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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Fighting shadows

Juan Cole, December 15:

"The Iraqi 'government' is a failed state. Virtually no order it gives has any likelihood of being implemented. It has no army to speak of and cannot control the country. Its parliamentarians are attacked and sometimes killed with impunity. Its oil pipelines are routinely bombed, depriving it of desperately needed income. It faces a powerful guerrilla movement that is wholly uninterested in the results of elections and just wants to overthrow the new order. Elections are unlikely to change any of this.

"The only way in which these elections may lead to a US withdrawal is that they will ensconce parliamentarians who want the US out on a short timetable. Virtually all the Sunnis who come in will push for that result (which is why the US Right is silly to be all agog about Fallujans voting), and so with the members of the Sadr Movement, now a key component of the Shiite religious United Iraqi Alliance. That is, these elections lead to a US withdrawal on terms unfavourable to the Bush administration. Nor is there much hope that a parliament that kicked the US out could turn around and restore order in the country."

With news that Iraqi security forces caught, then released, alleged terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi last year, Cole explains the issue:

"What I take away from this report is that if the Iraqis cannot recognize a Jordanian master terrorist, the American military has zero chance of fighting the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement in Iraq, because most of them don't even know enough Arabic to distinguish an Iraqi from a Jordanian accent. And if all it takes is putting on weight and growing a beard to disguise oneself, then we're in deep trouble."


Blogger Wombat said...

I wouldn't be too hard on the Iraqi's releasing Zarqawi. After all, the Bush adminstration had 3 opportunities to take Zarqawi out befor ehe Iraq invasion, and chose not to so that they could use his presence inthe country to bolster the case for war.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 10:21:00 am  
Blogger Theo said...

Hi AL, glad to see you acquiesced to my comment on another of your posts (Lol): I look forward to your post on this momentous event for the Middle East Antony!

Q (to anyone with a name starting with the letter "A"): (1) What do you hope for the future of Iraq, and (2) how would you suggest it be brought about?

Don't go O to the T on me. This is not about the past, but the present. (And I hope the answer to the first question is, "A peaceful democratic nation", and assuming it is, are the current policies and actions of Bush, Blair and Howard helping or hindering?)

Sunday, December 18, 2005 2:34:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

The noticeable lack of enthusiam and interst being shared by the public speaks volumes. We've been here before, and apart from the Bush flag wavers, the majority has learned that there is no point in counting your chikens before they're hatched.

The universal desire would be to see these elections be fruitfull, but gibven the variables and the mountain of issues still to be unresolved, they may prove to be as insignificant as teh first two.

Democracy and freedom are far from assured.

One news item carried this quote:

"Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s influential former president, on Friday called Iraq’s parliamentary elections a “victory” for Iran and said the vote had shattered any US expansionist ambitions in the Middle East."

and this

"Mr Rafsanjani is known as a pragmatic conservative who favours strategic co-operation with the US in the region. “It could be to the US’s benefit not to ignore Iran’s role; instead, they were hostile wherever they could be,” Mr Rafsanjani said."

Sunday, December 18, 2005 5:14:00 am  
Blogger Theo said...

Hit the first one but struck out on the 2nd (why am I not surprised?): Question 2 - answer forthcoming? (Feel free to include the supplemental question, "...are the current policies and actions of Bush, Blair and Howard helping or hindering?" in your response.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 5:27:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Yes Sir Mr Umpire Theo Sir. Would you care to elaborate on how and why I struck out?

In odder to answer the supplemental question, one would have to be certain of what the actual policies of the Bush and Blair (Howard is insignificant) were, versus their stated aims. Apart from the few that still believe in intelligent design and the existence of the tooth fairy, few believe that the two are one and the same.

According to Seymour Hersh, the January elections were certainly cooked, and the fact that Allwai failed to be elected was not through lack of trying on the part of the occupation. (

One thing reamins beyond dispute. The viability of Aany future Iraqi government will rest on their control of their oil. It was recently discovered that the control of Iraq's future oil wealth is being handed to multinational oil companies through long-term contracts that will cost Iraq hundreds of billions of dollars.

These contracts will be remain in place regardless of which government holds power, which pretty much confirms the suspicions that the US will never relinquish control of Iraq or respect Iraqi sovereignty.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 6:49:00 am  

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