Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bad, very bad

From the AP:
BAGHDAD - Iraq's most senior Sunni politician issued a desperate appeal Sunday for Arab nations to help stop what he called an "unprecedented genocide campaign" by Shiite militias armed, trained and controlled by Iran. The U.S. military reported five American soldiers were killed, apparently lured into an al-Qaida trap. Adnan al-Dulaimi said "Persians" and "Safawis," Sunni terms for Iranian Shiites, were on the brink of total control in Baghdad and soon would threaten Sunni Arab regimes which predominate in the Mideast.
The Persians and Safawis is almost like the "n"word in American discourse. It is saying that the Shia Iraqi Arabs are not Arabs--they are Persians Puppets nor Iraqi nationalists. This conveniently suits Dulaimi's argument (Sunni fundamentalist). The Shia equivalent is calling Sunni extremists "Wahabists" (saying they are really Saudi pawns) or nawasib, again like the "n" word in vitriol.

This is going to put more pressure on the governments of Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia to bakc up the Sunnis in Iraq.

Exhibit A (Dulaimi again):
"Arabs, your brothers in the land of the two rivers and in Baghdad in particular are exposed to an unprecedented genocide campaign by the militias and death squads that are directed, armed and supported by Iran," al-Dulaimi said. And he castigated fellow Sunnis in the Middle East, saying they "did not make any move and did not even bother to denounce what is taking place against your brothers at the hands of Iranian militias and death squads."

I saw Vali Nasr, one of my favorites on Charlie Rose the other night and he said the Pakistanis love the government of Karzai in Afghanistan about as much as the Saudis accept Maliki in Iraq. Meaning not much.

Maliki's party, the Dawa (Islamic Call) Party is a Shia Fundamentalist. It is the most conspiratorial and least flexible of the three major Shia parties: Mahdi, SIIC, and Dawa. When Maliki was nominated for PM post, Nir Rosen, one of the most connected voices on Iraq, said that Maliki was even more hardline Shia than Ibrahim Jaafri. (former PM, also Dawa and now trying to come back into power on a pan-sectarian platform). He was right. Years ahead of the curve.

The Sunnis are cleansed from Baghdad. They have lost. The tribal sheiks in Anbar may temporarily align with Maliki (at least with Americans) in order to become de facto warlords of the future Anbar-istan. We worked with warlords in Afghanistan, why not Anbar-istan? But the US is stupidly laying blame on Iran. As if we haven't put in a pro-Iranian regime in Iraq with the Kurds who have veto power and exercise it only to minimize their safe haven autonomy in the north.

I think for all the talk, while there will be some push from the Western Arab heartland, it will not be enough to get the Sunni Iraqis back in power (contra John Burns). But it could be bloody. No doubt about that. Generally I think the Iraqi Sunnis are headed the way of Palestinians. Generations (I'm afraid to say) in refugee camps, suicide bombings, a sense of occupation, and (very probably) radicalized elements. Radicalized "nationalist" (religious or not) Sunni Iraqis and radicalized (much smaller percentage) Caliphate/Trans-national AQ types.

The Sunni Arab world needs to see that it is not Israeli, American, and now Persian/Iranian conspiracies solely to blame for their backwardness--politically, economically, educationally, scientifically, religiously, etc. The sooner that happens, the sooner they can join the rest of the world, particularly Asia.

The only thing the US could be stupid enough to do in this situation is pick a fight with the "Persians." Accept what our policy has wrought and go from there.


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