Thursday, December 20, 2007


As always, democracy is on the march in Iraq:

On Tuesday, the Bush administration and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pushed a resolution through the U.N. Security Council extending the mandate that provides legal cover for foreign troops to operate in Iraq for another year.

The move violated both the Iraqi constitution and a law passed earlier this year by the Iraqi parliament -- the only body directly elected by all those purple-finger-waving Iraqis in 2005 -- and it defied the will of around 80 percent of the Iraqi population.

Earlier in the week, a group representing a majority of lawmakers in Iraq's parliament -- a group made up of Sunni, Shiite and secular leaders -- sent a letter to the Security Council, a rough translation of which reads: "We reject in the strongest possible terms the unconditional renewal of the mandate and ask for clear mechanisms to obligate all foreign troops to completely withdrawal from Iraq according to an announced timetable."

We don't know if it was even read by members of the Security Council, but we do know that it, like previous communications from the Iraqi legislature, was completely ignored.
What this story reveals, again, is that U.S. "interests" -- that is, the interests of the U.S. foreign policy elite -- which include establishing a permanent foothold in the Middle East and exerting influence over the political and economic course Iraq takes in the future, are paramount, and that any talk of democratizing missions or "liberating Iraqis" has never been more than political theater.

The renewal is the latest in a string of instances in which the Bush administration and its allies in Iraq's executive branch have shut down a nonviolent, political avenue for Iraqi citizens to resist the presence of foreign troops in their country. By denying them those avenues, Bush and Maliki have effectively done what they accuse advocates of withdrawal of doing: "emboldening" violent insurgents and getting more innocent Iraqis and more U.S. troops killed.
And yet the chorus in the US will continue: "Damn ungrateful Arabs. They're just not suited for freedom and democracy."