Friday, June 28, 2002

Is Iran Our Best Ally?

Recent leaks from the administration reveal that one option for dealing with Saddam Hussein is to "insert Special Forces troops into southern Iraq and declare a liberated zone there. Working with opposition forces, the United States would provide air cover for an attack on Baghdad, providing intelligence and logistical support." Note that the southern portion of Iraq is composed of a predominant Shia muslim population. Shia is also the religion of the ayatollahs of Iran. Helping the Shia in Iraq would make the mullahs and ayatollas beholden to us. Do we want, or can we forsee, an alliance with Iran?

After you stop laughing, consider two facts. First, the Shia sect is much less focussed on world domination through jihad than the Sunni, especially the Wahhabi sect that dominates OBL and the Saudi regime. The second bit of trivia here is that the Iranian people are the muslims whose people want to be like us. This is the only muslim country that has frequent demonstrations against its own regime, and showing solidarity with our side post-9/11. (Turkey doesn't count, it is a secular state which executes its own jihadis).

After one gets over the knee-jerk reaction to the headline above, it just might make sense to make common cause with this muslim theocracy, the only such state that shows grass roots support for our cause. Long term, the prospects look good. The problem is, in our democracy, our leaders are only concerned with holding power in the next re-election. A longer term solution such as an alliance with the Shia would garner Bush no votes in 2004. I predict that if they go forward with this option, it will be only because they have failed to realize the ramifications of supporting a popular revolt with its genesis in the southern no-fly zone of Iraq.