feathers. That seemed pretty damned juvenile, but maybe I was wrong. If he's some kind of "expert" on the region, can you link me some stuff that he's written about it? I feel like I should know him.
posted by koeselitz at 9:44 AM PST on February 14


Certainly.
If you truly want to know more about the MidEast, Juan Cole is the go to guy.
I would even go so far as to recommend you bookmark his weblog, he's that good with Informed Comment. (I hear he's an excellent history professor as well)
posted by nofundy at 10:32 AM on February 14, 2005


davy: Yes, that was a pretty stupid mistake. The Fars are not Arab, and probably would be fairly offended at my ridiculousness. Sorry.

However, I think the point still stands: Khomeini's project was promising. And what the Islamic East has needed for a long time is a promising project.

Furthermore, regarding your response to panopticon's point: you give us a hefty list of things the US would have to do in order to "isolate the Shia," concluding with: "Of course the US could go away and let them exercise self-determination by themselves, which would also be easier and cheaper, but the Bushites don't seem to know what that might mean."

That's simply not an option any more. The world is smaller than it's ever been, and every country is involved in the affairs of every other country; this is the truth F. D. R. understood before any of the rest of us when he declared war on Germany. This doesn't necessarily mean that we have to invade every country on the map, and that's obviously an inane direction to move in, as you point out; but every nation in the world today is in some way defined by their relation to the United States. Even regions we've tried to steer clear of in the past fifty years have ended up with a million or so of our aid going to the wrong people, or with a few of our weapons slaughtering innocents, or some such; the simple fact is, we are already involved in everyone's affairs. So, at this point, we have to make sure that that influence is good; for starters, by encouraging the democratic impulses especially in Russia, in Israel, in Iran, and in other nations in the region. For too long, we've supported one dictator against another in order to try to keep out of local disputes. Something else must be done.

Also: I don't mind that you forgot Azerbaijan. I only pray that they'll forgive you.

On preview: thanks for the link, nofundy. Also, thank you, WebToy.
posted by koeselitz at 10:45 AM on February 14, 2005


Dios: Wanna buy a bridge? How the fuck is a Shi'a led Iraq _not_ going to be an Iranian satellite? Only this time a very well-funded one.

Oh, of course, a US-selected Shi'a spokesperson said they won't be a theocracy. That's reassuring as hell.
posted by bardic at 11:16 AM on February 14, 2005


Me: "Of course the US could go away and let them exercise self-determination by themselves, which would also be easier and cheaper, but the Bushites don't seem to know what that might mean."

koeselitz: "That's simply not an option any more. The world is smaller than it's ever been, and every country is involved in the affairs of every other country"

I think you meant "the USA is involved in the affairs of every other country", which is in any case more accurate. C'mon, how mutually interested are Angola and Azerbaijan or Nepal and Serbia? The reason the US leaving other countries alone seems "simply not an option anymore" has more to do with the imperialist aims of the ruling cliques in the US ruling class than with how small the world might be -- there's still plenty of room on Earth for the USA to bugger off. So no, sorry, that apology for the Evil Empire simply won't suffice.

Then too, you gave the game away by saying "For too long, we've supported one dictator against another in order to try to keep out of local disputes. Something else must be done." That "something", since the US won't mind its own damn business, would of course have to be US global domination, up close and personal. Which would have to be done by force: look how pathetic the Coalition of Those Willing To Be Bribed turned out to be. "Today Fallujah, tomorrow ze world!" -- or "'Liberate' 'em all, let God sort 'em out!" And that's not likely to be any less fucked up in the doing than the US adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq; the US might be building RoboTroops because we're in danger of running out of sons.

To quote Pete Seeger (again), "When will we ever learn?"
posted by davy at 11:18 AM on February 14, 2005


Oh, of course, a US-selected Shi'a spokesperson said they won't be a theocracy. That's reassuring as hell.
posted by bardic at 11:16 AM PST on February 14


Riddle me this, Mr. F-Bomber:

How the fuck did the US select the lead candidate for the Grand Alliance?

