March 10, 2008

WE are always weak, THEY are always strong...

If you are peeved by that certain sort of pundit who opines endlessly that Iran is becoming preeminent and unstoppable in its region, and that Iraq is falling under Iranian sway—or maybe is already an Iranian client state....well, you must read A'jad's Endless Iraq Debacle, by Amir Taheri.

I found it grimly hilarious.

March 8, 2008 -- IT had been billed as a "triumph" for the Islamic Republic and "a slap in the face of the American Great Satan." However, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's two-day state visit to Iraq last weekend showed the limits of Iranian influence in the newly liberated country.

Weeks of hard work by Iranian emissaries and pro-Iran elements in Iraq were supposed to ensure massive crowds thronging the streets of Baghdad and throwing flowers on the path of the visiting Iranian leader. Instead, no more than a handful of Iraqis turned up for the occasion. The numbers were so low that the state-owned TV channels in Iran decided not to use the footage at all. Instead, much larger crowds gathered to protest Ahmadinejad's visit....

...The visit's highlight was supposed to be a pilgrimage to Karbala and Najaf, the "holiest" of Shiite cities in Iraq. There, Ahmadinejad was supposed to become the first Iranian government leader since 1976 to pray at the mausoleums of Imam Hussein and Imam Ali.

In the end, however, the tour was canceled amid reports that Shiite pilgrims, including thousands from Iran, were planning to demonstrate against his presence at the "holy" cities.

A more important reason motivated Ahmadinejad to drop his planned visits to Najaf - his failure to arrange an encounter with the leading ayatollahs of the "holy" city, especially Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Sistani, the leading Shiite clergyman. For a president who claims that he's the standard-bearer of a global Shiite revolution, that was one photo-op to die for....[There's plenty more].

Perfect.

Actually, the idea that Iran is destined to hold sway over Iraq has always been really stupid. The Iranian government is only tenuously in charge of Iran. There's a certain mind-set that always assumes that WE have problems and weaknesses, but our enemies don't. Perhaps it's just because they don't believe in anything they can't actually see.

And the same people always assume that Iraq must be weaker than Iran, since Iraq is our ally. Actually, over the long haul elected governments are always stronger than tyrannies. They take much longer to decide to act, but when they do they can act decisively. And they are normally stronger economically. Democracies tend to be peace-loving, but when they are roused to war they are very dangerous.

Posted by John Weidner at March 10, 2008 10:31 AM
Weblog by John Weidner