Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Iraq stalemate continues....

Today, the idea of a unified Iraq moved a bit closer to dissolution when the Kurdish faction unanimously informed the Iraqi Shiite Alliance their rejection of Ibrahim Jaafari as Iraqi PM is final. The Kurds appear to be moving towards the idea of an independent Kurdistan...something I feel the US should have supported from Day One.

As I discussed here, J O S H U A P U N D I T: Iraq's political crisis continues, or `What we have here is a failure to communicate' Jaafari is being backed up by Iran in the person of Moqata al-Sadr and his Iranian equipped Mehdi Army. And Iran still continues to send arms and personnel over the border to beef up the Shiite Mehdi Army..while the US forces essentially play a holding game. Jaafari ain't leaving without orders from the mullahs in Iran unless he's carried out feet first.

The Condi Rice/Jack Straw attempt to break this logjam came to nothing.

The lack of momentum is not being lost at all on the Arab world, which sees Iran as getting the upper hand in Iraq and controlling a new puppet Shiite state.

Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt has had very little to say so far on Iraq, but he went public on al-Arabiyeh TV in an interview yesterday, asserting that civil war is on the doorstep in Iraq and that Shiites in Iraq and in other Arab states first loyalty is to Iran.

(FTR, I think that if a split in Iraq comes,a relatively bloodless dissolution with the Shiites affiliating with Iran, the Kurds setting up their state and the Sunnis either being taken over by the Shiites or forming their own rump state of Iraq will be what ultimately happens rather than an all out civil war).

Reportedly, Arab intelligence chiefs met in Cairo secretly the same day on ways to put a stop to Iran’s advancing takeover of Iraq. Egyptian intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman called together his counterparts in of the key Middle East and Gulf Sunni regimes to discuss strategy. The intel chiefs from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey were present, with Lebanon and Syria conspicuously absent.

Their concern is that a second Shiite power, controlled by Iran will rise in Baghdad, and that this development will boost fundamentalist Islamic forces and the Shiite minorities in all the Arab countries....and threaten the Sunni autocracies.

Egypt's main worry is about the effect on the opposition Muslim Brotherhood..and its proxy, Hamas, now in power in the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas, as we know, has been coddled and aided by the Egyptians and the Saudis and the UAE, both as shock troops in the War Against the Jews in Israel and as a counterbalance to Shiite Hizballah in Lebanon.

Lately, the equation has changed. Hamas has increasingly close relations with Iran and Syria, who's ruling Allawite sect is closer to the Shiites than the Sunnis.

Hamas is in a position to play both ends against each other, at least for awhile. And the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which Hamas is a part of, grows stronger every day.

This could all have mostly been avoided, had the Bush Administration dealt more forcefully with Iran and Syria from the beginning, and had they taken pains to restrict Islamists or those candidates affiliated with our enemies in Iran from running in the Iraqi election.

At this point, the Iran is holding some cards in the US/Iran negotiations on Iraq that it should never had been dealt. And that's unfortunate.


Dan Zaremba said...

"I feel the US should have supported from Day One."

Ditto here.

Freedom Fighter said...

The Kurds are the dinkum disinherited people in the Middle East, with a distinct culture and a long history of oppression as non-Arabs throughout the Middle East-unlike the Palestinians, who only popped up after the 1967 war.

It was the first President Bush who encouraged a Kurdish revolt after the first Gulf War and then backed off from aiding them when they took him up on it. The results were horrendous for them.

For that, if nothing else, we owe them assistance towards getting a state of their own.

Interestingly enough, Israel has a long history of helping the Kurds..and according to my contacts, the IDF is there now under the table, as we speak, continuing to help arm and train the Kurdish Persh Merga militia.

If Iraq splits (and I think it will) the Kurdish state would be one of our few reliable allies.