January 29, 2004


An absolutely stunning piece by Reuel Marc Gerecht in the Weekly Standard, that really sums the whole Iraq political situation up in two concise pages. His ultimate conclusion: the Americans now have the choice of either handing the electoral keys to Ayatollah Sistani and basically packing up shop in June, or else "lose Iraq to violence." Barring incredible luck, there is no door no. 3, he believes. The killer quote:

"Those on the American right who hope to use Iraq for years to come as a partner in projecting American influence throughout the Middle East, and those on the left who fear that American soldiers will be stuck in Iraq for years, are likely to learn this summer and fall that their hopes and fears are unfounded."

Sistani, to Gerecht's mind, is the only hope left of keeping Iraq from becoming Egypt v2.0, or worse, after this June. Only he can keep the Iranians out, only he can keep the Shiite hotheads down. Undermining the Object of Emulation now, the only advocate of Iraqi self-determination with any real power behind him, will only hand the country lock, stock and barrel to America's enemies.

It's deeply pessimistic, but has the ring of truth. Read the whole thing, as some guy once said.

Of course, there's a downside to everything. As Gerald Robbins points out in the same magazine this week, a Sistani-blessed Iraqi state will likely have no choice but to repress the Kurds, if only to keep the neighbours happy. And so, in a few years from now, we'll likely come full circle. Perhaps the lack of chemical weapons at the Battle of Halabja (2007) will be a small blessing to some.

Posted by BruceR at 11:57 AM


Saddam Hussein gave money to Mujahideen al-Khalq. Richard Perle took money from Mujahideen al-Khalq, and won't say how much, or give it back either. Hmm.

Posted by BruceR at 10:24 AM