“Only Interests..”

"After meeting with Mr. Rumsfeld, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said there was no firm timetable for any American withdrawal, but he noted that Iraqis "desire speed in that regard." "  NY Times

There is a famous "bon mot" usually attributed to Palmerston in which the PM says that "countries do not have friends.  They have interests."  This truism is well demonstrated in what happened during Rumsfeld’s "surprise" visit to Baghdad today.  Actually, Jaafari’s statement shows that the truism applies not just to states but also to ethno-religious communities that wish to rule states where once they were the under-class.

Jaafari and company are first, last and always Twelver Shia zealots who wish to rule where for many centuries they were ruled.  (I, obviously would not include Chlabi’s INC in that statement) The process of growing a new government in Iraq that is now underway is essentially a process of handing the country over to the majority Shia.  The Sunni Arabs know that.  The Kurds know that as well, but the Kurds still think they will be able to retain at least as much autonomy in their mountains as they have now.

There has been much talk of the secular nature of the Iraqi Shia population.  In fact, the Iraqi Shia Arab population has always been deeply divided between those who think themselved primarily Iraqi and those for whom Shia Islam comes first.  It was the latter group that repeatedly revolted against Saddam’s government, and the same group and its leaders are now taking over Iraq.  Jaafari is a semi-reformed, but altogether rehabilitated Dawa’ terrorist leader who was in the leadership of this group when it bombed the US Embassy in Kuwait.  Dawa and SCIRI, the two militantly politico-religious Shia groups dominate in the new government.  They are already deeply involved with the Iranian government.  It is inevitable that they should be so whether they wish it or not.  Iran is Shia.  The surrounding Islamic world is overwhelmingly Sunni.  What choice do the Iraqi Shia zealots have but to drift inevitably into the orbit of Iran.  The Sunni Iraqi Arab and international Jihadi Sunni revolt in Iraq is widely supported among the populations of the Sunni Muslim World.  What choice do the Shia of Iraq have but to look to Iran?  They are not going to rely on us in the long run.  To do that would be to accept the westernization and de-racination that the Bush policy clearly imples.

The process of shifting to an Iranian orientation has already begun.  The formerly exiled Sunni Defense Minister, Dulaimi, of Iraq was in Tehran a couple of weeks ago and he and his Shia colleague who is Defense Minister there announced a mutual defense arrangement between the two countries that looked to have the Iranians train Iraqi troops in th future.  This announcement in the press set off a tussle in washington after which we now "know" that Dulaimi was "way off the reservation,"  and "way past his instructions."  From what was said today by Jaafari it looks like Dulaimi was pretty close to his instructions.

So, what will happen over the next years?

1-There will be a constitution.  It will make Islam the supreme legal authority.

2-Kurdish autonomy will be grudgingly accepted for now.

3-Women will lose a lot of what they have achieved over the decades in Iraq.

4-We will be asked to leave as quickly as possible and at a rate that the Shia think we will accept.  Iran’s forces and "volunteers" will "back up" the Iraqi government.

Beyond that there is the prospect of a different Middle East, but that is another subject..

Pat Lang


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9 Responses to “Only Interests..”

  1. common sense says:

    On number 4 I partially agree with you. However I think:
    – We are moving into the declare victory and go home mode. The weirder rightists are already saying that extensive civil war and even a conflict that inflames the entire mideast is the Bush secret plan which he might not have been able to verbalize but with his supernatural powers knew from the beginning. This is why we must remove our poor president from the clutches of these people.
    – I think the Shiites are using us. We are a defacto strike force against the Sunni, we ignore the increasingly well armed theocracies in the south and indeed declare them examples of success. Right now we act as support while they build up their militias. lus they have the enjoyable process of pretty much ignoring our “advice” and watching us kow tow. Sistani did that a year ago when he demanded elections and we ended up pretending it was our idea.
    So I don’t know if they are in a hurry to get us, we are still useful. Of course at some point they will be confident and then start taking some bloodAt some point we will probably see documentatin of how much Iraqi money went to American firms to reconstruct and how dodgy the acconting is and all sorts of demands for repatriations in the UN.
    But for now we are “useful idiots.”

  2. hfiend says:

    Can you tell me more or direct me to some info about this

    Jaafari is a semi-reformed, but altogether rehabilitated Dawa’ terrorist leader who was in the leadership of this group when it bombed the US Embassy in Kuwait.

    I’d never heard this before, maybe it is common knowledge but it has escaped me.

