Not quite what Bush expected

February 14th, 2005 – 8:39 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

There’s a certain wonderful irony in having the Bush administration be stuck talking up the recent elections in Iraq, when those elections had results that were anything but good news for Bush’s neocon backers and their allies in Israel [registration required].

“This is a government that will have very good relations with Iran. The Kurdish victory reinforces this conclusion. Talabani is very close to Tehran,” said Juan Cole, a University of Michigan expert on Iraq. “In terms of regional geopolitics, this is not the outcome that the United States was hoping for.”

Added Rami Khouri, Arab analyst and editor of Beirut’s Daily Star: “The idea that the United States would get a quick, stable, prosperous, pro-American and pro-Israel Iraq has not happened. Most of the neoconservative assumptions about what would happen have proven false.”

The results have long-term implications. For decades, both Republican and Democratic administrations played Baghdad and Tehran off each other to ensure neither became a regional giant threatening or dominant over U.S. allies, notably Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich Gulf sheikdoms.

But now, Cole said, Iraq and Iran are likely to take similar positions on many issues, from oil prices to U.S. policy on Iran. “If the United States had decided three years ago to bomb Iran, it would have produced joy in Baghdad,” he added. “Now it might produce strong protests from Baghdad.”

Professor Cole talks about the election results in more detail in a post over on Informed Comment.

It’s a great day for democracy in Iraq, because the people who made up the majority of its citizens now have a government that actually represents them (rather than the repressive one that the U.S. backed for so many years). The right-wingers are of course crowing about how this somehow justifies the whole invasion, even though back before the war started their reasons were all about non-existent WMDs and Saddam somehow being allied with Al Quaeda. Let’s hope that the new government sends us on our way as quickly as they can, dashing the neocon hopes for making Iraq into a new base for U.S. operations in the region.

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