Friday, March 04, 2005
"Poverty with Prestige is Better than Affluent Disgrace," by Howard Bloom, The Lucifer Principal, 253-255, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0871136643, 1 February 1997.
It's spreading. Juan Cole writes that the U.S. overthrew the democratic government of Iran. If murdering political opponents is part of democracy, sure. The book the quote is from is quite good, so I am including context as well:
Humiliation and the insidious force of the giveaway can trigger superorganismic cataclysm. Take the example of Iran. From the late-nineteenth century until the Second World War, the Iranians felt the disgrace of living in the shadow of the superpowers. Iran was addicted to superpower help, ashamed of its dependency and resentful of the resulting influence the major nations achieved over its affairs. In 1879, for exampl, the shah asked the Russians to raise and train a police force in the north. The resulting "Cossack Brigade" had Russian officers and Iranian non-commissioned officers. In 1907, the shah grew impatient with the newly convened parliament -- the Majlis. His solution was to call in the Russian-led police brigades, bombard hte parliamentary building, and reestablish autocratic rule.
Supporters of a constitutional democracy turned for help to Britain. Ten thousand of them took refuse on the grounds of the English embassy. That same year, the British and Russians put their heads together and carved Iran into three spheres of influence -- a Russian sector in the north, a smaller British zone in the south, and a neutral territory in the middle.
Playing politics with the great powers made the Iranians feel like a small dog running between the legs of giants, a dog in danger of being trampled. One Iranian-born writer said bluntly that Britain and Russia were quarreling over Iran's dead body. Then, during the Second World War, a new white knight, the United States, arrived to save the Iranians from the dishonor of superpower domination.
Americans opened new oil fields, and trained and equipped the Iranian military. American corporations started subsidiary operations in Tehran. The American government gave the Iranians money, helped place the country on the road to development, and propped up the Iranian ruler, the shah, counseling him on every nuance of policy from internal security to the management of his image in the Iranian newspapers. Then Americans executives and advisers moved into luxury villas in the walled-off Iranian suburbs, hired Iranian servants, and lived like kings.
Some American actions were Machiavellian. Others were generous. Both were destined to incur resentment. It wasn't long before the Iranians felt their old sense of humiliation and realized that they were still int he peckin order's lower depths. Even the shah felt the Americans despised him. According to his occasional confidence, the Soviet ambassador, the shah picked quarrels with the United States on minor isues to release his frustration -- the frustration of a chicken who feels how low on the pecking order he has slid.
In the fifties, one Iranian leader, Muhammed Mossedeq, championed a move that would shame the Americans and restore Iranian pride. As premier, he planned to snatch the oil fields from the British and Americans, and to make the Iranian national property.
When Mossadeq spoke of Islamic pride, he literally brought tears to the eyes of this fellow Iranians. Islamic extremists were willing to kill in Mossadeq's name, and kill they did. Among others, they assassinated the incorruptible Prime Minister Ali Razmara. Fear of Mossadeq's fanatical supporters was so great that no imam could be found to say prayers at Razmara's funeral. When one holy man was offered three thousand pounds to perform the services, he answered that "he valued his life at a higher rate than this." Terrified by Mossadeq's growing power, the shah fled the country.
In 1951, the fiery premier began his nationalization of oil. The result was a disaster. At least, it would have been a disaster if all the Iranians cared about was food, shelter, and clothing. Britain closed down the refineries, and vast numbers of British Iranian Petroleum Company employees were thrown out of work. Tribal chiefs accustomed to living off of oil royalties went empty-handed. Mossadeq's administration was starved for lack of cash, and government employees went from week to week without pay. The Iranian economy became a basket case. But the Iranians did not complain. Why? The feeling of power was worth the price. Pecking-order pleasure centers reveled in bringing down those on high.
The Iranian euophoria was not to last. Both the United States and Britain were worried about the loss of this valuable piece of real estate. The shah returned, more beholden to America than ever, and the oil fields went back to the foreigners. The Iranians, however, never forgot their moment of pecking order triumph.
Iran did very well under American tutelage. Poverty plunged, education and health care spread through the land, women gained new freedoms, and the standard of living skyrocketed. American policymakers were proud of their accomplishments. By the measure of food, clothing, and shelter, the U.S. had helped Iran accomplish miracles. But both our State Department and the shah had forgotten that pride, dignity, and dominance -- the needs of the pecking order impulse -- can be far more pressing than the demands of the body.
