Sunday, March 19, 2006

Things fall apart

'What's going right in Iraq' was the title Los Angeles Times subeditors chose for an upbeat article by Christopher Hitchens and three others in October 2004. The authors observed:

'Dire predictions of civil war between ethnic and sectarian groups did not materialize ...'

Hey, the Project for the New American Century liked the piece so much they still carry it on their website.

Fast forward. Here's Iyad Allawi, Iraq's former interim prime minister talking to the BBC today:

'We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.

Iraq will fall to pieces, Allawi goes on to predict:

'Sectarianism will spread throughout the region, and even Europe and the US will not be spared the violence that results .'

He could well be right. The very concept of 'Iraq' itself lacks any real historical legitimacy, of course. It is an imperialist construct that has existed for just 80 years of Mesopotamia's 8,000-year history.

Kurds want their own homeland. On some accounts, oil-rich southern shias are seeking closer ties with Iran. According to other sources, Arab animosity towards Persians overrides coreligionist feeling.

The sunnis have neither oil nor a majority. They do have guns and a willingness to use them.

How ironic that the neoconservatives justified the invasion with the argument that toppling Saddam would spark off a domino effect that would bring pro-US/pro-Israel free marketeers to power across the Middle East.

It certainly hasn't done that so far. Now it's starting to look like the dominos could collapse in the opposite direction.


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