Though supposedly a translation from al-Maliki’s Arabic, there is nothing about this article — nothing at all – that reminds one of Arabic style, in thought or language. How stupid do the American propagandists who concocted this kind of thing think we are? And are the grotesque and obvious echoes of Lincoln meant to fool us?
This is of a piece with the efforts of Condoleeza Rice and George Bush to convince us that the new “Iraqi Constitution” –the one that tells us that no law can stand that violates Islam, and which makes the highest law of the land not that same Constitution, but rather the Shari’a, as embodying in law the meaning of Qur’an and Sunnah — was just like the American Constitution, and the framers of that Constitution (thrusting young academic Noah Feldman flauntingly among them) just like the Framers in Philadelphia.
No analogy between the greatest figures in American or Western political history has been too grotesque for this desperate Administration. It appears to be unable to think clearly, because it refuses to go back and study Islam, and from that study to proceed to study the real Iraq, the Iraq whose history has been one, as Elie Kedourie has noted, of uninterrupted violence and aggression, and palace coups and plots.
The Shia now run Iraq. Or rather, they run Baghdad, they run Basra, they run the entire south. They don’t need Anbar Province. They don’t need the Sunnis. They have been steadily emptying Baghdad of Sunnis — the Sunni Arabs who constituted at least one-third of the population of Baghdad just four years ago are down to 15%, and falling every day. Baghdad, the most important center of High Islamic Civilization, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate for 400 years, from roughly 850-1250 (for the first 100 years the capital was in Samarra, 60 miles to the north on the Tigris, with its celebrated, guggenheimish Mawliye), is now, and forever will be, Shi’a-controlled. This is something that the Sunnis will not “get over” — as Rice famously said about the enmity between Sunnis and Shi’a: “they’ll just have to overcome it.” This is a remark similar to that sometimes made, in ignorant exasperation, about that Arab-Israeli matter. Yet that too is not, I’m afraid, a question of “getting over it,” for the Arabs will never ever “get over it.” They, can, however, be held in check. That is a different thing. They can be held in check while the Infidel world, far beyond little Israel, and for its own purposes, works steadily to chip away at the economic and military power of Islam.
This article by Maliki is so comical a production that one should not be angry, but rather pleased, that it has been put up. It invites ridicule. And it will get it.
And amid that ridicule, do not forget: again and again Maliki has shown an indifference to American desires. He was preparing some months ago to offer amnesty to those “insurgents” who had killed “only” American soldiers, until an outcry in this country forced the Bush Administration to tell him he couldn’t do it. He expects the Americans to fight and die for his regime, a regime like the previous one prepared to soak the Americans for all they are worth, all the billions they can provide. And how many former high Iraqi officials siphoned off how many billions, paid for by American taxpayers, most of whom will never know the high life now to be enjoyed for the rest of their lives by those “Iraqi” patriots who made out like gangbusters on American aid, and are now living it up outside Iraq, or in Europe, possibly attending the same defiles on the Avenue Montaigne as Suha Arafat?
Maliki is not, and cannot be, a “friend of America.” He is willing to endure the American presence only so long as it strengthens him, and weakens the Sunni insurgents. And the Sunnis, in turn, or those not in the immediate “insurgency,” may now want the Americans to stay for the same reasons — in order to protect them from the full force of the Shi”a. That’s it. The Administration refuses to understand this, and keeps making policy based on hope, and on all the Unrepresentative Men (Chalabi, Allawi, Makiya, and the tiny group of semi-decent mid-level former Iraqi officers who have unduly impressed American officers, and thus lead them to all kinds of rosy misconceptions and hopes, but are in fact the rare exceptions, not the rule) that were in exile, or have tried with this or that group of soldiers or policemento do the impossible in Iraq, which is to make them drop their sectarian and ethnic and even tribal allegiances. Simply cannot be done.
Why is this hard to understand? What is so complicated about it?