Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Iraqi election

It's hard to believe it's time to start blogging on Iraq again.

I've just taken a quick look at my old blog; here and here. Chalabi and Allawi are long-time rivals for U.S. support in trying to build some kind of secular government in Iraq. Allawi was actually a Baathist, a supporter of Saddam Hussein, for a long time; Chalabi I guess never was.

Allawi's group has won the most seats--barely--but they are far short of a majority. Chalabi, as before, is working with a more Shiite fundamentalist, pro-Iran group. Maliki, who has been PM most recently, used to be in alliance with that group; they have had a bitter split, but now they will work to form some kind of coalition that can form a majority in Parliament. A quick overview by the good old BBC is here.

You have to like NRO The Corner, still generally pro-Bush.

And while too many pundits will use one candidate or another's ties to Iranian officials to suggest that person has always been under Iran's thumb, that is anachronistic analysis: The reality is that as U.S. influence wanes relative to Iran, every Iraqi politician — Chalabi, Talabani, Barzani, Maliki, and even, perhaps, Allawi — will make accommodation with the Islamic Republic in order to survive.

Er, but possibly Chalabi is among the most pro-Iran of them all. It still seems possible, indeed, that he has been an Iranian agent all along--going back to when he lobbied successfully in Washington for millions of dollars, and then used those millions to persuade opinion-makers of the necessity of invading Iraq. Generally speaking a weaker Iraq means a stronger Iran; see also Claudia Rossett's piece about Turkey leaning toward Iran.

Was it smart for Bush to invade? I don't think it's clear yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment