WHERE are the Americans?” Talk to Iraqis in Baghdad these days, and you’ll likely hear the question.
Of course, everyone knows where the Americans are physically. The 130,000 US troops cantoned in a diminishing number of barracks outside the cities make their presence felt on occasion. The thousands of civilian Americans who are helping build a new Iraq are also easy to spot.
The question refers to the United States’ fast-fading political profile.
Those who deem Iraq as the biggest US foreign-policy success in decades are baffled by Washington’s determined efforts to deny that reality — indeed, whenever possible, to try to undermine it.
Having labeled Iraq the “bad war” as opposed to the “good war” in Afghanistan, the Obama administration has tried to minimize its commitment to the newly liberated nation. President Obama has appointed special envoys on the Middle East, Iran and the Afghanistan-Pakistan tandem, but refuses to name a senior coordinator for Iraq policy. The Iraqis feel that the administration is treating them as a stepchild — perhaps tolerated, but never loved.
That perception affects political calculations across the board. With the US air-blowing itself out of the picture, Iran and a bloc of conservative Arab states are positioning themselves for a duel focused on next January’s general election.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan are promoting a coalition of Sunni Islamist groups, Arab tribal chiefs and remnants of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, with the hope of producing a new Iraqi regime closer to their traditional and ultimately undemocratic systems.
Such a regime’s emergence in Baghdad could be a major setback for Iraq’s democratic aspirations and a blow to freedom movements across the Mideast, especially neighboring Iran. In contrast, a democratic Iraq could become a model for the region’s despotic regimes.
The article goes into detail on the new Iranian tactic of gaining more influence in Iraq. A very serious threat and one that shouldn’t be ignored. So far the Iranian backed candidates have been beaten back at the polls but how much longer will that last especially if the United States becomes ambivalent over the results. All that blood, sweat and tears shed will be for naught if we let this go down the drain now.
The Iraqi’s are hoping for a dream ticket to come into being. A coalition of Maliki’s party, Allawi’s party “Iraqi Alliance” and the main Kurdish party.
Such a government could also win support from the As-Sahwa (Awakening) Movement, the principal Arab-Sunni group now courted by despotic Arab regimes. Such a broad coalition would be capable of warding off pressure from both Iran and the Arab despotic bloc.
Such a coalition, though, regarded by many Iraqis as a “dream ticket,” won’t form without strong, explicit American support.
But 52% of the people elected a man who cares little about Iraq. A successful Democracy in the middle east won by the United States.
“Why are the Americans throwing away our common victory?” asks Iraqi journalist Maad Fayad. “It is absurd for [the Obama administration] to base its policy on Iraq on a weird desire to prove that Bush was wrong.”
Beyond absurd. It’s an ignorant policy based on petty emotions from a man who doesn’t know how to lead, nor does he want to learn how.
After 1975 and the way the Democrats denied promised aid to South Vietnam….I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.
Still sad and pathetic tho.