Monday, June 28, 2004
So, Iraq gets a new government on the same day that Canada does. Coincidence - or conspiracy, eh?
After all, Iraq and Canada are intriguingly similar. Each has a complex and strained relationship with the United States. Each is a somewhat arbitrary construct of British imperialism that has never really jelled as a nation. Each is divided into mutually-hostile regions (Kurdistan/Sunni Triangle/Shiite South vs. Quebec/Ontario/Albera/British Columbia). Canada even has an Islamist terrorism problem - albeit, not one directed at Canadians.
And this proves that Iraq will soon be as tractable and innocuous as Canada. Or that Canada is going to become a seething cauldron like Iraq. Or something.
Seriously, though, I was feeling more optimistic about the situation in Iraq until I realized the Iranians are kind of daring us to do make something of it when they infilatrate the country and foment terror and civil war and capture British subjects and so forth. And that struck me as a very bad thing. Because if they were worried we'd make something of it, they probably wouldn't be doing it. And if they actually *want* us to make something of it, that's even worse, isn't it?
And meanwhile, Sy Hersh reports that the Israelis have given up on the American intervention and are doing their own thing with the Kurds. Of course, the info comes from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, who would have their own reasons for spreading such a story - they are (a) shifting their own allegiances towards greater balance between Europe and America, and between Israel and the Arab states, as against an earlier tilt in the U.S. and Israel's direction, and (b) extremely touchy on the subject of Kurds and any prospect for their independence. If the Israelis were *not* running such an operation, the Turks might leak that they *were* in order to dissuade them from doing so. But be that as it may, Hersh gets plenty of Israelis to tell him that they think the Iraq intervention has been a thorough failure.
I really want to be optimistic today. I had kind of been leaning in the direction of thinking that the situation in Iraq was going to head in an Algerian direction - that the jihadis were getting so violent, and turning so much violence against other Arabs and Iraqis, that they would alienate those they were trying to seduce and anger those they were trying to intimidate. In which case "iron-fist" Allawi and his American mercenaries will be able to crush them without bringing the whole population into revolt. But I can't get myself to believe this. Lebanon still looks terribly likely to me. And with Iran playing North Vietnam to Iraq's jihadi Viet Cong, we could be in this for a long while. Vietnamization, remember, only looked like it might work *after* the VC were devastated by their Tet Offensive and *after* Nixon had dropped more ordnance on the North than was used in WWII.
Still, there's one good sign: they're still using the old flag.