  3. Half Fast Skier says:

    I can “vision-thingy” this and see a 3-way parition of Iraq; Shia, Sunni and Kurd.
    With the Iraqi Shia’s in bed with Iran for support, that leaves the Kurds alone, but at odds with Turkey and Syrian with the possibility of the Iran/Iraq Shia’s joining the fun too. The Sunni’s are the odd-man out, but they have the backing of the majority Sunni population in the region and are probably behind all the insurgents.
    Instead of ridding the world of terrorist, seems we have created a enclave of terrorist. And since the MSM is so intent on broadcasting our Nation’s “fear” of another terrorist attack, we are setting ourselves up…almost begging for it.

  4. common sense says:

    Half Fast:
    The problem with the relatively clear cut scenerio of a 3 way division is that in many parts of the country the various groups are all mixed together.
    This can lead to “etnic cleansing.”
    And it’s likely the jihadists want to start a bloody and total civil war, a war which could easily bring in support from much of the Arab world, the beginning of a war to cleanse Islam and destroy the Shiite.
    Some people have claimed the Saddamites would avoid such a war because they are outnumbered. But many Sunni believe the figures are lies and in general they believe they are more capablthan the Shiites. They think they would win a civil war.

  5. Malooga says:

    In other words, we lost.

  6. ismoot says:

    12 December, 1983. The embassy was destroyed. Several member of the Dawa Party were arrested and convicted of the crime.
    He joined the Islamic Dawa Party in 1968. Upon graduation from school in 1974 he worked actively for the party in Iraq until the Ba’athist government began a violent crackdown on the group. He left for Iran in 1980 and became involved in the anti-Saddam movement there.
    The attack on the embassy in Kuwait was planned and run out of Iran.
    I was Defense Attache at our embassy in S. Arabia at the time and very interested in this.
    Connect the dots. pl

  7. ismoot says:

    We no longer seem so useful to the Shia. I recommend to all Peter Galbraith’s superb piece on Iraq in the “New York Review of Books.” He makes the observation that the demography of the country pretty much insures that the Sunni insurgency will not be able to re-capture Iraq as a whole. On that basis the Shia may have made the judgment that our continuing presence is a “wasting” asset and that our inability to efficiently deliver re-construction moneys make that even clearer. The Shia activists do not want to share power with the Sunni Arabs. There is a reason why the Sunnis ran Iraq for a thousand years and the Shia know that if the Sunni Arabs are given a share of power, they may well rule the country at some future time and that “payback” will be a bitch.
    The Bush Administration actually believes much of its own rhetoric and the continuing efforts of Khalilzad, Rice, Casey and others to achieve some degree of power sharing must be a growing problem for the Shia rulers.
    Therefore, “let’s get the Americans out of here as soon as we reasonably can do it.”

  8. linda in miami says:

    wow pat i feel like i am getting the real picture from you. my land its a magic decoder ring! aren’t we in bed with some lovely people, i had no idea that jafari “our pm” was a terrorist involved in bombing the us embassy in kuwait. i read that galbraith piece and i agree i thought it was very good. i really hadn’t thought aboutit but he’s correct: there was no way the sunni uprising could succeed strictly based on the # of sunnis vs the # of shites. it makes total sense. keep blogging so we can keep enjoying!!!!

  9. Half Fast Skier says:

    From my post yesterday evening….”I can “vision-thingy” this and see a 3-way parition of Iraq; Shia, Sunni and Kurd.” I have a few points to clarfy.
    First, Iraq can’t partition…the Arab world wouldn’t stand for it. The Shia’s gaining control from Sunni’s with Iran’s help is bad mojo.
    Second, no one likes the Kurds except the US. From what I’ve read, they’re more European than Arab. If the Kurds stike up an independent Kurdistan it is very likely the Kurds in the boreder areas of its’ neighbors will stir up so much trouble it wouldn’t take too much imagination to see Turks, Syrians and Iranian tanks rolling into that region. Remember, the US couldn’t use Turkey as a staging point for Iraq-2…there was some serious concern that if they had, the Turks would have used it as an excuse to put down the rebellious Kurds in Eastern Turkey and Western Iraq and completely ignore the US’s intent to oust Saddamm.
    Meanwhile, the Sunni’s, depleated of all power but with the support and backing of it’s neighboring Sunni’s, are in a position to stir the pot and raise pure hell for both Kurds and Shia’s.
    The US has openned pandora’s box and has yet to realize it should never had been openned in the first place. What has been let out will take many years to control and nullify.

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