When the obvious becomes obvious, it becomes news. The headlines in the NYT and the scuttlebutt on the political blogs is that the U.S. is trying to create an anti-Sadr coalition, centering around SCIRI, to replace the coalition that currently supports Maliki. Two months ago, on October 08, LI pointed out that the U.S. was leaning heavily towards SCIRI, and explained why:
“The last couple of weeks have seen the reintroduction of a push to ‘federalize’ Iraq – which is a long way to say, SCIRI wants to break off Southern Iraq and use its Badr brigade militia to create a state as autonomous as the Kurdish state, under SCIRI rule. Really, that means under the rule of Mohamad Baqir Al Hakim. This, it might seem at first glance, is counter to the Bush junta’s interests. After all, Hakim is notoriously close to Iran.
But in the dirty war, nothing is what it seems. From the start of the war, the idea of breaking off Southern Iraq and creating a neo-liberal slave state has been floated around as a project. The NYT’s group of reporter/propagandists were particularly dreamy about that prospect in 2003 and 2004, writing thumbsucker pieces about a Chalabi-headed Iraq ‘Singapore.’ To have a notorious thief in charge of territory right above Kuwait, this was an irresistible wet dream to the Bungalow Bill set. James Glanz, one of the worst reporters of the war so far, wrote a story on 2/27/05 with the grotesque title, “Iraq's Serene South Asks, Who Needs Baghdad?” Glanz, in wet dream mode, wrote:
“Several different versions of a southern Iraqi republic have been proposed. One would include only the three or four southernmost provinces -- Basra, Muthanna, Dhi Gar and Maysan; and another would stretch as far north as the holy city of Karbala, 50 miles from Baghdad.
The one that sparks the most interest here, though, is a Singapore-style Republic of Basra alone. Comparable in area to neighboring Kuwait, such a republic could be equally rich. With foreign investment, Ramzi asserted, its economy could overtake that of the tiny but sparkling Gulf emirate of Qatar within three years.”
With the saliva coming out of the corner of his mouth, Glanz conjured up a gentle, business friendly, Brown and Root friendly entity. One of the great things about Glanz as a reporter is that he is so invariably wrong that the article was a sign in itself – surely the war was coming South when a reporter as blind as Glanz couldn’t see it. And so it went, as into the trash went the gentle Singapore south, and out came the new, Taliban version South, envisioned by SCIRI.
Yet, SCIRI’s scheme has annexed the American military, who are presently campaigning to destroy Muqtada al-Sadr’s forces. Sadr is, of course, the enemy of SCIRI. He is also an advocate of Iraqi nationalism. And his party is as popular as or more popular than the proxy party of SCIRI’s.
Why would the Americans have become part of the scheme to break up Iraq and hand a considerable amount of territory to a Islamacist group? Well, the key is still the dreamy dream of Singapore. The South would, to this view, be a smaller, and much more easily dominated entity. And whatever SCIRI’s ties to Iran, they are a group very much interested in the money to be grafted off of privatizing oil resources – under one cover or another. The Dirty intentions of the Bush junta and the dirty intentions of the Badr brigades shake hands over their mutual interest in money money money. And the price is cheap – a few hundred American soldiers, white trash lives the president, and this country, could give a shit about. Being a bold Rebel in Chief, the president is willing to risk American flesh here if the price is right. It will cost him a pang – he’s not an unfeeling brute. Out there, toking up among the Crawford Ranch brush, he might think of the losses suffered by his guys and remind himself how tough he is, to take them. For their wounds are, metaphorically, his wounds. It is the third awakening, and we should count our blessings in getting a sub-messiah like our Bush, but as an even bigger man once said, you gotta take up your cross. And Bush’s cross is made of American and Iraqi bodies.”
LI was happy to see this kind of thinking explained, today, by Josh Marshall, who back in 2003 was a liberal half-a-hawk and thus privy to the important shit going down in the important D.C. circles.
"The folks who brought you the Iraq War have always been weak in the knees for a really whacked-out vision of a Shi'a-US alliance in the Middle East. I used to talk to a lot of these folks before I became persona non grata. So here's basically how the theory went and, I don't doubt, still goes ... We hate the Saudis and the Egyptians and all the rest of the standing Arab governments. But the Iraqi Shi'a were oppressed by Saddam. So they'll like us. So we'll set them up in control of Iraq. You might think that would empower the Iranians. But not really. The mullahs aren't very powerful. And once the Iraqi Shi'a have a good thing going with us. The Iranians are going to want to get in on that too. So you'll see a new government in Tehran. Plus, big parts of northern Saudi Arabia are Shi'a too. And that's where a lot of the oil is. So they'll probably want to break off and set up their own pro-US Shi'a state with tons of oil. So before you know it, we'll have Iraq, Iran, and a big chunk of Saudi Arabia that is friendly to the
US and has a ton of oil. And once that happens we can tell the Saudis to f$#% themselves once and for all.”