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Iraq: desired results achieved? « Previous | |Next »
December 31, 2005

The official position of the Howard Government is that Australia will not "cut and run" from Iraq. Australia will stay the course etc etc. 'We are safer' because of the political developments in the Middle East of 2005 and 'we're better off now without Saddam', is the constant message from Canberra, Washington and London. Yet that intervention has resulted in Shiite fundamentalist political control of Iraq. That result and has been cemented by the December elections.

Two-thirds of Australians, now hold that it was not worth going to war in Iraq up from 58 per cent a year ago. Only 27 per cent believe it was worth it, compared with 32 per cent a year ago.

This is the other domestic side of the war on terror in which Iraq is centre stage:

BennettC2.jpg
Clay Bennett, War on Terror

Iraq is now a country fractured on sectarian lines that are fuelled by the US, UK and Australia. The Kurds will have autonomy close to independence and there will be a Shia super region established, covering nine provinces in southern Iraq. This represents half of the 18 provinces in the whole country. Iraq is on track to become a confederation, not a single state.

Iraq is still mired in sectarian bloodshed, a weak central government aligned with Iran, and a Sunni insurgency.Iraq was a Sunni state and is becoming a Shia one. The Sunni are fighting the US occupiers and the Shia. Iraq is a failed state. The electricity supply remains poor in Baghdad; kidnapping is rife; security is limited and Iraqis spend much of their time surviving from day to day. The police are not seen as protectors.The state elections in January and December failed to solve Iraq's problems.

The political will to stay in Iraq is weakening in both the US and Britain. As the ebb tide of American and British power in Iraq strenghens with both countries planning to withdraw their troops from Iraq, the new Shiite Iraq-Iran axis threatens Sunni control of Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Tis a great result. It is one ignored by Canberra. We won't hear much about Australian troops fighting for a fundamentalist Shiite regime aligned with Iran. You just hear the mantra about democracy in Iraq replacing the totalitarian regime of the Saddam Hussein.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:25 PM | | Comments (5)
Comments

Comments

After Murtha put his motion forward, and the asinine motion pushed by Hastert in retaliation, it became obvious there was no political will remaining to remain in Iraq. That same night Fox News ran an exclusive interview with a Pentagon official who claimed that training Iraqi's was going better than expected. It was part of the Bush Administration declarinign victory so they could leave before the 2006 Congressional elections.

Howard is politically impotent toward Iraq. We have no say on policy there, nor when troops come or go.

Gary, I agree with your summation however I feel that it’s too early to give victory to Iranian backed fundamentalist forces. Whichever way it pans out it appears that the US is going to be the big loser.

Many people and Govt’s around the world equate the US, UK and Aust with WASP imperialism. These are the countries that harked the loudest, stamped their boots on the ground, beat their fists on the table in the cause of making the case for the invasion in the face of considerable world opposition. Arguably this venture has turned out to be a bigger failure than Vietnam and is creating instability throughout the Middle East. How sad that we should be involved in another imperial war, from the Boer war onwards Aust hasn’t missed too many. It’s striking to note that Canada since the mid 1960’s has followed an internationalist path and spurned US pressure to involve itself in imperialist ventures such as Vietnam and Iraq. When the Australian PM John Howard made a comment to the effect that like the US Australia reserves the right to pre-emptively attack any enemies of empire that may harbour in countries to the north of us, the leaders of these countries knew that the PM was speaking in a WASP imperialistic voice. I recall at that time seeing a political cartoon which depicted Howard as Rambo on steroids with all guns blazing. This edict caused much consternation amongst Asian leaders, claims were made to effect that Aust was acting as regional deputy dog for the US. Downer went into immediate damage control.

Failure in Iraq may hasten the decline of the American empire and provide a boost to countries that espouse the ideology of internationalism and multilateralism as a way of solving world problems. The EU as a form internationalist structure and organisation has been successful in maintaining order and stability within its borders since its inception.

In 2004 a senior EU trade official described the ideals of the EU as follows:
[The European Union offers a positive and constructive vision for the future in which the member states help each other to attain our common objectives. It is also an early example of how we may expect the future to be and offers ideas on how the world may evolve regionally and ultimately at an international level. We do not emphasize sovereignty or the separation of domestic and foreign affairs. Today, finally, we have a choice between nationalism and integration, balance of power or openness. In the words of Robert Cooper one of our most senior diplomats: in historical terms “Chaos is tamed by empire; empires are broken up by nationalism; nationalism gives way, we must hope, to internationalism. At the end of the process is the freedom of the individual; first protected by the state and later protected from the state.”]

