Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Axis Winner?

The Moose wonders if Teheran is worried or triumphant.

Seymour Hersh's New Yorker piece about preparation for a U.S. attack on Iran has caused quite a stir. A confrontation with Iran in the next few years appears almost inevitable. Hopefully, there will be a diplomatic resolution, because the Bushies have made great "progress" in decimating our military.

The Moose has always believed that Iran was a far greater danger to the United States than Iraq. As the 9-11 Commission report confirmed, the Ayatollahs in Teheran have more significant ties to Al Qaeda than did Saddam in Baghdad. Iran's long relationship to international terrorism is widely known. And there is an international consensus that Iran is actively developing nuclear weapons.

Iraq was the low-hanging fruit and that was the first target. However, because the post-war period was so badly handled, the Bushies may have strengthened the most feared and dangerous member of the Axis of Evil.

Or, perhaps it is inevitable that a Iraqi Shia majority would be sympathetic to a fellow Shiite state. In any event, because Iraq's borders were never sealed, Iranian agents have aggressively infiltrated the Shia south. Some suggest, though, that our Shia are fundamentally different than their Shia. It should be noted that Ayatollah Khomeini was also once thought to be a moderate who was influenced by Western ideas.

Some of our major allies in the neighborhood are concerned about a Shia ascendancy. This report appeared in Saturday's New York Post,

"Iraq's impending elections threaten to create a Shiite axis that will bring Iranian extremism to Baghdad and endanger the Mideast.

"That's the warning of both Israelis and Jordan's King Abdullah, who recently tried and failed to convince the United States to postpone the Jan. 30 vote.

"Israel's chief of military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi, said there may not be a clear winner in the election, "but the direction Iraq is heading to is becoming the first Arab Shiite state."

"That's ominous because the Shiite theology emanating from Qom in Iran is extremist compared with that of Iraq's holy places Najaf and Karbala, and Iran will try to turn Iraq toward the more "aggressive" form of Islam, he said.

"The Iranian mullahs, led by Ayatollah Ali Khameni and Sheik Nasrallah "are trying to infiltrate Iraq, like they did in Lebanon, using schools, money and preaching," he told The Post and the French diplomatic journal Politique Internationale. "

It would be tragically ironic if the Iraq elections on January 30 began a process that widened the sphere of influence of the world's primary supporter of terror. It's good that Saddam is gone. But, we should have no illusions that a democratic republic that is friendly to our interests is a guaranteed or even a likely outcome.

We are finding out that liberals are not the only ones who can fall victim to good intentions and utopian illusions.
-- Posted at 8:11 AM | Link to this post | Email this post