The problem with the December parliamentary elections in Iraq is that once again, Shiâ€™ites voted for Shiâ€™ites, Sunnis for Sunnis and Kurds for Kurds cementing the already sectarian division inherent in the constitutional vote. The ultimate result is an Iraq keenly aligned with Iranâ€™s hard line fundamentalist president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
No one has benefited more by the overthrow of Husseinâ€™s Baâ€™ath Party and the Taliban than Iranâ€™s recently elected hard line government. If the Bush administration believed that an Iraqi democracy would be a model for the Middle East where Iranâ€™s theocratic democracy was not, it was most certainly mistaken.
Fundamentalist Shiâ€™ites garnered control of all future petroleum finds in the oil-rich south with the October vote. Iran, flush with petroleum profits due to the high price of oil has offered to pay for pipelines that would span the border of the two countries. Iraq, unable to match pre-invasion production despite billions of dollars being spent on infrastructure has every reason to establish friendly ties with Iran.
Shutdown of Iraqâ€™s largest refinery last week has added to already severe shortages and sky rocketing prices at the pumps. When Iraq Oil Minister Bahr al-Uloum objected to raising prices the Iraqi government relieved him of his duties. He has been replaced by Deputy Prime Minister and Bush administration ally Ahmed Chalabi, a figure so distasteful to the Iraqis that he received less than 1% of the vote.
Essential services such as water and electricity are sporadic with even Baghdad, the capital, being without power these last few days. Unemployment is at 70% and after three years of US occupation, security is non existent. The Iraqis are ripe for a change.
Der Spiegel now reports that Washington may be planning an attack on Iran as soon as 2006. Iran is certainly trying to get nuclear energy, if not also a nuclear weapon. By investing so heavily in Iraq, which had no nuclear program, the Bush administration has weakened our options in Iran.
The Pakistan Asia Times reports that the regrouping Taliban resistance and al Qaeda have tapped into Afghanistanâ€™s richest cash crop, poppies. Working through the Liberation Tigers of Tamil large purchases of fully automatic weapons and surface to air missiles will now escalate the battles ongoing in Iraq and Afghanistan with US forces to a whole new level.
Pepe Escobar wrote in the December 23, 2005 edition of The Asia Times â€“
â€œBush has opened a Pandora’s box with his shock and awe tactics. The ultimate quagmire will keep mutating and unleashing its deadly new powers for years on end. And there is nothing anyone – not even the “indispensable nation” – can do about it. We have all been, and will remain, shocked and awed.â€
When the US allowed bin Laden to escape in Tora Bora turning its attention instead to a regime change in Iraq, it did much more than squander the global outpouring of goodwill America received after the 9/11 attacks. It effectively packaged and delivered the proverbial mountain unto Mohammed and he hath filled it with a terrible resolve.
Update: An Iraqi citizen adds voice to my post above via Dahr Jamail’s Iraq Dispatches –
I want to ask Mr. Bushâ€¦do you think that Iran is a democratic country? With freedom and liberty? Do you?
If your answer is yes, then we can understand what is going in our country.
But if your answer is no, then let me ask you againâ€¦are you insane? (pardon me)
Because now you have let those people and their followers have the power and drag us 100â€™s of years backwards.
The very same who want to cut the body of Iraq into pieces so that they can rule their way, or should I say the Iranian way? Itâ€™s the same.