Iraq: Everybody’s pawn

Iraq: Everybody’s pawn

: Iraq is a mined chessboard with outsiders — American left and right, Europeans, Saudis, Palestinians, and on and on — all playing the big pieces while Iraqis are everybody’s pawns. Iraq is at the center of political fights all over the globe but we hardly hear from the Iraqis.

So consider these related posts today. As they say on This American Life, our story today is in four acts:

: ACT I: AN IRAQI BLOGS: Ali writes another remarkable post about everybody else in the world speaking for — and killing and killing for — Iraqis but we don’t hear from Iraqis themselves. He laughs at a huge demonstration organized by Hezbollah in Lebanon “protesting against the ‘violations’ of the American army in the holy cities of Najaf and Kerballa” while in Iraq…

Despite some alleged “Fatwas” and few speeches about

  • button

    Sadly enough, one blogger at CryMeARiverbend gave up and quit supposedly because of Death Threats. I am horrified by this. Even if a blogger is obnoxious, no one is forcing you to read them. Just click the x and go elsewhere.

  • Jeff,
    I think posting on Iraq now and ignoring the Chalabi/Iran link is unconscionable. It appears the US was manipulated by a foreign intelligence service into believing there were WMDs in Iraq. Therefore since WMD was then the immediate rationale for war,Iran manipulated the US into this war and into toppling Saddam Hussein. I think its worth a little time to consider that. Iran is certainly a major player on the ground in Iraq manipulating public opinion through clerics!

  • Reid

    Jayme, the allegation that Chalabi colluded with the Iranian mullahs is ridiculous on its face. Don’t be so anxious to paint things in a bad light. That’s what leads major newspapers like the Boston Globe to end up with egg all over their faces when the allegations get proven untrue.

  • theron

    The Iranians have acknowledged that they have had ongoing “conversations” with Chalabi, so I wouln’t agree that the collusion allegation is quite so ridiculous.

  • Reid

    Well, we’ve had ongoing conversations with the Iranians, too and for many years extending through several administrations. Does that mean we’ve been passing top secret info to them? Do you believe that the future leaders of Iraq should completely wall themselves off to conversations with their nearest and most powerful neighbors?
    It is premature to act as judge and jury in this case, especially for ordinary folks such as we who are not clued in to all the behind-the-scenes drama playing out here. Is it too much to ask to wait until all the evidence is in and not jump to conclusions?

  • lefty redux

    Is it unfair to ask at this point why Chalabi was “fired” and the payments to the INC cut off?
    Josh Marshall and Laura Rozen have offered careful and detailed (but still contingent) analysis to the serious reader. Check them out, Reid.

  • button

    I feel like no one’s analysis would satisfy me at this point. Another $64 question is: what’s happened to Kenan Makeiyah and all those Makabarat files or somesuch? Haven’t they implicitly accused Kenan of exploiting those files for larcenous purposes? So how does Kenan feel about being painted like that?

  • A hand for Jeff in pulling all that together and making perfect sense of it all– with links. *Applause.* Terrific post. And it’s so true: we’re not hearing from the Iraqi’s, but we could…
    Jeff: Maybe you should become a long form blogger. Between your Daily Sterns–gotta be 1,000+ words every time–and this, some of your best stuff… :)

  • Insufficiently Sensitive

    As for the puppies in the ‘mainstream’ media, all holed up snug in Baghdad, insulated by fear from venturing into the real world, and reporting their mutual gossip to us as ‘news’: let us rub their puppy noses in Iraqi blogs to larn ’em a lesson or two, and change their insular habits.

  • Tim

    If you want to learn what Iraqis think, you might try learning Arabic.

  • Mark

    Mr. Jarvis keeps the media revolution rolling along. It just may kill your day job, sir, but it will create millions of others. I’m confident you are well-positioned to stay afloat.

  • Thanks for highlighting our site. We will certainly be adding more links as they’re brought to our attention.

  • bob

    Ali has always seemed like a spy to me. A bit too on the Bush side. How does he explain Sadr’s popularity in the polls? That a majority of Iraqis view themselves as being occupied and want the U.S. to go home?
    Even if he (or anyone else) thinks the polls are flawed, it still goes to show that one supposed Iraqi blogger does not speak for all Iraqis either.

  • “It appears the US was manipulated by a foreign intelligence service into believing there were WMDs in Iraq. Therefore since WMD was then the immediate rationale for war,Iran manipulated the US into this war and into toppling Saddam Hussein.”
    If you read the Kay report, Saddam had enough equipment and percursors to make all sorts of WMDs, most of which he never declared to the UN. So WMDs were one reason among many, and whether he had huge stockpiles of them or had the means to start up production in a hurry is immaterial. The guy was dangerous.
    One other reason for invading Iraq was that not only did he have lots of WMD material floating around, he had Islamist terrorists wandering in and out. This was Kay’s main worry, that Saddam was more dangerous than he had thought because the material was not well-guarded and could be lifted by various terrorists. Then there was the humanitarian motive, which was our only motive for invading the Balkans, without UN permission, so why would that suddenly not be a good reason here? And there are about 10 other reasons all of which have been enumerated by Bush at various times.
    The WMD issue was taken to the UN because the UN had already repeatedly censured Iraq for not coming clean on its WMDs. The UN also thought he had them. In any case, whether he had them was not the legal issue for the UN, but whether he was complying with the inspectors sufficiently to verify that he didn’t, which he was not.

  • PS Also, why would the mullahs want us to invade the country right next to theirs, take it over, occupy it with over 100,000 troops, and start trying to turn it into a liberal democracy? Not in their best interests, is it?

  • Jeff,
    If you want to learn what Iraqis think, you might try learning Arabic.
    Tim’s blogroll includes TalkLeft, Kathryn “Fruitcake” Cramer, TruthOut, Lisa Rein, et al. Yawn.
    Hey, Tim, to apply your logic to a pet peeve of mine, if the mainstream media were really intersted in reporting fairly about Israel and not just acting as mouthpieces for Arafat, shouldn’t they learn Hebrew, not just Arabic?