Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Out Of Iraq: The War Is Over But The Repercussions Are Just Beginning

"... The Ottomanists felt some Sunni fraternal ties to the Ba’athists who themselves were not especially religious. First off, they would have wanted to keep the Shia from ruling. The Turks lost that wager. They also hoped that the Kurds could be prevented from having something like a state, which is precisely what they have now: yes, something very much like a state. So the Ankara-Baghdad connection was already very much frayed when Americans began to leave Iraq.The Sunni-Shia break became ever more serious. Bloody it already always was. Iraq is, for all intents and purposes, now a Shia state, which connotes an anti-Sunni state. This means that it needs to resist the Sunni typhoon now gathering in Syria. It’s also why Iraq has been in dissent from the Arab League moves against the Assad onslaught in Sunni areas of Syria. Perhaps the most devastating and intrinsic evidence of how deeply Shia the rulers in Baghdad are is the fact that on the very morrow of the U.S. departure for Kuwait, Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki had Sunni Vice President Tariq Al Hashimi arrested and charged with all kinds of crimes, including murder. By the way, America left most of its military hardware in the country. This belongs, we are told, to Iraq. A comprehensive report of all these happenings is to be found in the Christian Science Monitor. My wager: The reports will get worse.
The reports from what is now Arab Winter are desolating. (I know the analogy of the seasons is a cliché by now.) In any case, the news is not only chilling but searing hot. If even the Arab League admits that there are already 5,000 dead in Syria there likely are many more. The opposition announced late Monday that at least 114 in its ranks had been killed during the day, including 80 army defectors. Syria is less lucky than Egypt because it is a French imperial paste job of sects, ethnicities, and tribes. If the House of Assad falls that does not necessarily mean the Alawite pyramid collapses. And, if it does, nothing like civilized rule will replace it. You believe otherwise? Just wait.
If you were compelled to make a choice in Egypt, who would you anoint? Of course, we won’t be anointing anyone. The Egyptians will … and maybe more by gang warfare than by suffrage. Many of us were thrilled when, in the early weeks of the rising, respectful and respected folk committed acts of bravery, of decency, of ethical clarity. It turns out that these men and women, mostly but not all young and youngish, were less in number than they seemed. It is now the military, a somewhat reformed military, versus the religious ultras that are fighting for the rule and the soul of Egypt. The Obama administration has not given so much as a hint as to whom they favor. Early in the process, they were for Mubarak. Hillary declared him and his wife 
friends of my family.”Then the administration switched. I suspect—but I certainly don’t really know—that the president himself would tilt towards the orthodox Muslims, the fanatics. And he probably believes that, if only Israel would stop building housing in Jerusalem, the fanatics would stop being fanatics." (There, in the last sentence,  Peretz finally puked his Zionism!)

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