Monday, May 29, 2006

Strange Bedfellows

Iranian soldiers and an Iraqi tank in the Iran-Iraq War

I was intrigued by a report from Juan Cole (who got it in turn from from Al-Hayat) on the visit by the Iranian Foreign Minister to Iraq. Please recall that as of 20 years ago these two countries were in a struggle to the death with a War that:
".. has been called "the longest conventional war of the 20th century", and cost 1 million casualties and US $1.19 trillion. (those numbers sound familiar? ed)"
Al-Hayat reports that:
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki wrapped up his visit to Iraq by meeting in Najaf with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and with the junior cleric and nationalist leader Muqtada al-Sadr, along with numerous other clerics in Najaf and Karbala. He also met in Baghdad with Sunni fundamentalist leader Adnan Dulaimi in an attempt to "reassure" him about Iran's intentions in Iraq. The representative of Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Labid Abawi, said that Mottaki's visit was "extremely positive." He added, "One of our objectives was to underline that Iran is close to Iraq and that it is impossible to bypass it in looking for a resolution of the Iraq question."

Mottaki reaffirmed that Iran had committed $1 billion in aid to Iraq, and would cooperate in the area of energy production. (emphasis added)
Now, given their history, this report is loaded with irony. Firstly, the mere fact that these two countries are talking to one another is amazing. Secondly, what is this with energy production? Iraq has enought oil to last it until the cows come home. I suppose that Iran means nuclear energy. Thirdly, an Irani (Shite) actually talked to an Iraqi Sunni without one or the other blowing someone away. (This would be like Jerry Falwell saying good things about the Pope.)

How about them apples, W??

But the mere fact that they are collaborating should be seen as a positive move. But wouldn't it be ironic if Iran extracted the Boy King from this horrible impasse in Iraq.

Reminds me that the Pope was sort of excited about William of Orange's victory at the Battle of the Boyne:
William of Orange's own elite force — the Dutch Blue Guards — had the papal banner with them on the day, many of the Guardsmen being Dutch Catholics. They were part of the League of Augsburg, a cross-Christian alliance designed to stop a French conquest of Europe, supported by the Vatican.

William of Orange in bed with the Pope!!! Don't let an Irishman know!


markfromireland said...

I hate to spoil irony but anybody who went to school in Ireland already knows :-)

You're off-base, way off base in fact, on the nature and purpose of the collaboration in energy production. Iraq is desperately short of energy - generating capacity. That's because an already blown to bits generating capacity that Iraqi engineeers had kept going with ingenuity and bubble-gum and sometimes if they were lucky a bit of string were "replaced" by Halliburton who of course didn't bother their arse to employ Iraqi engineers. "Brown people - fuck no!" The result was that even the pathetic number of generating plants finished are fucking incompatible with everything else. Bring 'em on line and they'll blow every transformer in the area. (I mean of course every tranformer that hasn't been "shocked and awed" or blown up by the resistance.)

Baghdad is routinely down to 1 hour of power a day. Then there's petroleum Iraq lacks it. Same story as with the generating plants. And of course the muscle minded fuckwits who are your commanders on the ground recently tried to stop convoys bringing in petroleum for civilian use using the "protected" bwaaaa hahahahaha "protected" that's good ... God protect me from ever being protected like that... using the protected highways and checkpoints.

Somebody with one functioning braincell pointed out what would happen if they did that. Most people in the cities (60% of the population) rely on that petroleum for guess what? Private generators. Check the temperature in oh say Baghdad right now .... you deprive people of the means of keeping their homes at an even barely tolerable temperature, (and of cooking) and you'll see a bloodbath as every single resident with a gun decides to point out to the numbskull fuckwit "theatre commander" how being hungry and baked affects the temper by doing their best to kill an American patrol or two.

The Iranians don't want Iraq broken up. The Americans do. The majority of the politicians in the Iraqi cabinet and parliament don't want Iraq broken up. The Americans do. That's why the Iranians are collaborating on energy production. They're prepared to make a hefty, very hefty, financial loss, because nobody in the Middle East wants the war to spread. Except of course for the current American government (and their pals.)

Dr. C said...

Agree with all. I guess I was thinking more of the future, not that Iraqi can look to the future. I lament this situation as best I can. There must be a solution.
At one point you were going to tell me if there was a UN solution?
I doubt Iraq would want to be occupied by an Iranian army, or Turkish, or Pakistani (with their nuclear weapons in their kit)

markfromireland said...

Answered in full in response to your question over at my place. I added a "medical" prescription as a post script.

Briefly: Take up the OIC (Organisation of islamic Conference) on their very tentative offer of help by sending in troops from OIC (Malaysian and Indonesian for preference nobody from the Middle East and yah no Pakistani troops either.)


As to the UN my gut feeling is that Iraqis remember all too well how the UN did what they were told to do during the sanctions, (and how disgracefully the UN officials behave I was sorely tempted to punch some of them out and I'm not even Iraqi, then there's how the UN cut and ran after it's HQ in Iraq was bombed, then there's how the UN provided "retroactive sanction" for the invasion and is now providing a very dubious legal figleaf for what's going on. So I'd be disinclined to let them get their paws on the place again.

This is the thing that drives me wild and makes me want to commit unspeakable acts to the corrupt little [insert favourite expletive here] Annan. Just as the idea of the UN acting to stop another Rwanda or Bosnia with UN troopps being allowed open fire when fired upon was getting some legitimacy that corrupt little [insert favourite expletive here] Annan whores the whole thing out to Bush. It'll be at least a generation before we get even close to that again.

As to Iraq sliding into civil war the thing is this ... How come everyone who is warning how inevitable this is fails to answer the following:

"Please explain how even when you include the apalling toll of the death squads the vast majority of attacks are being made on occupying forces. And that those attacks are increasing in number, size, and sophistication."

"Please explain how and why the loudest voices saying this civil war is 'inevitable' are either American or British or are people like Allawi and Chalabi - exiles who are notorious for their role as stooges for the occupation."

"While we're at it please explain what benefits Western secular democracy has brought to Iraq that is so demonstrably superior to an Islamic democracy."

Hmmmmm not so briefly after all ... Some day somebody is going to explain to me what it is that's so terrifying about Islam and why "we" can't permit "them" to order their society as they choose. I'm not a Muslim but I see no reason why "we" should assume that "our" values are inherently superior to theirs. They've experienced secularism as a very violent assault time to admit that. Try a thought experiment. Go up to some convinced liberal secularist attack his or her "universal values" - once you've defibrilated them point out gently that maybe they have "sacred values" after all .....

cicero said...

Enjoying you guys who know so much more about history than I going at it. I think we are all in deep crap unless we stop the shifting balance of power in the US system right now. (I hope in November).
Meanwhile Mark, I see that you are hard at work over at FDL keeping their dates straight! Cheers!