Friday, September 21, 2007

Saddam Lives! A Case of Body-Snatching!!

Well, at the very least, he's trying to stage a comeback...

Patrick Graham is a Canadian freelance journalist who worked in Iraq from November 2002 until August 2004 for the Observer, Harper's and the New York Times. He's reputed to be working on a book which chronicles his experiences. In the meantime, he's turned in to Maclean's a very well-written piece on Iraq. I can only find one base not covered.

Graham never mentions the word OIL. At least I don't recall mention of it in my first read. But there are a number of well-turned and accurate passages which are worth re-reading.

It's a case of body-snatching! Saddam is inhabiting the corporeal bodies of Bush and his Panglossian General, David Potemkin Petraeus:
Gen. Petraeus: I was struck by how familiar his words sounded. The general talked like every Sunni I’ve ever met in Iraq—hell, he sounded a bit like Saddam. The old tyrant would have had one of his characteristic chest-heaving guffaws watching Petraeus as he intoned the old Baathist mantra about the dangers to Iraq: Iran, Iran, Iran. Bush took up Gen. Petraeus’s views a few days later in a nationally televised speech about Iraq, in which he talked about the threat Tehran posed. It seems that Petraeus and Bush have come to the same conclusion as Saddam: the main enemy is Iran, and you can’t govern Iraq without the Sunni Arab tribes, even as you encourage anti-Iranian nationalism among the Shia. This is what Saddam did during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, and what Washington is trying to do now. One of the main problems with this strategy is that both the Sunni tribes and Shia nationalists are profoundly anti-American and don’t trust each other—a potential recipe for further disaster.
Karl Rove is co-habiting the corporeal entity of Maliki:
Maliki has been accused of running an “ethno-sectarian” government, but accusing him of running a pro-Shia government is like accusing Bush of running a pro-Republican administration. Like Karl Rove, who hoped to make the Republican party supreme, Maliki seems to want to set up Shia-dominated rule that will control Iraq for generations. And like Rove, he focuses on his base, with little regard for any other point of view unless the U.S. pressures him (even then he pouts and makes vague threats about looking for other allies—by which he obviously means Iran).
But Maliki is also Saddam's current host:
The great irony of Maliki is that under other circumstances a government like his—one that is: a) accused by the U.S. of close relations with an American enemy (Iran); b) running a strategically important country (like Iraq); c) involved in the oppression and murder of one of its minorities (the Sunnis), which is closely linked to an important U.S. ally (the Saudis)—is an administration that many Americans would want to eliminate. There is a good chance that if the U.S. Army wasn’t there already, Washington would have invaded to get rid of Maliki.
One final insight: Iran has learned from Bush.
Iraq, Iran’s neighbour to the west, is Tehran’s self-declared security zone. Iran has already been attacked once from Iraq—by a then-American ally, Saddam—and won’t let it happen again. Nor do the Iranians want, as the West does, a secular Iraqi government that could destabilize their own theocracy. For them, Iraq is a survival issue. U.S.-led invasions have conquered not only Iraq but Afghanistan on Iran’s eastern flank. The U.S. Navy is floating off Iranian shores. Every few weeks, Washington debates whether to bomb Iran. How could Iran afford not to be involved in Iraq? Following the American example, the Iranians have learned that it’s bet­­­ter to fight the U.S. on the streets of Baghdad than the streets of Tehran.
In a real sense, ever since George Bush occupied Baghdad Washington after his judiciary coup in 2000, invading and occupying Iraq has been a solution looking for a problem. I won't bore any remaining readers by reciting this trail of tears. Actually, it's a circular path: the latest permutation of Mesopotamia's 'problem-definition' has returned to its original formulation: Iran is the anvil of evil.


  1. Thanks for the tip, vigilante. Graham has written a lengthy and engaging work and he is obviously well qualified as a Middle Eastern journalist.

    I think it's really important that all readers review the entire article (even though it is quite long).

    But I don't agree with many of Graham's conclusions. At one point he writes:

    "It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that some of the most sectarian people in Iraq are the foreign journalists, intellectuals and diplomats paid to interpret what is happening in the country."

    I hope Graham realizes that this applies to him as well as other journalists.

    I can't help but wonder that if General Petraeus sounded a bit more "Shiite" and a lot less "Sunni" that Graham wouldn't be more sympathetic in his analysis.

  2. Interesting observations, Wizard. It all points to the anti-Iran agenda driving our occupation of Iraq.

  3. I am looking forward to this book! Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. Bumper sticker, just minutes ago:

    Our Problems Will Not Be Solved
    By the Minds Which Created Them