Your blind pessimistic hatred is not based at all in reality if you think the US selected Mahdi...
posted by dios at 11:24 AM on February 14, 2005


Pessimistic hatred is what they used to call the reality-based universe. I'm more than happy to be a member of this club.
posted by bardic at 11:28 AM on February 14, 2005


What the fuck are you talking about?
posted by dios at 11:29 AM on February 14, 2005


You made a bullshit statement. I called you on it. In response, you make a nonsensical statement and link to this thread? How about you answer the question I posed or admit that you are just talking out of your ass.
posted by dios at 11:31 AM on February 14, 2005


Let's all calm down for a moment. I think what is being said is that, given the millions of dollars flowing from Iran into Shia groups in Iraq, a single statement that Iraqi Shia coalition won't be heavily influenced by Iran is not going to quell anyone's fears.

Personally, it doesn't bother me. I think the US should leave and let the Iraqis figure it out for themselves. I actually think Civil War is far more likely the longer the US stays.
posted by chaz at 11:39 AM on February 14, 2005


Iran has earned political capital and they intend to use it.
posted by Arch Stanton at 11:50 AM on February 14, 2005


As somebody or other said, "the art of diplomacy is knowing how to say 'nice doggie' while backing away and grasping for a big stick". Anyone in Iraqi politics today with ambitions to still be there tomorrow is going to be doing their best to talk nice to the USA. Whether they mean what they say is another matter entirely.

Here's a clue for Dios: people don't always say what they mean. Especially politicians.
posted by cstross at 11:57 AM on February 14, 2005


dios: what are you, hopped up on goofballs?
posted by delmoi at 12:09 PM on February 14, 2005


So you are calling him a liar without knowing anything about the guy.

That's fine. I just wanted to check the level of hope that its a lie and things go badly so that this doesn't look good for Bush cynicism/pessimissim.
posted by dios at 12:09 PM on February 14, 2005


This is a really good sentiment here:

"Let's all calm down for a moment."

Hear, hear.
posted by koeselitz at 12:17 PM on February 14, 2005


So he's a uniter not a divider?
posted by Iax at 12:18 PM on February 14, 2005


I'm very, very curious what the neocons are thinking and saying in private right about now. I know no one has Rumsfeld's office bugged, but has anyone seen any quotes, leaks, rumors, etc. regarding their real reaction to all of this? Such information always seems to surface four months later, but I'm an American so I expect instant gratification.
posted by Clay201 at 12:23 PM on February 14, 2005


"The Neocons." "The Neocons" How pathetic to characterize everyone right of left as "The Neocons."

The Shias in Iraq are not the Shias in Iran. "Closest allies? Yes, perhaps compared to Saddamites, but that's about it.

MetaTalk: can I selectively filter out all foreign policy threads that contain the term "Neocon"?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:33 PM on February 14, 2005


But neocons are real. Some people actually are neocons, not just right of leftists. Those neocons have, in Richard Perle for one, a prominent place in the Defense Department.

I wonder what they're thinking too.
posted by eatitlive at 1:10 PM on February 14, 2005


"Some people actually are neocons... I wonder what they're thinking too."

Here's something of theirs touching the matter written a week ago; the best I can find, I guess.

It's tough, because there are several kinds of conservatives out there, and some of them overlap somewhat with the neo- kind. A lot of the conservatives are simple sycophants; a tiny proportion are actually intelligent.

Interestingly, Mr. Gerecht appears fairly intelligent.
posted by koeselitz at 1:42 PM on February 14, 2005


I didn't know that Sistani , leader of Iraqi Shia, is an Iranian citizen.
posted by Cassford at 1:45 PM on February 14, 2005


By the way, Clay201, that New American Century site always keeps me up on what the neocons are saying about any major foreign-policy issue. It's basically just a site that republishes articles that the PNAC-- a group that includes Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and other notables-- are important. Know thy enemy; it's a good site to watch, as it seems to be the closest thing to a public face on the heart of the neocon movement.
posted by koeselitz at 1:48 PM on February 14, 2005


The victory of the Shia party is a very good thing. They have instant credibility simply by not being the first choice of the U.S., and are more likely to be able to establish a stable government and quell the insurgency. A big part of their campaign was the promise not to establish an Islamic state and to keep the mullahs out of top government jobs. As to letting Iran run their country--why would they do that?
posted by LarryC at 2:36 PM on February 14, 2005


How the fuck is a Shi'a led Iraq _not_ going to be an Iranian satellite?

