Wednesday, 31 January 2007

US and Iran can fight elsewhere, says Iraqi PM

Iraq already has enough troubles with sectarian violence, and the often terrorist and sometimes Iranian-backed (allegedly) insurgency against the American military occupation there is an unneeded burden. A civil war is bad enough; a proxy war would only worsen things and increase or create Iranian-backed violence.

CNN reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is telling the United States and Iran to keep their fight out of Iraq.

Whether Iran proves to be responsible for that attack or not, al-Maliki said his country cannot be a proxy battleground for Washington and Tehran.

"Iraq has nothing to do with the American-Iranian struggle, and we will not let Iran play a role against the American Army and we will not allow America to play a role against the Iranian army, and everyone should respect the sovereignty of Iraq," al-Maliki said.

The prime minister said Americans are basing their hunches about Iranian activities in Iraq on intelligence they've amassed.

The United States accuses Iran of fomenting terror attacks worldwide and pursuing a nuclear program that could lead to the development of weaponry. Iran has denied those assertions.

"We have told the Iranian and the Americans, 'We know that you have a problem with each other, but we are asking you please solve your problems outside Iraq.' We don't want the American forces to take Iraq as a field to attack Iran or Syria," the prime minister said.

Al-Maliki said Iraq doesn't want its sovereignty to be violated by any of its neighbors, which include Iran, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey.

Iraq should not be a proxy for the United States to fight its enemies on the 'axis of evil' or otherwise. The Iraq Study Group recommended the US work with Syria and Iran — two 'enemies' listed on Bush's "axis of evil" introduced in his 2002 State of the Union speech. President Bush has yet to even consider considering the rational, bipartisan advice given by the ISG.

The United States and Iran both should heed al-Maliki's words. We don't want Iraq to become anything like Afghanistan, which was torn in a proxy war between the US and Soviet Union during the Cold War. We also don't any additional strife and conflict in a nation marred by violence since the US-led 2003 invasion. Battles between Iran and America would only divide the country further and, it goes without saying, increase violence. The US wants Iraq to 'stand up'? A good first step would be to — as al-Maliki said — respect Iraq's sovereignty. The last thing Iraq needs is to become a battleground for a cause irrelevant to solving the its many troubles.

Update: Speaking of United States v. Iran, keep in mind that there have been a bunch of politicians — Republicans and Democrats — who have warned Bush against the prospects of a war with Iran. Of course, after Iraq the entire global community would be up in arms if there were prospects of a war with Iran. Knowing Bush, though, it's not out of the question. (Do not count on it happening though.)

Update 2: See this CFR report for more on Iranian involvement in Iraq.

Oh, and happy last day of the first month of the seventh year of the second millennium AD. Tomorrow is 1 February 2007.

Song stuck in my head right now: Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place”. I had "The Bends" playing in my head for much of yesterday.

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