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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Friday, January 13, 2006

The brewing storm

David Hirst (Guardian Middle East correspondent 1963-2001), The Guardian, January 13:

"A general US retreat from the region, with troop withdrawal at its core, is no doubt a prerequisite for, and yardstick of, the emergence of a healthy, self-reliant new Middle Eastern order. But, with the kind of ignominious scuttle from Iraq that failure would presumably entail, the region won't just revert to the status quo ante. Instead of Iraq becoming a beacon of all good things it will become the single most noxious wellspring of all the bad ones the invasion was supposed to extinguish - and new ones to boot.

"If the Middle East was a jungle before, it will be a wilder one afterwards, with most elements of the decadent existing order, in their increased insecurity, driven to even cruder methods - increased internal repression or external adventurism - to preserve themselves. And it will become even more anti-American. For while a 'good' retreat would decrease such sentiments, a 'bad' Iraqi one will only spur and spread the active, often violent expression of them. That is because, for the Arabs, Iraq was only the latest drastic episode in a long history of western interference in their affairs. Until the wider, pre-Iraqi consequences of that interference are remedied, the example of successful anti-American resistance in Iraq will only encourage it elsewhere, especially in Palestine.

"If all this portends an unfathomable mess, one thing at least is already clear: Iran will be the main beneficiary of US failure and the long-overdue accession of the Shia majority, its coreligionists, to political ascendancy in Iraq. The increase in regional clout it derives from this will be used at America's expense. The mullahs have long been readying themselves for a great reckoning. With their new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, readiness seems to be mutating into active desire. He and those around him believe that only the US stands in the way of Iranian regional dominance and that the US, seen as defeated in Iraq, is now a 'sunset power'.

"On the other hand, no one invested greater expectations in the Iraqi adventure than Israel. US success, it thought, would transform its strategic position. But with US failure, Israel will grow more repressive against the Palestinians, and more ready for military action against Iran. Should the US itself deal with Iran in the same violent and partisan fashion as it did Iraq, the adverse consequences of that new adventure will outstrip those of the earlier one. For there is no reason to doubt that Iran's response, from both itself and its strengthened Shia and Islamist allies in the region, will be the devastating one it constantly promises."


Blogger Wilbourne said...

Well then, let us pray for a free and democratic Iraq for all it's people.

Surely no-one could be so vile as to hope Iraq breaks out into civil war and massive carnage just to spite the USA. Or could they?

Friday, January 13, 2006 7:57:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

No but as some would say, it's the reality and we need to deal witn it.

It stil amazes me how the pro war groups continue to argu that war critics want Iraq to fail. It completel'y elludes then that oppositino to the war stems from a concern for the Iraqi people as opposed to ani-Americanism.

No doubt it's the ony way pro war groups can establish some moral legitimacy.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:01:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

addamo, haven't you realised that warning that something may happen is the same thing as wishing for it to happen..?

Another example of what Brent Howard calls the "crude slander of the left". Don't warn against a course of action because of its possible negative outcomes or else you'll be painted as an architect of those outcomes. Flawless logic, and usually backed by vitriolic howls. Oh, and accusations that you are full of hate.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 3:08:00 pm  

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