Sunday, August 20, 2006
"Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy. Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect, but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy."
The news and commentary around this revelation have tended to accept the assertion that what presently persists in Iraq is anything like democracy. Hence, we are told by some that the US must not give up the fight for democracy (blah) or by others that it must not entertain such unrealistically high aspirations for such people. The real story here is that the US initially hoped that such opposition as would appear among Sunnis would be drowned out by the pro-US euphoria among Shi'ites: their strategy from the start was marked by the deepest sectarianism, as Hashim discusses in that book I referenced the other day. When that did not obtain, they relied on the idea of bolstering conservative and sectarian-minded Shi'ite groups like the SCIRI against nationalist Shi'ites. The SCIRI would work alongside the Kurdish leadership who have been effectively coopted by the United States for some years. This has served its purpose for a while, averting the serious risk of a pan-Iraq resistance movement forming in 2004. However, this resulted in a serious diminution in the stature of the SCIRI, while the PUK-KDP leadership has seen some erosion in support even though it remains the main player in the Kurdish north. As the opposition to the occupation started to translate into passive, then increasingly active support for armed resistance even in the Shi'ite areas of Iraq, the US started to pursue a strategy of promoting violent sectarian conflict through the Special Police Commandos and the Badr Corps. The sectarian death squads would both kill resistance fighters and divert energies to either pursuing or averting inter-communal violence. However, with increasing dissent among the domestic population toward the puppet government which resulted in Maliki being forced to criticise the occupiers, the dramatic growth in attacks directed at troops (still, after everything, the bulk of attacks are directed at US troops and not civilians), and the growing connections between Sadr's movement and the Sunni resistance: with all of that, the US is considering toppling its man, the guy it pressed to be put in the role of PM in the first place, and putting in place an open dictator.
This is the beginning of the end for the occupiers. Such a step would catalyse the growing national unity of the resistance movements, and its development of a pan-Iraqi political structure. It would require a drastic increase in troop commitments at a time when domestic opinion in the imperialist countries tends in the opposite direction. They may not, on account of its obvious pitfalls, opt for such a drastic scenario - but the fact that they are tending in this direction and countenancing such options is indicative of the dire straits they are in.
PS: This bollocks in the Telegraph today - what can you say? This is obviously propaganda from the NCRI, a shell for the MEK (which managed to move from revolutionary socialism to Baathism to neoconservatism in less than three decades). The NCRI was behind previous claims that Iran was developing nukes - they even provided sattelite imagery. The claim is that Iran is manufacturing explosives for the Iraqi resistance. Some reasons why this is preposterous: the resistance in Iraq is composed of nationalist movements, which the Iranians don't want to see strengthened, whether Sunni or Shi'ite. It certainly doesn't want to support the Salafist fringe either. Iran has an excellent partner in the pro-occupation SCIRI, and it does not want to see its once great geopolitical rival resuscitated except as an ally. While we're on the topic, the secular Alawite regime in Syria doesn't want to help the Islamists in Iraq, especially not the Sunni Islamists whose growing influence in Syria is causing the Assad regime some serious problems. Neither Iran nor Syria wants ongoing instability on its borders. No credible evidence has so far emerged that these two governments are acting in ways contrary to their own interests by supporting Iraqi insurgents. So perhaps we can drop the baby talk about axes of evil and evil states supporting evil-doers and so on - please?