“Groceries and Election Results…,” by river, Baghdad Burning, http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2005_02_01_riverbendblog_archive.html#110872871401791299, 18 February 2005.
The possibly-defunct Riverbend is skeptical of the Iranian leanings of the Iraq’s popular new government
â€œAnd is Iran so bad?â€ He finally asked. Well no, Abu Ammar, I wanted to answer, itâ€™s not bad for *you* – youâ€™re a manâ€¦ if anything your right to several temporary marriages, a few permanent ones and the right to subdue females will increase. Why should it be so bad? Instead I was silent. Itâ€™s not a good thing to criticize Iran these days. I numbly reached for the bags he handed me, trying to rise out of that sinking feeling that overwhelmed me when the results were first made public.
Is anyone surprised that the same people who came along with the Americans â€“ the same puppets who all had a go at the presidency last year â€“ are the ones who came out on top in the elections? Jaffari, Talbani, Barazani, Hakim, Allawi, Chalabiâ€¦ exiles, convicted criminals and war lords. Welcome to the new Iraq.
Ibraheim Al-Jaffari, the head of the pro-Iran Daâ€™awa party gave an interview the other day. He tried very hard to pretend he was open-minded and that he wasnâ€™t going to turn the once-secular Iraq into a fundamentalist Shia state but the fact of the matter remains that he is the head of the Daâ€™awa party. The same party that was responsible for some of the most infamous explosions and assassinations in Iraq during the last few decades. This is the same party that calls for an Islamic Republic modeled like Iran. Most of its members have spent a substantial amount of time in Iran.
Jaffari cannot separate himself from the ideology of his party.
Then thereâ€™s Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). He got to be puppet president for the month of December and what was the first thing he did? He decided overburdened, indebted Iraq owed Iran 100 billion dollars. What was the second thing he did? He tried to have the â€œpersonal statusâ€ laws that protect individuals (and especially women) eradicated.
Ignoring the fact that SCIRI wants an Iranian-style Guardian Council while Dawa is quietest, these American-Iraqi-Iranian common interests are great news.
I’ve mentioned the Iraq War’s objective of forcing common interests with Iran. Iran is a cynical and realistic power, and Bush is wisely building a natural alliance with the future democratic government.
Around the dial
- Pakistan is a failing nuclear state whose core competency is causing trouble. From potentially ending Indian demand for Middle East oil (by provoking a nuclear war) to incitement of anti-Shia violence, Islamabad is trouble. It is trouble for both Tehran and Washington.
- Afghanistan is a weak state and should be kept that way. “Strong” Afghan states tend to be run by Pashtuns who join their Paki brothers in killing foreigners (Russians, Shia, and Americans being favorite targets).
- Turkmenistan is a crazy Stalinist dictatorship. Iran has a history with Stanlists regimes — it fought an eight year war with Ba’athi Iraq.
- Russia and the Caucuses answer the age old question: “What happens when violent, fanatical extremists encounter a violent, decaying empire?” Salafists and the Russian Army have joined together in destroying Chechnya and retarding peace efforts in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Iran fought a war against Taliban Afghanistan in the 1990s – it does not need a string of failed states to its northwest in the 2000s.
- Iran’s enlightened ethnic policies have kept its Kurds relatively happy, and led to natural ties with Kurds across the Turkish and Iraqi frontiers. Kurds are also military allies of the United States and Britain since the 199s0.
- Likewise, Shia Iraq is an ally of both America and Iran. The American dream of democracy and the Iranian dream of Shia rule combine in Iraq as nowhere else (except Iran itself). If either party gets bored of the relationship, the Salafists-Ba’athists will make sure they remember.
- Across the Shia Gulf, the occupied nation of Eastern Arabia suffers under the Wahabi yoke. The Saudis’ “hanging around guys” cause trouble for us, too.
The Bush Administration’s successful dance with Iran has been incredible. Keep up the great work!