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Bush’s Pigheaded Legacy on Iraq

Bush’s Pigheaded Legacy on Iraq

By José María Rodríguez González

Mr. Bush’s nonsensical and stubborn strategy fueled Iraq’s civil war and now, to make things worse, he has joined it. The insane part of Mr. Bush’s new desperate plan to foster his legacy is that he has ended up supporting Iran’s strategy in the region--which is to have a hegemonic Shiite government in Iraq. Iran’s interest is to crush the Baathist insurgency in Baghdad and the Anbar Province in order to eliminate the most serious threat to establishing a stable Shiite government and shatter their influence in the region.

To successfully accomplish this strategy Mr. Maliki included the free ride of U.S. troops in his scheme. To make it look democratic, a small profile of Mehdi army and attacking peripheral Shiite militias are very smart moves. On the other hand, Mr. Bush has seen his inept strategy in Iraq fall to pieces and with them the sinking of his legacy.

With less than two years to save his legacy, Mr. Bush has concluded that if he consolidates Mr. al-Maliki’s government, Shiite power, then a secure Iraq will emerge that will support Mr. Bush’s populist economic plan and, finally, Mr. Bush will be able to demonstrate to the world that he was right and that democracy does work in the Middle East. Mr. Bush’s plan is a masterpiece, except for few details:

Mr. Bush wants to assure everyone, as usual, that he will impose security in Iraq with a minuscule increase of 21.000 American troops. Adding a couple of neighborhoods to the green zone in Baghdad won’t do the trick. A similar type of democracy exists in Afghanistan, where Mr. Karzai governs in Kabul, while the rest of the country is under drug-, war- and Taliban lords. What a pitiful victory is Mr. Bush settling for.

Beyond Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan won’t be too happy with the hegemonic power of the Shiites and the strength of Iranian influence in the region. The Kurds, will just finish the last touches of their independence, but then Turkey won’t be too happy that the Kurds have magnetized the union of all Kurds in the area, which also calls again for the power of Iran in the region to issue its own Kurdish problem. At this point the Iraqi Shiite won’t hesitate to exercise their power in

keeping the Kurds under control in Iraq, if they can. What all these clashing forces will do to each other is a worse picture than the civil war that caused them. What is Mr. Bush thinking?

Mr. Bush is using the same media tactics of fear he used prior to going to war against Iraq--this time the line is that if the U.S. leaves Iraq, a power vacuum will be created and the terrorists will fill it with a victory that will catastrophically terminate the world’s peace. Is it true? The civil war developed in the face of the coalition forces, or not? The thing that only quarter million American troops could do would be to play civil war in slow motion.

The reason for this is because the Sunnis can only obtain any real power in Iraq if they win the civil war and the Shiite won’t settle for less than Shiite hegemonic power. If the U.S. leaves Iraq, the Shiite will loose all the support that is keeping their government from crumbling and a compromise with the Sunnis will become a political priority, which will set the ground for a peaceful settlement and the elimination of the civil war. Leaving Iraq is bad for terrorists, because all Iraqis have to face their own destiny by themselves and a united Iraq is best for all Iraqis, no terrorism.

The U.S. military presence in Iraq fosters the existence and growth of the insurgency, on one hand, and guaranties the consolidation of Shiite power on the other. Wouldn’t be better for the U.S. to eliminate both threats and offer full economic support to a united Iraq? Mr. Bush only wanted to create a historical signature with his government, a weakness that the neocones found to be a perfect catalyzer for their colonial ambitions. To fulfill his ego Mr. Bush didn’t think twice to put American soldiers in harms ways once, but now he is doing it again with his new “surge”. His troop increase is almost 4 years late and he has done this at the time when we should be leaving Iraq. Someone should wake Mr. Bush’s up because his dreams do not match the reality on the ground. The surge is the U.S. inserting itself into the Iraqi civil war. Mr. Bush can call it any way he wants, U.S. is in it.

************

José María Rodríguez González (Colombian-American political scientist and U.S. foreign policy researcher.)

ENDS


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