Tens of thousands of Shiites thronged a Baghdad slum Friday to show support for Hezbollah as Arab anger toward Israel mounted on the Muslim holy day. Such protests have even reached Saudi Arabia, where public discontent is rare.
…Demonstrators wearing white shrouds symbolizing willingness to die for Hezbollah waved the guerrillas’ banner and chanted slogans in support of their leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.
“Allah, Allah, give victory to Hassan Nasrallah,” the crowd chanted before burning Israeli and American flags.
Will the Republicans pass a law against going to war to put into power people who burn American flags?
For those of you who, like President Bush, don’t know about Shiites and Sunnis, Iran is Shiite. Iraq has a Shiite majority that was controlled by Baathist Party Sunnis until we invaded. Now the Shite majority in Iraq has come to support Hizbullah against Israel. Iran is a major backer of Hizbullah, and is gaining influence with the Shiite Iraqis. Iraq’s Shiite Grand Ayatollah Sistani, even though he is independent from Iran and does not want Iraq run by Iran, has sided with Hizbullah over Israel and previously had publicly forbidden America from attacking Iran AND has said that he would consider an Israeli attack to be an attack by America. And of course the more militant pro-Iran Muqtada al Sadr’s position is even more hostile to us.
Southern Iraq is Shiite, and from the little I know about these things it seems to me that we face a danger that Iran has the ability to shut off the logistical “tail” of our forces in Iraq if they decide to. You see, almost ALL of the supplies for our forces in Iraq come up from Kuwait, through Southern Iraq, and surrounded by Shiites the whole way. That leaves our entire Iraqi military force vulnerable to the whim of Iran.
So here we are. From the start I have said that America’s interest, far from “bringing democracy to Iraq,” might really be to prevent democracy there. “Democracy” sounds nice – a really good PR word – but democracy in a country with a Shiite majority necessarily strengthens neighboring Iran, possibly even leading eventually to a merger of Iraq with Iran — and thereby brings Iraq’s oil over to Iran/China/Russia’s advantage in the world strategic picture. How is this in America’s interest? Sorry, but that is just cold, hard “realpolitik.”
I think Bush’s father and his circle understood this. They didn’t want Iraq/Saddam in control of the region AND they didn’t want Iran in control either — the standoff between the two worked for our interests. When Saddam went into Kuwait, that upset the balance so they pushed him out. But they stopped before Baghdad because removing Saddam and his Baathist Party from power would also upset that balance. So that is why Bush’s father abandoned the Shiites when they revolted against Saddam — to keep that balance in the region, with the Shiites (Iran), Sunnis (Saudi Arabia, etc) and Baathists (Iraq and Syria) all in a kind of balance that reflected our interests.
Now Bush II has handed the whole playing field to Iran. Everything Bush has done has played into Iran’s hands there. So let me go a little further. Is it just an accident that everything Bush has done has played into Iran’s hands? Were the neo-cons conned — or paid — by Iranians? Ahmed Chalabi, for example, was the head of the Iraqi National Congress exile group that was feeding the neo-cons the phony “intelligence” about WMD… Was he working for Iran, feeding the neo-cons what they wanted to hear? What do you think?