Friday, July 29, 2005

Next year in Tehran?

In a wise piece, based on actual knowlege and observation, Peter Galbraith makes a strong case that US-led invasion of Iraq has benefited Iranian interests above those of any other outside players (Iraq: Bush's Islamic Republic).

He recommends that the Bush administration should:

"...draw the line at allowing a Shiite theocracy to establish control over all of Iraq. This requires a drastic change of strategy. Building powerful national institutions in Iraq serves the interest of one group—today it is the Shiites—at the expense of the others, and inevitably produces conflict and instability. Instead, the administration should concentrate on political arrangements that match the reality in Iraq. This means a loose confederation in which each of Iraq's communities governs itself, and is capable of defending itself."

"Stability" in Iraq - in the sense of a climate in which business can be done and oil production increased - looks like a US interest as conventionally defined (see Reconstructing Iraq: Bringing Iraq's Economy Back Online by Gal Luft
) . But do the US administration and its close allies think this is achievable without taking on Iran?

"So far", writes Galbraith, "the Bush administration seems surprisingly untroubled by the influence in Baghdad of a country to which it has shown unrelenting hostility".

Is this because the administration has other plans? If so, who is driving these plans and what form are they likely to take? Or - notwithstanding all that's been said about nuclear weapons - can the US reach a modus vivendi with the Iranian regime?

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