It’s my belief that if the American empire does eventually break up it’ll be due to the forces of internationalism a not nationalism as in the break up of the British Empire. It will be signalled by big players such as Britain and Japan leaving, ie. Britain committing itself 100% to EU principles and also adopting the Euro. Also it’s impossible for the UN to work effectively when you have a large imperial power such as the US sitting at the table. US unilateralist and imperialistic policies are diametrically opposed to internationalist ideology. The US tolerates the EU as long as the EU does not challenge US global military supremacy and continues to allow market access to US goods and services.

Various forms of nationalism, sectarianism and fundamentalism combined with gritted determinism can be seen at work in Iraq since the American invasion. Every Middle Eastern state with the exception of Israel was opposed to the invasion. Some would argue that the greater Arab world might have been able to tolerate one Palestine but not two. Will the battle for political control of Iraq be fought along sunni/shia lines or along secular/fundamentalist lines? Moqtada and other Muslim fundamentalist militias continue to challenge the authority of the British in the south. Can the Americans ever hope to establish imperial hegemony over a stable Iraq let alone establish permanent military bases? To the WASP imperialists, victory in Iraq means establishing political hegemony, establishing permanent military bases and privatising oil production under control of Anglo-American oil companies. Iran is already making preparations to sell oil in Euros. What happens if Iraq and other countries such as Venezuela follow suit. What does this mean to the US Empire and its imperial dollar?

Steve,
what can I say. Your comments are much more informative about imperialism than my humble post. Your should be writing the posts not me!

I do accept your view that it is too early to give victory to Iranian backed fundamentalist forces. The shape of the new political landscape in Iraq is not clear at this stage. My guess is that politically Iraq is likely to break up into regional fiefdoms--- and perhaps civil war--though no one knows at this stage.

I also concur that your view that whichever way it pans out it appears that the US is going to be the big loser. Even though Iraq resistance is divided , that will not save the US from defeat. I would add that Iraq will suffer great trauma.

The US defeat will be seen by the Arab state in the Middle East as the end of a modern form colonialism that has existed since the fall of the Ottoman empire.

I also agree with your view that for

the WASP imperialists, victory in Iraq means establishing political hegemony, establishing permanent military bases and privatising oil production under control of Anglo-American oil companies.

So does Pepe Escobar in Asia Times, who writes:
The objectives, from the point of view of the Bush administration, also remain the same; keep the Pentagon and its military bases inside an Iraq mired in sectarian bloodshed and with a weak central government.

The "follow the money" trail leads to an array of profitable privatizations, and the upcoming sale of Iraq's fabulous oil reserves to a few, select foreign investors.

I do not see that what happens in Iraq will lead to stability in the Middle East that favours the interests of US imperialism. Consider this article about China's successful intervention into the geopolitics of the control of the energy flows in central Asia and Eurasia.

Cameron,
I agree with your comments about Howard. He tags along with the American imperialists in occupying Iraq.

Australia is a part of the way the US is currently alienating most of US's former Arab friends in the region and enabling Iran to emerge as the decisive power in the area.

Another sign that the U.S. plans to withdraw from Iraq. Will it just be their their military presence?

The occupation contributes to the escalating violence from the insurgency. Whilst in Iraq, the US as occupying power acts pretty much as a colonial master, whilst its local proxies have been corrupt and venal. It has little choice but to exit.

The judgement has to be that Iraq has been a total disaster for the Bush administration--militarily and geopolitically--and it has alienated the US public faster than Vietnam did.

However, I 'm not sure that the exist from Iraq will temper the US view that its task is one of guiding or controlling the entire world--despite this task being far beyond American resources and imperial power.

Gary,
Thanks for the complement. Your analysis was on the mark. I was writing from a global perspective as Iraq has highlighted the problems the world faces if the US continues to set a course of aggressive imperialism. I understand 9/11 to be attack on US hegemony over much of the Middle East and in addition to this its sponsorship and finance of the Zionist colonisation of Palestine.

I found the following article an interesting read.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-1965314,00.html

In the 50 year history of the EU there hasn’t been one border skirmish or a single shot fired in anger. This is quite an achievement after centuries of perpetual war. They were very successful in dealing with the break up of the Soviet empire but not as successful with containing the outbreak of rampant nationalism and sectarianism following the break up of Yugoslavia. One by one the Balkan states are being assimilated into the EU. I wonder if the ultimate objective is to have a EU that spans from Lisbon to Vladivostok. The old imperial European powers of France, Britain, Germany and Russia at peace and in union after a thousand years of waring. This would the ultimate victory of internationalism over both imperialism and nationalism in Europe.

I mention this because presently outside the borders of the EU on the European continent there exists tensions between Russia and the Ukraine attributable to nationalism. There also exist tensions between Russia and the US attributable to imperialism with the US attempting to establish hegemony over various statelets adjoining Russia.