Update: Mark at Zen Pundit links to a history of the Overthrow
There are competing analyses. In May of 2000 Ardeshir Zahedi, son of the general who led the coup, bitterly denied the CIA claims in an article published in the New York Times. In his view the pro-Shah forces stepped into the vacuum created by the collapsing Mossadegh government and that such involvement as the American CIA and British MI6 had was largely ineffectual. There’s evidence to support this view, too in the form of the reports of Roy Henderson, ambassador to Iran at the time.
I do believe that the CIA and MI6 had some role in the coup but I doubt the image of the omnipotent, malevolent CIA that I think is required to accept the first analysis completely. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the CIA over the last 20 years, it’s that it has a culture of resume-padding (exaggerating the threat, exaggerating their successes, minimizing their failures) so I’m not surprised that agents might be attempting to grab credit (if that’s the right word for it) to which they are not completely entitled. Especially if book sales are involved.
Unfortunately, doing things that are deeply regrettable to prevent things that are even more regrettable is the difference between a great power and a Ladies Aid Society.
But oil wasn’t the primary interest of the United States in Iran. The United States was concerned about a possible Soviet takeover of Iran. The concern was not entirely without basis. In the 1920’s one of Iran’s provinces had briefly been carved off as the Persian Soviet Socialist Republic (also known as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Gilan). And the Soviet Union’s interests were not entirely based on oil, either.
We tend to forget that one of the most persistent Russian ambitions has been a warm water port. Without such a port Russia simply can’t be a naval power. And Iran had such ports not only on the Caspian but, more importantly, on the Gulf as well. Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt and one of those most involved on the U. S. side in the Iranian coup, remained convinced to his dying day that only U. S. involvement with Iran prevented a Soviet takeover there.
As Mark says, read the whole thing
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
"Groceries and Election Results...," by river, Baghdad Burning, http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2005_02_01_riverbendblog_archive.html#110872871401791299, 18 February 2005.
The possibly-defunct Riverbend is skeptical of the Iranian leanings of the Iraq's popular new government
“And is Iran so bad?” He finally asked. Well no, Abu Ammar, I wanted to answer, it’s not bad for *you* - you’re a man… if anything your right to several temporary marriages, a few permanent ones and the right to subdue females will increase. Why should it be so bad? Instead I was silent. It’s not a good thing to criticize Iran these days. I numbly reached for the bags he handed me, trying to rise out of that sinking feeling that overwhelmed me when the results were first made public.
Is anyone surprised that the same people who came along with the Americans – the same puppets who all had a go at the presidency last year – are the ones who came out on top in the elections? Jaffari, Talbani, Barazani, Hakim, Allawi, Chalabi… exiles, convicted criminals and war lords. Welcome to the new Iraq.
Ibraheim Al-Jaffari, the head of the pro-Iran Da’awa party gave an interview the other day. He tried very hard to pretend he was open-minded and that he wasn’t going to turn the once-secular Iraq into a fundamentalist Shia state but the fact of the matter remains that he is the head of the Da’awa party. The same party that was responsible for some of the most infamous explosions and assassinations in Iraq during the last few decades. This is the same party that calls for an Islamic Republic modeled like Iran. Most of its members have spent a substantial amount of time in Iran.
Jaffari cannot separate himself from the ideology of his party.
Then there’s Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). He got to be puppet president for the month of December and what was the first thing he did? He decided overburdened, indebted Iraq owed Iran 100 billion dollars. What was the second thing he did? He tried to have the “personal status” laws that protect individuals (and especially women) eradicated.
Ignoring the fact that SCIRI wants an Iranian-style Guardian Council while Dawa is quietest, these American-Iraqi-Iranian common interests are great news.
I've mentioned the Iraq War's objective of forcing common interests with Iran. Iran is a cynical and realistic power, and Bush is wisely building a natural alliance with the future democratic government.
Around the dial
- Pakistan is a failing nuclear state whose core competency is causing trouble. From potentially ending Indian demand for Middle East oil (by provoking a nuclear war) to incitement of anti-Shia violence, Islamabad is trouble. It is trouble for both Tehran and Washington.
- Afghanistan is a weak state and should be kept that way. "Strong" Afghan states tend to be run by Pashtuns who join their Paki brothers in killing foreigners (Russians, Shia, and Americans being favorite targets).