Oh for god's sake. This reminds me of all those people who were so convinced that North Vietnam was going to be a Chinese satellite. To quote ParisParamus, who happens to be exactly right: The Shias in Iraq are not the Shias in Iran. Remember the Iran-Iraq War? Before your time, perhaps. Anyway, lots of people, including apparently Khomeini, were convinced the Iraqi Shiites were going to rise up and join the Iranian invaders. Didn't happen. They fought (unsurprisingly to anyone who doesn't think Shiites are interchangeable) for their country. Yes, there are all sorts of cultural and historical ties. Yes, many Iraqi Shiite leaders were trained in Iran, which is after all the center of Shi'a studies these days. But that is just one dimension, and human life is multidimensional. Here, perhaps this will grab your attention: Iraqi Shiites are Arabs. Iranian Shiites are Persians or Turks (by and large). Not the same! Trust me, a Shiite-led Iraq will have better relations with Iran (which is a good thing from the point of view of regional peace), but will no more be an Iranian puppet than France is an Italian puppet because the Pope is in Rome.

the Pashtun ain't Arabs either: by their tradition they're Jews, or Lost Tribes at least

And a very silly tradition it is too. But no, the Pashtun are far from being Arabs; like the Kurds, they're branches of the Iranian family.

except for Tajikistan which is also Persian (I think "Tajik" is Turkish for Persian, but I've got too much to do to go Googling all over)

"Tajik" is an interesting word. It was originally a Persian word (a derivative of the name of the Arabic tribe Tayy) meaning 'Arab or Persian Muslim' -- in other words, a non-Turk. (The opposition between Iran and Turan, the Persian world and the Turkic one, is basic to Persian culture.) In Central Asia, it came to mean "settled people" living in the cities and getting their living from agriculture or commerce as opposed to the nomads. Eventually it got specialized to those who spoke the local dialect of Persian (now called "Tajik"); this was formalized by the Soviets with their divide-and-rule policy. So there came to be "Tajiks" (a nationality, not a style of life) speaking "Tajik" (a language, not a dialect of Persian) in "Tajikistan" (a Soviet Socialist Republic, very definitely not a part of the Turkestan the Soviets so feared); now, of course, it's a separate country, but the great cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, historically integral to Tajik culture, are part of Uzbekistan, thanks to Soviet map-jiggering.
*looks around, realizes audience has fallen asleep, tiptoes out*
posted by languagehat at 2:45 PM on February 14, 2005


"The Neocons." "The Neocons" How pathetic to characterize everyone right of left as "The Neocons."

Well, Neocons actually exist. So do Liberals. The application of either phrase to to pigeonhole all-right-of-left or all-left-of-right is naive and foolish, no matter if it's the writer or the reader applying the broad brush.

What made you think they were referring to all-right-of-left, versus actual Neocons? Just curious.

I'm still trying to figure out which pigeonhole I belong to, to assist everyone in dismissing my opinions out of hand.
posted by davejay at 3:26 PM on February 14, 2005


I actually think Civil War is far more likely the longer the US stays.
posted by chaz at 9:39 PM EET on February 14


In a very real way the US is already fighting the Iraqi Civil War for the Shias.
posted by hoskala at 3:37 PM on February 14, 2005


dios, there are other quotes which contradict the one you brought up, such as Ahmed Ali al-Hafadgi, a senior official in SCIRI, saying they're going to "enforce the Islamic order." Just sayin'.
posted by kyrademon at 4:27 PM on February 14, 2005


The premise of the whole article - that the Shia list and the Kurdish list are both nurtured by Iran - seems off base to me. The Kurds allied with Iran? More than with the US? I don't think so. The Coalition garnered the highest approval ratings from the Kurdish areas in the North, the US and UK prevented Saddam Hussein getting his revenge for twelve years, helping to stabilise the Kurdish regions for the first time in decades, rapid economic growth, beginnings of representative government e.t.c... There is a sense of debt which will likely continue for a while yet.

