November 29, 2005

Rebutting Odom VI

Finally got a link to Gen. Odom's recent column on Iraq. Gen. Odom is a serious man and deserves to have his views addressed seriously. I completely disagree with them.

Here are some of the arguments against pulling out:

5) Iranian influence in Iraq would increase

5) On Iranian influence. Iranian leaders see US policy in Iraq as being so much in Teheran's interests that they have been advising Iraqi Shiite leaders to do exactly what the Americans ask them to do. Elections will allow the Shiites to take power legally. Once in charge, they can settle scores with the Baathists and Sunnis. If US policy in Iraq begins to undercut Iran's interests, then Teheran can use its growing influence among Iraqi Shiites to stir up trouble, possibly committing Shiite militias to an insurgency against US forces there. The US invasion has vastly increased Iran's influence in Iraq, not sealed it out.

Questions for the administration: "Why do the Iranians support our presence in Iraq today? Why do they tell the Shiite leaders to avoid a sectarian clash between Sunnis and Shiites? Given all the money and weapons they provide Shiite groups, why are they not stirring up more trouble for the US? Will Iranian policy change once a Shiite majority has the reins of government? Would it not be better to pull out now rather than to continue our present course of weakening the Sunnis and Baathists, opening the way for a Shiite dictatorship?"

Since Iran seems to be shipping in sophisticated explosive devices to kill our soldiers, they do seem to have a funny way of saying they support our presence. Perhaps they believe that "nothing says I love you like Semtex"?

If they're supposed to be waiting to settle scores with the Baathists until we leave, those torture rooms some Shiites have been running are showing a little bit of eagerness and independence, no? Allawi has been making an issue of the provisional government's mishandling of Sunni prisoners. His share of the Shiite vote on December 15th is a good sign whether the bulk of the Shia are going along with this scenario.

Iraq and Iran have been fighting each other for centuries. The idea that they will become lasting best buddies because of a short-term US occupation is just not serious. These are traditional regional rivals. Any alliance between the two will be fleeting. The best we can hope for is to sublimate the rivalry into a bloodless economic competition instead of a bloody battlefield one.

Posted by TMLutas at November 29, 2005 03:19 PM