- Turkmenistan is a crazy Stalinist dictatorship. Iran has a history with Stanlists regimes -- it fought an eight year war with Ba'athi Iraq.
- Russia and the Caucuses answer the age old question: "What happens when violent, fanatical extremists encounter a violent, decaying empire?" Salafists and the Russian Army have joined together in destroying Chechnya and retarding peace efforts in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Iran fought a war against Taliban Afghanistan in the 1990s - it does not need a string of failed states to its northwest in the 2000s.
- Iran's enlightened ethnic policies have kept its Kurds relatively happy, and led to natural ties with Kurds across the Turkish and Iraqi frontiers. Kurds are also military allies of the United States and Britain since the 199s0.
- Likewise, Shia Iraq is an ally of both America and Iran. The American dream of democracy and the Iranian dream of Shia rule combine in Iraq as nowhere else (except Iran itself). If either party gets bored of the relationship, the Salafists-Ba'athists will make sure they remember.
- Across the Shia Gulf, the occupied nation of Eastern Arabia suffers under the Wahabi yoke. The Saudis' "hanging around guys" cause trouble for us, too.
The Bush Administration's successful dance with Iran has been incredible. Keep up the great work!
Sunday, February 27, 2005
"Bush Weighs Offers To Iran: U.S. Might Join Effort to Halt Nuclear Program," by Robin Wright, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58417-2005Feb27.html, 28 February 2005 (from Democratic Underground)
Right after the news that Cuba is telling its people to avoid foreigners, the Bush Administration is thinking of granting WTO membership to Iran:
The Bush administration is close to a decision to join Europe in offering incentives to Iran -- possibly including eventual membership in the World Trade Organization -- in exchange for Tehran's formal agreement to surrender any plans to develop a nuclear weapon, according to senior U.S. officials.
That's my kind of Islamic Republic!
Useful bs about Iran's nuclear program aside, this is great news. Much better than crazy plans to embargo Iran. Iran's democracy is about where Britain's was a century ago, they have a very secular population, and Persia is a natural security pillar in the Middle East. We need to continue to integrate Persians into the international system so a future without the mullahs in charge becomes more and more real.
Free the Iranian people. Free the Iranian bloggers. Do everything possibel to add Iran to the functioning core.
"Iran Was Offered Nuclear Parts," by Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1802&u=/washpost/20050227/ts_washpost/a56391_2005feb26&printer=1, 27 February 2005 (from Roth Report).
International investigators have uncovered evidence of a secret meeting 18 years ago between Iranian officials and associates of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan that resulted in a written offer to supply Tehran with the makings of a nuclear weapons program, foreign diplomats and U.S. officials familiar with the new findings said.
The meeting, believed to have taken place in a dusty Dubai office in 1987, kick-started Tehran's nuclear efforts and Khan's black market. Iran, which was at war with Iraq then, bought centrifuge designs and a starter kit for uranium enrichment. But Tehran recently told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it turned down the chance to buy the more sensitive equipment required for building the core of a bomb.
There is evidence, however, that Iran used the offer as a buyer's guide, acquiring some of the pricier items elsewhere, officials said.
Pakistani "hero" AQ Khan remains protected by the Pakistani government. Because we are not allowed to talk to him, we don't know who else he helped spread WMD tech too besides Tehran, Tripoli, and Pyongyang. Or if he even "acting alone."
The irony, of course, is that we have much more to fear from "friend" Pakistan than our "enemy" Iran.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
"Bush, Schroeder to Iran: Stop with nukes," by Tom Raum, Associated Press, http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2005/02/23/top_story/doc421cd41737533948517170.txt, 23 February 2005.
"Keep off Lebanon, Iran tells US," Aljazeera, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/172841F4-FA99-4643-A920-D88CF8F1AD28.htm, 23 February 2005.
America, Europe See Nuclear Iran As Not In Atlantic Interests
President Bush and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder insisted Wednesday that Iran must not have nuclear weapons, but remained divided on how to coax Tehran into giving up its suspected ambitions for such an arsenal.
"It's vital that the Iranians hear the world speak with one voice that they shouldn't have a nuclear weapon," Bush said at a news conference with the German leader.
Both sought to play down the differences between the United States and Europe.
"We absolutely agree that Iran must say, no, to any kind of nuclear weapon," Schroeder said.
Iran see Atlantic Interference in Greater Syria As Not In Iranian Interests
US President George Bush on Wednesday said Syria should withdraw its military and its secret services from Lebanon.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Washington was trying to protect its chief ally in the region, Israel.
