Screwing for Love

In Mideast, Shiites May Be Unlikely U.S. Allies,” by Robin Wright, Washington Post, 16 March 2005, (from Barnett).

The anti-Iraqi Freedom poster shouted, “Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity.”

I guess this makes it love.

A quarter-century after its first traumatic confrontation with the Shiite world, when the U.S. Embassy was seized in Iran, the United States is moving on several fronts to support, recognize or hold out the prospect of engagement with Islam’s increasingly powerful minority.

The White House is now counting on a Shiite-dominated government to stabilize Iraq. In a tactical shift, the United States is indirectly reaching out to Iran, backing Europe’s offer of economic incentives to get Tehran to surrender any nuclear weapons program.

I’ve been blogging on forcing common interests with Iran for a while. The WashPost takes a different angle: the Shia are forcing common with the U.S. Who seduced whom is an interesting question, but decreasingly important for this couple. When Bush began Shia, a democratizer met a democratic movement.

While Hezbollah may be my, and Bush’s, kind of terrorists

And in Lebanon, President Bush suggested yesterday, Washington might accept Hezbollah as a political party — if it renounces terrorism, as the Palestine Liberation Organization did in 1988. “I would hope that Hezbollah would prove that they’re not [a terrorist organization] by laying down arms and not threatening peace,” he said in a joint appearance with Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Wright reminds us that even super-friend Dawa was once on the outs

Shiite extremism in the 1980s embodied the main terrorist threat to the United States, as Shiite groups in Lebanon blew up two U.S. embassies and a Marine compound, and later seized dozens of Western hostages. In Kuwait, Iraq’s Shiite Dawa movement simultaneously bombed the U.S. and French embassies as well as Western businesses.

In Ba’athi Iraq the nation was run by a Sunni minority — today in Ba’athi Syria the state is controlled by the schismatic Alawite sect. A legacy of the Mandate System was rule by the few — Bush’s legacy will be rule of the many.

Good News from Basra

Two Car Bombings of US Troops: Iraqi Politics Still Unsettled,” by Juan Cole, Informed Consent, 19 March 2005,

Dr. Cole has a rare, uplifting set of stories from southern Iraq:

Ash-Sharq al-Awsat reports that there is a big strike by students and professors at Basra University, protesting the incursions onto the campus of members of the Sadr Movement, who are attempting to establish control over the university and its style of life.

Great! True university protests and actual political debate in Iraq. And over something that effects Iraqis every day. People power is not just for ending hollow regimes like Georgia, Ukraine, and Lebanon — it is also part of everyday democracy.

It also says that a technical and architectural team from Iran is visiting Basra, having been invited by the city authorities to come help with reconstruction

More good news. This is further conrete proof of our successful efforts to force common interests with Iran. Tehran is a natural regional leader and one of the best regimes in the region. Democracy-wise, it is about where Britain was a century ago (in other words, centuries ahead of Jordan and Kuwait and aeons away from Saudi-Occupied Arabia). We are opening up Iraq to the otherside world and its natural allies at the same time we further force Iran into the great-power spotlight. Huzzah!

The rest of Cole’s post descend into lazy Marxism, which I don’t have time for right now.

Update: But Collounsbury does.

Evangelicals: Marriage Irrelevant

Congressional Republicans Declare:
State Interest Trumps Marital Interests

Christians Criticize Husband Deciding for Wife
(Wife Not Objecting)

Husband, Wife ‘Not One Body,’ Born Agains Maintain
Preachers: Genesis 2:24, Mark 10:8 ‘Just Stupid’

These are the headlines I see in the Terri Schiavo case. I think the Democrats must see the same thing, because few are criticizing Republicans for righists’ bizarre stand. When I see solid conservatives like Michelle Malkin and The Red Side of Belew join the statists I despair.