Sunday, July 30, 2006

Chris Matthews Says Bush Policy Has Created A "Shia Crescent" Across The Middle East

All dominated by Iran of course. And it all it cost was the lives of 2,578 American military personnel (and counting), the lives of 50,000 Iraqi civilians (and counting) and $300 billion dollars (and counting.) Think Progress has the money quote from The Chris Matthews Show this morning:

MATTHEWS: Two years ago, King Abdullah of Jordan warned me of what was coming in the mideast. His prediction was dead. He spoke of his fears and what the United States was doing in Iraq, toppling one government, electing another, was creating what he called a shi’ia crescent, from Tehran through Baghdad to Beirut that threatened to dominate the Arab world, challenging modern Sunni governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and others with an axis of Shia power based in Iran.

When I look at the map today, that Shia crescent the King foretold has come to light. It is hard for us westerners to understand the internal politics of another region when we can’t predict whether the Democrats will take congress from the Republicans three months from now, how could we see the Shi’ia grabbing the high ground from the Sunni in the mideast three years ago? That’s what happened. We converted Iraq from a country which has fought revolutionary Iran for eight years to a bloody stand still to a Shia dominated ally of Iran and created a boulevard of common religion and common regional politics.

Did you hear the new Iraqi leader take sides with Hezbollah in a struggle with Israel? This is the emerging threat, not just to the moderate Sunni countries including Egypt and Jordan who formed and honored treaties to Israel and us. Our brave soldiers have fought, died and been dismembered in Iraq only to connect the disparate pieces of Shi’ia radicalism into a frankenstein monster that has come to life right there on our TV screens and worse yet in the vicarious mideast where young arabs found a hero named Hezbollah.

I think what bothers me most about the neocon pundits like Kristol, Krauthammer et al. and the Bush administration members and/or apologists who are pushing for war with Iran and cheerleading Israel's conflict with Iran-backed Hezbollah is that they fail to acknowledge (or simply can't acknowledge) how the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war with Iraq has empowered Iran in the Middle East and made both the world and the United States less safe than before the war.

While Saddam was certainly a bad guy and a murderous thug responsible for the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people, can anyone argue that the United States is better off with a) an Iraq in the middle of a Shia/Sunni civil war that's being stoked by Iran b) an Iran empowered by Saddam's demise and pursuing its nuclear ambitions with abandon and c) a Shia crescent of power from Tehran to Baghdad to Beirut thatis based in Iran and threatens to dominate the Arab world and challenge the modern Sunni governments in Egypt and Saudia Arabia and elsewhere for control of the region?

I just don't get it. What reality are they looking at? Does it all come down to a failure to understand the complexities of the region as praguetwin noted in an earlier comment thread? Can the administration and its neocon backers not see the damage their simplistic, unilateral policies are creating or do they really think enabling all this Israeli/Muslim and Shia/Sunni conflict really is going to make the world sasfer and more peaceful in the long run?

Comments:
Yes, the strategy unleashed the Shia strength.
Strategicall, Bush and co should be looking at how to use the Islamist's own dispute to advantage.
In Iraq much of the violence is based on that fight.
This is what we have been talking about, the conflict being executed without really understanding the dynamics.
A plague on all their houses, but if they are goinf to do it they should get it right!

Unlike previous conflicts, there is much more public information, from many more sources, because of the web.
I expect the planners are still stuck in an old 'intellegence' mindset, and fear being trapped by disinformation.
 
Can the administration and its neocon backers not see the damage their simplistic, unilateral policies are creating...

I keep thinking of Rice's "birth pangs of a new Middle East" comment. What in hell do these people have in mind?
 
Good point, cartledge - if they're going to cynically manipulate Shia and Sunni, they ought to at least be getting something tangible and advantageous out of it for the United States - it seems to me only Iran is getting any advantageous out of this.
 
abi, that birth pangs comment has really gotten a lot of play in the press. I understand the analogue - the birthing process is painful for both mother and child. Unfortunately I think the only thing Rice and the administration's policy is helping tobring into the world is demon spawn that's going to ensure decades more violence.
 
"Bush Doctrine of preemptive war with Iraq has empowered Iran in the Middle East and made both the world and the United States less safe than before the war."

Even my simple mind has grasped this concept since the occupation of Iraq.Its not Rocket Science for gods sake...its common sense.
 
Maybe the strategy is to bring the Shias and Sunnis head to head in an all-out battle. That's a good thing for the west - Muslims killing other Muslims....why kill us if they can kill in their own countries?
 
I don't mean to cause trouble, but "While Saddam was certainly a bad guy and a murderous thug responsible for the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people," - let's see the evidence. I'm sure they'll provide it sooner or later as his tria. Innocent till proven guilty, eh?
 
dusty, I think common sense is lacking in th corridors of power - very little of what they do these days makes sense.

annonny-mous - sounds like a wonderful, christian strategy - foment hatred and hostility so that Sunnis and Shia kill each other off. It sounds unpredictable though - why not bring back the crusades just to make sure we wipe 'em all out?

romunov, you make a good point that everybody should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. As you say, that's what Saddam's trial is ostensibly supposed to be about. Still, I think there is enough evidence in the public record to state that he's a pretty bad guy even if we wait to convict him in a court of law as a mass murderer.
 
rom, surely he was worse than the current situaion, eh?
 
Maybe the strategy is to bring the Shias and Sunnis head to head in an all-out battle. That's a good thing for the west - Muslims killing other Muslims....why kill us if they can kill in their own countries?

As cynical as I can be, I can't believe this was their plan. They can't profit from all out chaos accross the region (except from arms sales, but they had much bigger plans.)

No, this was a horrible miscalculation on their part, but quite an inexcusable one. From before day one my question was and still is..

"Why would the Bush Administration want a majority rules Democracy in a country neighboring Iran with a 60% Shia population?"

I just do see the strategy as a viable one. Ironically, some solidarity might erupt among the arab sects against the U.S.

A pause before they get to back to the more important business of killing each other.

War is like fire, and children shouldn't play with matches.
 
I came home pretty late last night to find out a temporary ceasefire had been negotiated by Condi, then woke up this morning to find out that Israel had not really agreed to the ceasefire.

What a mess. I do appreciate all the press coverage. I just wish Iraq was getting this kind of press coverage too.
 
Yea, it stinks. Condi is getting no respect from either side.


By the way, thanks for the link.
 
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