"The Lebanese must beware of falling into the trap of foreigners who, using beautiful words, pursue their own political objectives," he said.
"To secure the interests of Israel in the region, the Americans are putting pressure on Syria to withdraw its forces," Kharrazi told the official IRNA news agency in Tehran on Wednesday
If only America and Europe had something they could trade in exchange for Iran getting the bomb (it is happening anyway). If only Iran had something it could trade in exchange for Atlantic interference in Greater Syria (it is happening anyway).
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
"U.S. Pressure Mounts on Syria," CNN, http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/02/15/beirut.explosion/index.html, 16 February 2005 (from Collounsbury).
"Iran, Syria 'Form Common Front'," BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4270859.stm, 16 February 2005.
Earlier, I blogged
We should use the tension of Iran's quest for the Bomb, along with events like al-Harari's assassination, to make a deal with Iran: the Bomb for Syria. It's in their interests. It's in our intersts. It's in the interests of the peace of the world.
Hopefully this is coming true. Syria-U.S. relations are fraying
U.S. pressure is mounting on Syria in the wake of the deadly bomb blast in Lebanon that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Both direction and speed are against Damascus
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday Syria was "unfortunately on a path right now where relations are not improving, but are worsening".
Who killed Harari? Who cares:
"I have been very careful to say we really don't know who committed this murder at this point, but we do know what effect the Syrian presence in Lebanon has," Boucher said.
Our ambassador was recalled
Ambassador Margaret Scobey was returning to Washington for "urgent consultations," Boucher said, because of "deep concern, as well as our profound outrage, over this heinous act of terrorism."
Now, take Iran's new tune
Iran and Syria say they are to form a common front to face challenges and threats from overseas.
"We are ready to help Syria on all grounds to confront threats," Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Reza Aref said after meeting Syrian PM Naji al-Otar
This is reciprocity
Both countries are under intense US pressure, with Washington accusing Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons.
Iran is realstic. They believe that a functioning nuclear weapon will improve their position in the Middle East. And they know an Iraq-Iran Axis allows them to begin the liberation of East Arabia.
Syria is opposed to a Shia-Kurdish Iraq. Combining his father's cynicism with his own incompetence, Bashar Asad is trying to maintain a balance of power favorable to Syria. He has been supporting the anti-Shia insurgency and selling his alliance with Iran down the river.
Iran's sudden statement reminds us that Syria is traditionally in Tehran's sphere. It still has some value. And like any valuable thing, it can be traded away.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
"Q&A: Iraqi Vice President Ibrahim Jaafari," by Bassam Alloni, United Press International, http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20040811-030906-9371r.htm, 11 August 2004 (from Informed Consent).
After concrete proof, a candidate for Prime Minister in Iraq talks up an Iran-Iraq entente. It's old, but relevant.
I personally look at Iran as part of the geographical entourage of Iraq and a friendly state which stood by Iraq's side in time of crisis: It harbored Iraqis when Saddam Hussein killed, displaced and harmed many of them. It is a state like all Iraq's other neighbors, which has common interests with us. I look forward to seeing Iraq's relations with Iran and all its other neighboring countries rise to the level of advanced countries. But in return, I expect all neighboring countries to refrain from interfering in our sovereignty like we do not interfere in theirs.
Some are trying to disturb such relations with Iran, although there is a consensus within the Iraqi interim government on the need to improve ties with Iran and all other neighboring countries and to set up a common strategy with them. In case of any interference, we should address that neighbor openly and start a dialogue instead of resorting to a media war.
Regardless of the comments made by the defense minister, the strategic stance in my opinion should be protected with the aim of maintaining stable and normal relations with all neighboring countries based on mutual respect of rights, safeguarding common interests, and refraining from interference in each other's domestic affairs.
Jaafari is very supportive of Iran, but his comments about other neighbors are hedged. He wants neighbors who have "common interests" and our part of a "common strategy." He threatens interference.
A clear goal of an Iran-Iraq axis is to liberate the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. KSA is a dysfunctional wahabi state that keeps its youth unemployed and keeps other religions down. This includes Shia Islam, which predominates the oil-rich East Province. KSA without the East Province is nothing. The East Province without KSA is an oil producer that does not support terrorism.
East Arabia's liberty does not have to be quick or violent. A peaceful, long-term push for autonomy will itself force reforms in the Saudi Kingdom.