Conversely the only real point of difference between the Kurds and the coalition/US, is the lingering threat of Kurdish secession. The US doesn't want that. But in the same vein, neither does Iran want that as it raises the tempo of her own territorial issue with the Kurds. This is reason enough for ambivalent commitment to any 'Iran line' - whatever that is.

In short, all the talk of 70% of the vote going to Iran's closest allies in the country is only true in the most limited sense - it doesn't represent even slightly an 'Iran bloc' eager to toe the Tehran line.

The real issue of the coming months is the behaviour of the Shia politicians - how will they wield their new-found power? Will they compromise with the Kurds? The Iraqi List? How much consideration will be given to the near-voiceless Sunnis when the time comes for the new assembly to draw up a Constitution? More immediately, can they forestall Shias from exacting sectarian revenge for Mr Zarqawi's hideously cynical goading?

Given the conciliatory attitude of the Shia leadership, the calls for restraint from practically every Shia politician there seem some grounds for hope that a government not representative of all Iraqis, can nevertheless govern for all Iraqis.

If that is the case, it seems fairly moot whether or not a future stable Iraq is closely allied with a formerly bitter enemy.

*I guess I just don't agree with the underlying assumption 'success' in Iraq must be viewed in the strictest realpolitik terms: regional hegemony, strategic oil supplies, protection of Israel. I don't think neocons think in those terms alone either. I think they'd settle for a representative government in Iraq - of any hue - that worked for the betterment of the Iraqi people. That would represent the rebirth of a failing state and an end to a source of instability/ potential terrorism, etc. That's a major coup even if it is friendly with its most important neighbour (which is not really a bad thing when you think about it anyway!)
posted by pots at 4:53 PM on February 14, 2005


It's funny how people keep foolishly thinking "democracy" is the best thing ever, except when it produces results they don't want.
posted by nightchrome at 8:30 PM on February 14, 2005


It's funny how arrogant people create strawmen, including the one that unless Iraq becomes a European democracy, the Bush Administration will have failed (and the Administration believes that it will have failed).
posted by ParisParamus at 8:42 PM on February 14, 2005


No, I think the Bush Administration will have failed when it does not accomplish what it says it says it intends to do.
Which is kind of what is going on right this moment.
Nice try though.
posted by nightchrome at 9:34 PM on February 14, 2005


Yeah, preview is useful for a reason...
Typos 1 : Me 0
posted by nightchrome at 9:35 PM on February 14, 2005


ummm..IMHO, Iranians are the most utterly excellent people - on a one to one, personal basis - that I have met in around 40-50 countries of travel, second only to Syrians. I assume that Iraqis are equally beautiful.

If there were more people like them in the world, well....?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:32 PM on February 15, 2005


this is the truth F. D. R. understood before any of the rest of us when he declared war on Germany

Relevant detail: FDR didn't declare war . . .Congress did (as stipulated in the Constitution). In fact, WWII was the last war or conflict that was entered into due to a vote by Congress -- since then the President has more or less decided when our soldiers would fight.

I prefer Congress make the call . . .better 435 corrupt fools drag us to war than one madman decide.

-----------------------

It's funny how people keep foolishly thinking "democracy" is the best thing ever, except when it produces results they don't want.

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on lunch.

ps. Of course these comments will never be read, as this thread is so stale! Oh well.
posted by iwearredsocks at 8:58 PM on February 15, 2005


So, what, we're not going to ink our fingers anymore?

I think for the US, this doesn't matter. BushCo will move on to the next thing and say "We win again" or words/gestures to that effect, forget the entire past, anything of substance, anything that was said previously, etc.
It doesn't exist. It's down the memory hole, therefore it never existed.
This is not a criticism of the right as a whole, just a criticism of our brave "new post 9/11" world.
(Oooh, two dystopian lit. references, aren't I just so eriudite?)
Secondly, yes, we're still there, in Iraq.
The dog barks, the caravan passes (Arab proverbs).
American version: A dog can piss wherever he wants, you still got his leash.
bile
I'm sure the polticians among the Iraqis will ultimately be as unaffected by oil company profits as politicians in the U.S.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:00 PM on February 15, 2005


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