[Marxism] US rep Khalizad says invading Iraq opened "Pandora's box"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Mar 12 16:17:24 MST 2006

This is the latest comment by the Financial Times on the catastrophic
effects of the US invasion on Iraq, and, to a lesser degree, the
position of US imperialism.  At least, the FT concedes that the
Shia-Sunni clashes today are a consequence of the occupation, not a
result of their innate nastiness.  But of course, there is no concession
that Washington's inability to impose a subservient regime (even the
current regime is not fully a puppet government because of its strong
ties to Iran) and to reshape Iran in US interests is  100 percent
POSITIVE outcome of the conflict, despite the ruin that Iraq is
experiencing..  The results so far highlight the US rulers' apparent
incapacity to carry out reconstruction and create much more than
permanent bases which are being established across the country under
tight security and a media blackout,  There is no "new Iraq" coming from
the Washington planners.
Of course, the Bush administration's response so far is simple.  The
invasion hasn't accomplished their goals, and the bases may prove hard
to maintain.  Why?
everything will fall into place.  The game plan reminds me of the German
imperialists decision to follow their defeat in the Battle of Britain by
invading Russia.
Fred Feldman
FT.com  (Financial Times)
Pandora's Iraqi box
>Published: March 11 2006 02:00 | Last updated: March 11 2006 02:00
>  <http://news.ft.com/c.gif> > 

When Zalmay Khalilzad, US ambassador to Baghdad, said earlier this week
that America had "opened . . . Pandora's box" by invading Iraq, he was
making almost the only realistic statement any senior US official has
made about the Iraqi situation for a very long time. After three years
of serial bungling that has brought Iraq to the brink of an all-out
civil war that risks setting fire to the Middle East, this statement is
not just rueful hindsight. It indicates that the Iraq the Bush
administration has tried to transform by force of arms has reached the
most dangerous moment in what was always going to be an extraordinarily
risky enterprise.

After last month's bombing of the Askariya shrine in Samarra - an
explosion along the faultline dividing Sunni and Shia Muslims - Iraq is
sliding into a mire of sectarian war and ethnic cleansing. "We're in a
civil war now," according to retired Gen William Nash, former commander
in Bosnia. "It's just that not everybody's joined in." Yet.

The risk that Iraq would collapse into communalist savagery, a sort of
Lebanon cubed, was pointed out in the run-up to the invasion, including
in these columns. But once the occupation authorities disbanded the
army, security services and Ba'ath party - dominated by the minority
Sunnis - they inevitably fell back on the majority Shia and their
Kurdish allies, and just as inevitably came to rely on their militias,
however much they rebadged them as a new "national" army.

US and coalition forces are increasingly regarded as just another set of
militias in this multi-sided conflict, which is exactly what happened
when they intervened in the Lebanese war.

The Sunni insurgents regard them as allies of the "apostate" Shia. But
after Washington belatedly started pushing for "inclusive" policies to
embrace the Sunnis and split the overwhelmingly Sunni insurgency, the
Shia are turning against the US. Both groups, furthermore, regard the
Americans as complicit in Kurdish attempts to evict Arabs from the
ethnically mixed powder-keg of Kirkuk. Wittingly or not, the US is
deeply embroiled, and seen as part of the sectarian equation.

Iraq's neighbours, meanwhile, watching the wave of killing unleashed by
the Askariya bombing, are trying to judge whether the situation has
reached the point at which they must intervene forcefully to safeguard
their own interests - Iran behind the Shia, the Saudis and Jordanians
alongside the Sunnis, and the Turks to forestall Kurdish independence.
That would be another reprise of Lebanon, but in a bigger, more
dangerous arena.

Is there any way this diabolical dynamic can be stopped?

The religious restraints imposed by clerical leaders such as Ayatollah
Ali al-Sistani seem to have been broken by massacres, as well as the
relentless targeting of doctors and academics, pilots and engineers, on
both sides.

One great political effort is now required of Iraq and the region, and
everyone with a stake in its stability.

The core of this effort is the indispensable need for a broad-based
government of national unity, which stops treating Iraq's weak
institutions as sectarian booty and delivers Iraqis' wish to live
securely in a loose federation.

But Iraq's neighbours must be convened - in a follow-up to last autumn's
"reconciliation" conference in Cairo - to support this goal and commit
themselves to the territorial integrity of a united if federal country.
There is little time left to build bulwarks against a looming

More information about the Marxism mailing list