Monday, February 14, 2005
"Hariri Killed in Huge Car Bombing in Beirut," by Juan Cole, Informed Consent, http://www.juancole.com/2005/02/hariri-killed-in-huge-car-bombing-in.html, 14 February 2005.
"U.S. Warns of U.N. Penalties After Lebanon Killing," by Steve Holland, Reuthers, http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=7625023, 14 February 2005.
The former Prime Minister of Lebanon was killed in a bomb blast. He resigned his position after Syria changed Lebanon's constitution to keep its man President. Hopefully, PM Rafik al-Hariri's death will not be in vain
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States condemned the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in Beirut on Monday and said it would consult with the U.N. Security Council about taking punitive measures against those responsible.
At the same time, the 15-nation Security Council planned a formal meeting on Tuesday about the killing as well as its resolution demanding Syrian troops get out of Lebanon.
But in a thinly veiled warning to Damascus, which has occupied Lebanon for years, McClellan said the United States will consult with other governments in the region and on the Security Council about "measures that can be taken to punish those responsible for this terrorist attack."
A goal, he said, will be "to end the use of violence and intimidation against the Lebanese people and to restore Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and democracy by freeing it from foreign occupation.
"We continue to be concerned about the foreign occupation in Lebanon. We've expressed those concerns," McClellan added.
The attack came at a sensitive time for U.S. policy in the Middle East. The Bush administration is hoping Iraq's elections will produce a representative government that will ultimately pave the way for a U.S. withdrawal, and is working with Israel and the Palestinians on a peace deal.
The United States and France had engineered a resolution in September telling Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and refrain from intervening in Lebanese affairs. They sought unsuccessfully to head off a constitutional amendment that extended the term of the Syrian-backed president of Lebanon, Gen. Emile Lahoud, by three years.
"This murder today is a terrible reminder that the Lebanese people must be able to pursue their aspirations and determine their own political future free from violence and intimidation and free from Syrian occupation," McClellan said. (Additional reporting by Adam Entous and Evelyn Leopold)
Juan Cole reports the Syrians were probably not behind the bombing
A shadowy and previously unknown group called "Aid and Jihad in the Lands of Syria" claimed responsibility in a videotape that I saw on al-Jazeerah. The spokesman reading the message was dressed as a Muslim fundamentalist big posters were behind him with Muslim fundamentalist slogans.
Personally, I find the likelihood of the Saudi connection generating al-Qaeda-type violence against him somewhat more plausible than that it came out of local politics, since local politics had been fairly civil in Lebanon.
That's probable. The Iraq War is spreading the fire of freedom and salafism throughout the Middle East. The status quo, shattered during the invasion of Iraq, continues to melt away. Good.
But given the fluid situation, how should we shape it? Syria should be our target. They support anti-Israeli attacks from Lebanon. They support anti-Iraqi attacks from Syria. They have harbored anti-Turkish terrorists. As the joint Franco-American resolution made clear, their geeky dictator has squandared his father's network of friends. The only thing that keeps Syria in the game is Iran.
But Iran's foreign relations are in flux. Iran is well positioned to be Iraq's long term guide. Further, Iran is placed to cause trouble by supporting the Shia's in Saudi's Eastern Province.
Iran has big interests in the Middle East. Between the present Iraq and a future Eastern Arabia, Persia is looking to be a permanent regional hegemon. How does supporting a diplomatically inept Syria help Iranian interests? It doesn't.
We should use the tension of Iran's quest for the Bomb, along with events like al-Harari's assination, to make a deal with Iran: the Bomb for Syria. It's in their interests. It's in our intersts. It's in the interests of the peace of the world.
And the Bush administration may be bright enough to see this.
Update: Cliff May quotes Walid Phares with another take
“Rafiq Hariri was close to Syria in the 1990s; he distanced himself from Syria after the war in Iraq. Last summer, he resigned in protest of the continuing Syrian occupation of Lebanon. As a consequence, he was threatened by the Syrian Baathists. Hariri was close to the French and the more moderate Saudis, and was seeking rapprochement with the Lebanese Christians and Druze, and with the United States.
“Last fall a car bomb – almost certainly planted by Syrian intelligence agents in Lebanon -- missed one of his allies, a Druze former minister. In September 2004, the United States and France introduced UN Security Council Resolution 1559, calling for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Hariri supported the resolution. Media in Lebanon yesterday quoted French and Western sources warning the Syrians not to harm Hariri. Today, sources from the Lebanese opposition charge that the Syrian regime was behind the assassination.
