01 July 2006

Strikes Me As Awfully 'Regional'...

Iranian fighters captured after fighting Iraqi forces near Baghdad (via Reuters):

Iraqi and U.S. troops battled Shi'ite militiamen in a village northeast of Baghdad on Thursday, and witnesses and police said U.S. helicopters bombed orchards to flush out gunmen hiding there.

Iraqi security officials said Iranian fighters had been captured in the fighting, in which a sniper shot dead the commander of an Iraqi quick reaction force and two of his men. They did not say how the Iranians had been identified.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but this rather seems to indicate that the Iraqi insurgency isn't so much a purely domestic concern, notwithstanding the fact that the recently-neutralized Abu Musab al-Zarqawi hailed from Jordan, which is, as far as I'm aware, outside Iraq. Pardon me for saying so, but anybody that tries to claim that other powers in the region aren't meddling within Iraq should really yank their heads back out of the sand... As Sachi at Big Lizards points out:

[T]he Iranian deception is coming unraveled. With every passing month, it becomes clearer that Iran is directly trying to seize control of the Shiite areas of Iraq... and harder for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei to pretend otherwise, even to "impartial" European observers.

Sachi also points out a hole in the Reuters story as pertains to the method(s) used to identify the Iranian fighers:

Uh... perhaps because they spoke Arabic with a Persian accent and were carrying Iranian identification cards? Really, doesn't Reuters suspect that Iraqi Arabs can identify Persians in their midst? They really are very different in language, culture, and even food.

The burgeoning democracy in Iraq poses one of the greatest possible threats to the autocratic/mullahcratic governments (the latter term having been invented, I believe by Michael Ledeen at National Review—dunno if this link is the first instance or not) in the region: a first-hand example to the populations of Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia that it's possible to go from being under the oppressive thumb of a totalitarian government to having the purple thumbs of a democratic vote. Thus, these nations have a huge stake in seeing the Iraqi people fail and are putting (what I presume to be) a huge amount of effort into attempts to destabilize Iraq. In the end, I don't believe they will succeed—I expect Iraq will settle over time into a functional (inasmuch as democracy actually seems to "get things done") nation, making significant material contributions to the world stage, both ideologically and economically.

I don't know that the Iraqi example alone will ultimately result in the exchange of surrounding governments for democracies, but it certainly will have some effect, ostensibly positive (from our perspective). And, whatever the actual consequences and repercussions, a more democratic Middle East, while perhaps never being on swimmingly good terms with us or with Israel, is (I suspect) far less likely to be a breeding ground for violence directed our way.

And that, AFAIC (as far as I'm concerned), is a good thing.

(H/T: Captain's Quarters)

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