Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It's all going according to plan -- but it's Iran's plan 

Robert Scheer writes about Iraq's dangerous new friend, Iran.
So the United States has destroyed their army as an effective fighting machine and strangled their economy and destroyed their reputation for abiding by the rule of law and killed or injured tens of thousands of people -- all for the sake of establishing in Iraq a religious fundamentalist regime which prefers to ally with Iran.
Forced democratization of Iraq, according to its neocon architects, was supposed to secure oil for the U.S., protect Israel, open markets to Western corporations and, oh yeah, maybe even decrease terrorism. After the invasion, however, the U.S. . . . was loath to allow elections, because their outcome would probably not produce a pliant government. Then Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the Shiite religious leader, threatened to take his followers into the streets against the foreign occupation if one-person-one-vote elections were not allowed. And when it became clear the "wrong" guys might win the elections the U.S. was forced to hold, the Bush White House, according to an investigative article by Seymour Hersh in the current New Yorker, tried to buy the vote for former CIA asset Iyad Allawi. When Allawi's slate was soundly defeated, what was Bush to do? With absolutely nothing having gone right in Iraq between the successful military invasion and the inspiring election nearly two years later, he had no choice but to embrace the winners — mostly Shiite, mostly fundamentalists — as the saviors of a free and democratic Iraq. Sadly, they are nothing of the sort. In Basra, where they have been in power since the U.S. invasion, religious thugs are in de facto control, applying more oppressive theocratic rules over women's behavior and other basic human rights than neighboring Iran. Even worse, their victory has fueled fierce Sunni resentment, and the accompanying insurgency has begun targeting Shiite civilians with the clear goal of fomenting ethnic war. Over the weekend, more than 100 people were killed by suicide bombers. Sistani himself denounced what he ominously said was now a "genocidal war." Facing that hideous possibility, is it surprising to find the Iraqi government looking for help from powerful Iran? No, but it certainly poses a problem for the White House, which now finds itself putting American soldiers' lives on the line every day to prop up an active ally of the country that we claim, with some plausibility, funds anti-Israeli and other terror groups and is bent on making its own nuclear bomb. Somewhere a guy named Osama bin Laden must be laughing.
And Iraqi prime minister Jafari paid tribute to the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini.

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