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Monday, April 03, 2006

"I hope they kill each other."

That's a quote from Herr Doktor Henry Kissinger about the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's. If you are looking for consistency in US policy in the Persian Gulf region in the last 30 years, that would be it. As Condiliar and the Strawman flew off to Baghdad, desperately trying to overthrow the government elected by the purple fingers back in December, things could appear to be a bit confused. We're now in the fourth year of a war fought, at least according to one of the lies, to free the Iraqi people from the tyranny of a despot. This meant, it would seem, that the Shiite majority would take power.

But the US has a long history of backing the underdog in the Sunni-Shiite game--not out of any love for the underdog, but simply to keep the carnage going. Before 1979, we supported and armed the Shah of Iran. When he was overthrown by Shiite fundamentalists, we turned objectively pro-Sunni, backing Iraq's newly-installed Saddam Hussein. The Carter administration encouraged him to attack Iraq, which he did, and the Reagan administration followed up by supplying Iraq with billions of dollars in military aid (including WMD's). This was anti-Shiite in two ways: Attacking Shiite-run and dominated Iran, and enabling Saddam to tighten his stranglehold on the Shiite majority in his own country.

Shortly after the war ended, Bush Senior turned the tables, suckering Saddam into attacking Kuwait and then turning the full force of the US military against him. The Gulf War might be seen as being pro-Shiite, since it had the effect of weakening Saddam's military and his standing in the country. But as soon as he withdrew from Kuwait and the war ostensibly ended, Bush Senior moved to screw the Shiites once again--calling for them to rise up and overthrow Saddam, but then abandoning them as Saddam killed tens of thousands of Shiites who responded to Bush's call. The 12 years of sanctions were generally anti-Iraqi, but almost certainly did more harm to Shiites than Sunnis. The current war would seem to be pro-Shiite, having removed Saddam from power and installed the Shiite Allawi as the first puppet (with fellow Shiite Chalabi pulling many of the strings). This of course was followed by the "elections" last year, which led to a constitution favorable to the Shiites and a Shiite-dominated parliament. There have been numerous assaults on Sunni areas like Fallujah, although there was a major assault on Shiite-dominated Najaf in 2004 as well.

And now, as the Shiites are poised to exploit their election triumph, Kalilzad and Rice are trying frantically to make sure that they can't.

It all seems terribly inconsistent, unless you consider that every time the U.S. has changed sides in this ongoing insanity, it has resulted in more death, more destruction, and has weakened both Iraq and Iran. And that, I'm afraid, has been the whole point.