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Iraq: neo-con dreaming « Previous | |Next »
May 17, 2006

An interesting insight into energy and geopolitics in the Middle East by Peter Kiernan in Asia Times online. He says:

For the Bush administration, the ousting of Saddam Hussein removed a potential threat in the vital Persian Gulf region, but the subsequent instability in Iraq has severely constricted its ability to exercise leverage in the region. For example, Iran is not worried about the substantial US military presence in Iraq as long as US forces are preoccupied with battling a persistent insurgency. And Persian Gulf oil supplies remain vulnerable; not from an Iraq as a hostile state actor, but from Iraq's internecine violence with its regional implications.

Meanwhile, neo-conservative expectations that post-Saddam Iraq's oil could be used as a weapon to lower oil prices, undermine Saudi Arabia and Iran, and bust the OPEC cartel wide open have not been realized. Iraq's deteriorated security environment has played on oil-market fears that have contributed to higher oil prices. Iraq is producing less oil than it did before the invasion, leaving the market share of the region's two big oil powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran, unchallenged. And both those states are also enjoying near-record-level revenues. The grand dream of an Iraqi oil boom fueling transformation in the Middle East has gone bust.

It sure has. What has replaced it is an Iraq simultaneously descending into both a civil war and a war of resistance against foreign occupation. The US’s view of the polarised the insurgent landscape, makes a clear-cut opposition between terrorism and national liberation movements. The counter-insurrection strategy of the US aimed to wipe out the foreign jihadists (al-Qaida’s) whilst bringing the Iraqi (mostly Sunni) resistance back on side.

The Sunni resistance see Iraq’s government as Shia, sectarian and in cahoots with, or subservient to, Iran the foreign jihadists are becoming homegrown, and both wings of the resistance are working together despite the US's attempts to divide and conquer them.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:02 PM | | Comments (3)


Iraq makes no sense. It should have been partitioned; the Kurdish north should be its own state, and forcing them to share a country with ethnic Arabs makes no sense at all.

The Americans wouldn't have heard of it, and the Kurdish state idea has plenty of enemies in the region, but had they been sensible and put their foot down, it would have happened. I rather gather this has 'de-facto' happened anyway, and the Kurds pay little attention to Baghdad. Who can blame them for that?

As for the rest of the country they should have picked out some suitable client, armed him to the teeth, and backed him to the hilt. Democracy? Don't make me laugh. (Though I don't hold with democracy in Western countries never mind Iraq.)

yeah I also reckon that Iraq will fragment into different regions with a very loose federation and a weak central government. It's the de facto situation now isn't it--and I presume the Pentagon accepts that Iraq's fracture along sectarian lines is unavoidable.

The process has been a continuing fracturing along sectarian lines and a steady descent into civil war, which began with the February 2006 bombing of the al-Askari mosque in Samarra. That event made it impossible for Shi'a and Sunni political parties to work together.

Far from the Shi'a, Kurds and Sunnis participating in a government of "national unity", these disparate ethnic groups are unable to reach a consensus for sharing cabinet positions.

The birth of an independent Kurdistan--ie., an Iraqi Kurdistan, that declares its independence from Iraq.

Turkey is not going to like that given Turkey's Kurdish population, which has suffered decades of repression at the hands of the Turkish military.

Why does everyone go on about 'Turkey won't like it' business? No, they won't like it, nor will Syria or Iran?

That shouldn't stop the Americans from doing something that is so clearly in their advantage. If Washington insists, there's really not a lot that Ankara can do, after all.

As for Baghdad, well, they still have to prove they can form a coherent government before they can advance a view worthy of the name.