Front page
Silflay Hraka?

Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

bigwig AT

Friends of Hraka
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
Fragments from Floyd
The Feces Flinging Monkey
the skwib
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
The Greatest Jeneration
Ipse Dixit
Blog On the Run
Redwood Dragon
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Bo Cowgill
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Northwest Notes
The Blog from the Core
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Sasha Castel
Susskins Central Dispatch
Josh Heit
Aaron's Rantblog
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
Single Southern Guy
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Snooze Button Dreams
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
Geekward Ho
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
The Biomes Blog
See What You Share
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Pajama Pundits
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

April 28, 2003

Substantial Penalties Apply To Early

Substantial Penalties Apply To Early Withdrawal

Well, this is unexpected.

Most former exiles wanted a lesser U.S. role, arguing that only Iraqis should rule the country, while those who had not left Iraq said they wanted more U.S. supervision because they did not trust those who returned after Saddam Hussein's fall.

Given the prior news coverage of protests in Iraq, one would think the Iraqi positions would be reversed, with the exiles supporting a broad U.S. role instead of opposing it. In fact, they probably do, but can't afford to say so without casting themselves in the role of Washington's hand puppets. The newly freed Iraqis, with the exception of the Iranian-backed Shiite clerics, want the U.S. involved over the intermediate to long term. Were coalition forces to leave in the near term, their perception is that the the next rulers in Iraq would be those same Iranian-backed Shiites.

I commented on someone's blog a while back that it would be nice to hear someone in the administration state that the U.S. would not allow the establishment of sharia law in Iraq, no matter what. I figured actually saying so was impolitic and therefore unlikely, which of course meant that soon afterwards Donald Rumsfeld said something along those exact lines.

As the Iraqi Shiite are riven with factionalism, odds are that the adherents of an Iranian style theocracy do not even form a majority within the Shi'ite population, but the United States would likely do nothing further to discourage their intentions in any case.

One, because they really are a minority of the overall Iraqi population, albeit a vocal one. Politically, they are likely to have as much influence on the final shape of the Iraqi government as the American anti-war protestors did on George Bush's foreign policy.

Two, even if the Shiite clerics hold a wider sway over the Shiite population, their power flows from the mullahs in Iran, and the position of the Iranian ayatollahs is a precarious one. The Bush administration is betting that it can outlast them, that the Iranian street will overthrow them long before the Iraqi Shiites can shift us out of Baghdad. The longer the process of building an Iraqi government takes, the better our position. We are running the building of Iraqi democracy as a marathon, a race which the Iranian backed clerics know they cannot win, so they're using what influence they have to turn it into a sprint. A power comes back online, and food and water become more available, the more their influence will dwindle. The only hope of the mullahs is to get the U.S. out now, or to provoke our troops into committing an Amritsar-like massacre.

Three, fundamentalist Iraqi Shiites make excellent bogeymen. The wilder eyed they are, the more bellicose their pronouncements, the more they scare moderate Shiites, Kurds, Iraqi Sunni Muslims and what remains of the Iraqi intelligentsia and middle class. None of those groups want ayatollahs ruling in Iraq, anymore than they want Saddam back. This applies to the Arab governments outside Iraq as well. As long as the fundamentalist Shiites appear to be a viable threat, U.S. forces in the region are the lesser of two evils.

Paradoxical as it may seem, radical Shi'ia fundamentalism will a positive factor in the growth of an Iraqi democracy, as long as the United States stays the course in Iraq. Their actions will serve to spook the other disparate groups in the area, forcing them towards a more common ground in a defensive reaction. We should probably thank Iran (and Turkey for that matter) for its ham-handed attempts at influence. Had the fundamentalist Shiites not presented themselves as the repressive alternative to U.S. rule, it probably would have proved necessary to invent them.

Posted by Bigwig at April 28, 2003 03:38 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.

Remember personal info?