[lit-ideas] Re: The winner has already been selected?

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 23:55:37 -0800

Andreas:  I agree with most of what you have written here.  I wouldn't go as
far as you do and say there won't be a democracy in Iraq, but I have strong
doubts that there will.  Only Turkey has had a viable democracy in the
region and they have maintained it only as a result of their military
stepping in whenever their constitution was violated - much as our Supreme
Court does.  So if that's the only way a democracy will work in Iraq, who
will step in when their constitution is violated?  

I think we will hang around for awhile, but at some point some Iraqi
government will say that Iraq doesn't need us any longer and we will leave.


You asked who the insurgents are.  I watched part of a C-Span discussion
last night and a couple of experts thought that Iraq was becoming the new
training ground for Islamist warriors much like what occurred in Afghanistan
prior to 1989.  Experts had evidence that some Muslims were leaving Europe
to join the insurgents in Iraq.  The indication was that any Muslim from any
place in the world would be welcomed by the insurgents.  My first thought
was that if these experts are right, there is a difference between what
happened prior to 1989 in Afghanistan and what is happening in Iraq now.  In
1989 the US was satisfied when the USSR was defeated and didn't hang around.
We never had an army on the ground in Afghanistan at the time.  But now, the
insurgents are coming to Iraq to gain their battle experience against the
U.S. Marines.  There may not be as many battle-hardened Islamist warriors
returning to such places as Europe as the experts think there will.


I definitely agree with your comments about France and Germany.  Although in
a discussion last night I listened to Der Spiegel's American rep express his
pessimism about Germany.  He seemed to feel that Germany's 9/11 was just a
matter of time.  Holland endured their 9/11 when Van Gogh was assassinated
and since then they have introduced legislation that someone described as
making our Patriot act look like Kumbaya. 


Lawrence Helm

San Jacinto 


-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Andreas Ramos
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2004 10:54 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: The winner has already been selected?


From: "Phil Enns" <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxxxx>


> I agree with the Bush

> administration that it matters less who wins and more that the

> democratic system gets up and running.


There will not be a democracy because none of the three major ethnic
factions want a 

democracy because each of them stands to lose in such a structure.


> I don't see why a

> Shiite cleric in power is necessarily a problem and I don't think the

> Bush administration is in principle opposed to such an outcome.


Oh, Phil, if you would only read something about the situation, instead of

theorectical statements about principles.


About 60% of the population is Shiite. That means if there is an open vote,
the Shiite win. 

Which guarantees a civil war, because the Sunni, who have been traditionally
in power, would 

lose. The Kurds would also lose. So the Shiite can win the election, but
they can't control 

the other two factions.


What's at stake? Hundreds of billions in oil money. If one faction gets the
oil, the other 

two get only sand.


The Kurds want their own state. That would cause the breakup of Iraq. But if
the Kurds 

estabish a state, Turkey attacks the Kurds, because a Kurdish state on their
border would 

incite the Kurds within Turkey to start a separationist movement.


Iran would love to seize some oil fields as well. There's that Iraq/Iran War



The only way for Iraq to stay stable would be some sort of power-sharing,
quasi federation. 

But none of the players are stable enough to develop such a plan or stay in
such an 

arrangement. (Actually, the Kurds probably could, but they're too small to


A good question is who are the insurgents? Are they a general anti-USA
jihad? Are these 

various different groups, all fighting the USA? Are some of these ex-Saddam
Baathists? Are 

they angry Iraqi, looking for revenge? Are they patriots, seeking to
liberate their country? 

Where is the money, food, supplies, information, training, etc., coming
from? The White 

House and the media doesn't discuss that very much.


> I would just add that it is virtually unthinkable that the US

> would not maintain some military presence in Iraq.


The US certainly wants to stay there (they built 14 large military bases),
but an Iraqi 

government that has popular support will ask the USA to leave.


> If the Iraqi people want civil war, what business is it of the US?


Oh, let's see... second largest reserves of oil, total collapse of a
volatile region, the 

catastrophic effects on the West if the oil supplies were to be cut off, the
danger of oil 

switching to Euros, Iraq becoming fundamentalist, a fundamentalist Iraq with
billions could 

easily buy nuclear weapons... any one of those, several of those, very
likely several of 



That's why an Iraqi civil war would be a disaster on the beaches of Iowa and
the coffee 

houses of Toronto.


> And if things move towards civil war, surely the most

> logical intervention would be from the UN.  With the US out of Iraq I am

> sure we can count on the French and Germans to lead the way.


Once again, Phil reaches for arguments divorced from reality.


Would UN, France, or Germany intervene?


Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the region knows it is extremely
unstable, with very 

powerful actors pushing their various agendas. The Saudi, India, Pakistan,
Russia, and 

Turkey are all on the edge of war over the region. Three of those have
nuclear weapons. 

Israel, armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, is in middle of it. What
kind of idiot 

would drive an army into the middle of such a mess? Well, okay, asides from


An Iraqi civil war could turn into a free-for-all land grab (okay, oil
grab). And that could 

turn into a nuclear exchange very quickly.


Phil, that's why Germany and France won't lead the way.


The only country that could have kept the region from going at each other's
throats would 

have been the USA, but the USA has lost so much credibility that it can't
take on that role 



If you noticed in the news today, Putin and Singh, of Russia and India, made
a sharp 

denouncement of US policies in the Middle East. They say the USA should stop

Islamic terrorists. And they're right. Namely, the USA supports Pakistan,
and Pakistan arms, 

trains, and directs the jihad in Kashmir and the former Soviet republics,
incl. Chechnya.







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