“Other sources have said that Hariri endorsed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It is known that Hezbollah, a close ally of Syria, has vowed to support the radical Jihadists against Israel, and against any settlement between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
“This assassination may trigger a significant confrontation between the Lebanese opposition and the Syrian military occupiers.”
"No Mullah Left Behind," by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/thomaslfriedman/index.html, 13 February 2005.
After laying the groundwork with a tale of fraid connectivity
The Wall Street Journal ran a very, very alarming article from Iran on its front page last Tuesday. The article explained how the mullahs in Tehran - who are now swimming in cash thanks to soaring oil prices - rather than begging foreign investors to come into Iran, are now shunning some of them. The article related how a Turkish mobile-phone operator, which had signed a deal with the Iranian government to launch Iran's first privately owned cellphone network, had the contract frozen by the mullahs in the Iranian Parliament because they were worried it might help the Turks and their foreign partners spy on Iran.
Why? High oil prices
The Journal quoted Ali Ansari, an Iran specialist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, as saying that for 10 years analysts had been writing about Iran's need for economic reform. "In actual fact, the scenario is worse now," said Mr. Ansari. "They have all this money with the high oil price, and they don't need to do anything about reforming the economy." Indeed, The Journal added, the conservative mullahs are feeling even more emboldened to argue that with high oil prices, Iran doesn't need Western investment capital and should feel "free to pursue its nuclear power program without interference."
Friedman then lays out the possible Vasco de Gama Projects, and the costs for not building them
This is a perfect example of the Bush energy policy at work, and the Bush energy policy is: "No Mullah Left Behind."
By adamantly refusing to do anything to improve energy conservation in America, or to phase in a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax on American drivers, or to demand increased mileage from Detroit's automakers, or to develop a crash program for renewable sources of energy, the Bush team is - as others have noted - financing both sides of the war on terrorism. We are financing the U.S. armed forces with our tax dollars, and, through our profligate use of energy, we are generating huge windfall profits for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan, where the cash is used to insulate the regimes from any pressure to open up their economies, liberate their women or modernize their schools, and where it ends up instead financing madrassas, mosques and militants fundamentally opposed to the progressive, pluralistic agenda America is trying to promote. Now how smart is that?
I've blogged before on the oil-tyrant nexus. We need to cut it. We need to force reform. We need to bring freedom to the oil despotisms of the world.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
"Shiites, Kurds, win Big: Bush Loses Election in Iraq," by Juan Cole, Informed Consent, http://www.juancole.com/2005/02/shiites-kurds-win-big-bush-loses.html, 13 February 2005.
"Cole on Iraq, post election" Discussion Thread, by Collounsbury, et al, Lounsbury, http://www.livejournal.com/users/collounsbury/286441.html, 10 February 2004 through present.
ZP's Mark has a high opinon of Juan Cole. Mark is more knowledgeable, more experienced, and wiser than me. Mark is a genius and I defer to him.
Nonetheless, I will keep criticising Juan Cole.
His quasi-Marxist leanings intrude themselves again
Allawi's defeat (he will not be prime minister in the new government) is a huge defeat for the Bush administration, though it will not be reported that way in the corporate media.
As, I believe, he seriously misinterprets our actions in Iraq
Ironically, [Kurdish leader Jalal] Talabani is extremely close to Tehran and has been a client of the Iranians for many years. His alliance with the UIA will ensure warm relations between the new Iraq and Iran. The US, in pushing for Talabani for Iraqi domestic reasons, is creating a Baghdad-Tehran axis in regional politics.
As I wrote on Lounsbury
An objective of the war is forcing common interests with Iran. That relies on Shia predominance.
We changed the region so that Iranian and American interests now largely overlap. Iran has proven itself a cynical and realist power.
U.S. and Persian interests now overlap. We both have reasons to put pressure on Saudi Arabia. We both are leary of Pakistan's ISI. We are maneuvering both to have pacific relations with the current Guardian government of Iran and to be the natural ally of a future free Persia.
Am I right? I think so. However, I know that Dr. Cole's simplistic interpretation is focused more on politics than on academic honesty. He has built a niche for himself -- regular reporting of Arabic-language news in English. He should be proud of that achievement. But he should also focus on using his knowledge to create something other than an anti-Bush screech.