Colonial mentality

Tariq Ali writes in the Guardian about the disastrous Iraqi occupation and all-important Iranian connection. Australian journalists, care to ask John Howard about this? No, didn’t think so. You’d much prefer hyping up the “imminent” threat posed by Tehran.

Back to Ali:

“The argument that withdrawal will lead to civil war is slightly absurd, since the occupation has already accelerated and exacerbated ethnic and religious tensions in Iraq. Divide and rule is the deadly logic of colonial rule – and signs that the US is planning an exit strategy coupled with a long-term presence is evident in the new Iraqi constitution, pushed through by US proconsul Zalmay Khalilzad. This document is a defacto division of Iraq into Kurdistan (a US-Israeli protectorate), Southern Iraq (dominated by Iran) and the Sunni badlands (policed by semi-reliable ex-Baathists under state department and Foreign Office tutelage). What is this if not an invitation to civil war?

“The occupation has also created a geopolitical mess. Recent events in Basra are linked to a western fear of Iranian domination. Having encouraged Moqtada al-Sadr’s militias to resist the slavishly pro-Iranian faction, why are the British surprised when they demand real independence?

“The Iranian mullahs, meanwhile, are chuckling – literally. Some months ago, when the Iranian vice-president visited the United Arab Emirates for a regional summit, he was asked by the sheikhs whether he feared a US intervention in Iran. The Iranian leader roared with laughter: “Without us, the US could never have occupied Afghanistan or Iraq. They know that and we know that invading Iran would mean they would be driven out of those two countries.””

Ali concludes by reminding us that England can no longer call itself a representative democracy:

“He [Tony Blair] was re-elected with only 35 % of the popular vote and barely a fifth of the overall electorate – the lowest percentage secured by any governing party in recent European history. Britain is undergoing a crisis of representation: a majority of the population opposed the war in Iraq; a majority favours withdrawing British troops; 66% believe that the attacks on London were a direct result of Blair’s decision to send troops to Iraq.”

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