News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: "Yugoslavia on Crack"

Sunday, September 25, 2005

"Yugoslavia on Crack"

Yugoslavia on Crack
By Larry Johnson

"Today's New York Times reported that Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said Thursday that he had been warning the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq was hurtling toward disintegration, a development that he said could drag the region into war. This is not the wild ravings of a crazy man. This is a cold, honest assessment from someone who really believes he is still a friend of the United States.

Our actions are confusing the hell out of our friends. They look at Iran, who has been the largest most prolific sponsor of terrorism since 1980, expand its influence among the Iraqi shia with our help. The Iranians attacked us, Saddam didn't, yet we are helping the Iranians (at least from our friends' perspective). The Saudis (and others) scratch their heads as they watch us give the shia militia carte blanche to establish their power. The Saudis understand that the Shia are keen on solidifying their power. They wonder why we don't see this.

What the Saudis and the Kuwaitis and the Omanis and the Abu Dhabis understand is that the Sunni tribes will go to any length to defend themselves and their families from the corruption represented by Shia rule. Think for a moment what a small town in Texas, habitually under the control of Southern Baptists, would do if a group of Catholics or Hasidic Jews moved into town and took control of the political process. While an incomplete analogy, this scenario offers a taste of what is in store for Iraq.

Unlike the international intervention in Yugoslavia, there is not a firm international consensus to fight against the fragmentation of the Iraqi society. Prince Faisal, I fear, is a prophet. In the coming years the United States may face the unsavory prospect of actually having to invade Saudi Arabia to secure and protect its access to oil. In the meantime, the U.S. presence in Iraq is provoking terrorism and becoming a rallying point for our enemies.

Before George Bush tries to pick the splinter out of the eyes of his father, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan, he may want to spend some time removing the huge beam lodged in his iris."

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