Friday, July 27, 2007

Stuck in the middle with who

OK, it was a cheesy song, but we really are stuck in the middle:
Now, Bush administration officials are voicing increasing anger at what they say has been Saudi Arabia’s counterproductive role in the Iraq war. They say that beyond regarding Mr. Maliki as an Iranian agent, the Saudis have offered financial support to Sunni groups in Iraq. Of an estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, American military and intelligence officials say that nearly half are coming from Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis have not done enough to stem the flow.

One senior administration official says he has seen evidence that Saudi Arabia is providing financial support to opponents of Mr. Maliki. He declined to say whether that support was going to Sunni insurgents because, he said, "That would get into disagreements over who is an insurgent and who is not."It would be comic, but for the tragedy:

And the Iranians?
The second and longer meeting with Iran and the U.S. over Iraq ended with a public
of dissatisfaction on the part of Ryan Crocker, the American ambassador to Iraq, about Iran’s support for the Iraqi Shiite militia. Meanwhile his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, has been a lot more discrete about the meeting. Talking to the Iranian press he said he was satisfied with the American “acknowledgment in the meeting that they had made many mistakes in Iraq.” He was also satisfied with the American agreement to set up a joint “security committee” to help quell the insurgency in Iraq. This was a proposal made by Qazemi Qomi to Crocker in the meeting that was held between the two in late May. Crocker, awaiting instructions from Washington, did not respond then. After two months, there seems to be a grudging acceptance that cooperation with Iran may have to be in the cards. As Juan Cole points out, this is a significant development that needs to be watched.

So why are we there?

Sawt al-Iraq reports that member of the Kurdistan parliament, Nuri Talabani, insists that US economic interests are driving its heavy-handed push to make sure the Iraqi parliament signs a petroleum law in short order. He said that the US government wants special deals for US petroleum corporations in developing, producing and
distributing Iraqi petroleum, and that is why it is in such a hurry. Since the US and its Iraqi allies have been involved in heavy negotiations with the Kurdistan Regional Government over the exact provisions of a petroleum law, it is plausible that Talabani has special knowledge of US goals.

Brilliant plan, brilliant, with only a few minor flaws. The Saudi's are backing the Sunni's in order to protect their security, the Iranian's are backing the Shia in order to protect their security, and the Turk's are battling the Kurd's for their own security reasons. The Iraqi's are smack dab in the middle of a proxy war. And our shrub, being the decider, has chosen to arm all sides while antagonizing all sides and keeping our soldiers in the middle as targets.
Seems to me that if you must provoke a proxy war, simultaneously aggravating and asking for help from all sides might not be an effective strategy.

1 comment:

whig said...

Let me ask a question: Can Iraq in any configuration or even provincially defend any of its own borders?

If the answer to that question is "No" then is it correct to think of Iraq as a presently existing country? What government it has is a US "protectorate" but without consent of the Iraqi people it is just a colonial occupation.

So anyhow, what is Iraq?