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Friday, February 18, 2005

Behind the 8-ball 

With the news this morning of blasts in Baghdad aimed at Shiite mosques, I wonder whether Iraq's insurgency, which protrayed itself as a nationalist battle against the American military occupation, is now transforming itself into an insurgency portraying itself as a nationalist battle against Iranian influence in Iraq.
Robert Kagen's column in today's Washington Post -- Shiites and Stereotypes attempts to assure Washington that Shiite government in Iraq shouldn't necessarily be interpreted as an Iranian plot to control Iraq. But I wonder how it looks to the people on the ground in Iraq itself -- Iran, at the very least, is a long-standing ally of the Iraqi Shiites and a model for the kind of religious government they want to create. And the Iraqi military leadership, now running the insurgency, are the same people who fought for a decade against Iran and hate Iran passionately.
Where does this leave the United States? Behind the 8-ball -- in the bizarre situation of using 150,000 of its best and brightest American troops to prop up what might be an Iranian puppet government against a nationalist insurgency that will say it is battling Iranian control of Iraq. And how in the world do they get themselves out of this mess, when they would need to stay in Iraq if they want to use their Iraqi bases to launch a war against Iran or Syria?
Somebody told me there'd be days like these, strange days indeed.

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