A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Sunday, February 13, 2005 :::
The election results in Iraq have been hearteningly muddy--hearteningly, because the lead Shi'a list, which we are all supposed to be good little boys and girls and just love, is in fact headed by a man who also heads something called the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

Why we are supposed to just love that is beyond me.

While normally rational conservative commentators have been writing, "neener, neener, neener" in response to anyone who asks about Shi'a dreams of a pan-Shi'ite organization or even empire, the Financial Times of London has, rather more soberly and responsibly, reported that SCIRI is indeed openly pro-Iranian. What that means is, as with so much else, anyone's guess. Doesn't anyone in the US media read Arabic or know someone they can pay to translate? Until then, we will have to take it as read that "pro-Iranian" is a general tendency we do not want to encourage.

It was somewhat worrying that SCIRI swamped its rivals in the local council elections, reported two days ago. However, Iraqi voters have apparently learned the wisdom of ticket splitting, and gave the parliamentary ticket headed by SCIRI something less than half the vote, forcing them into some kind of coalition with a secular Shi'a list and the Kurdish list. What that means is, yet again, anyone's guess, except that it has to be better than SCIRI being in charge. Here we offer yet another appeal for some responsible conservative group to go find someone who speaks Arabic.

However, what it most certainly means is that those once- conservative writers who sneer and snarl and snipe that "You are just so stupid to ask that question" should be asking questions about this situation themselves. The rest of us should pray, frankly, as so much is out of our hands, and should lobby our Congressmen for the return of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, which in fact did translate all kinds of things. Then one could just skip over all those once-conservative writers who sneer at anyone who is bothered by, you know, facts.

The Wall Street Journal on Friday reported also on active Turkish "interest" in Kurdistan, ostensibly in defense of a relatively small ethnic group called the Turkmen. What everyone thinks they are really interested in is containing their own Kurdish problem and the oil near Kirkuk, a largely Kurdish town. And for all the talk about how Kurdistan is a preaceable secular democracy, an official of the regional Kurdish government is quoted as saying that the Arabs in Kirkuk have to leave. They were moved there by Saddam after the disastrous revolt we provoked, to Arabize the town in the way that countries like Lithuania and Latvia were forcibly Russified. There may be Kurdish leaders that disagree, but there is so much stuff we do not know and should, after two years. But for the nonce, at least one conservative writer is deleting the word "peaceable" from his concept of "Kurdistan."

It is, finally, worth noting that many conservative writers hang on every word that issues forth from the lips of distinguished Princeton professor Bernard Lewis, who holds up Turkey as a model of a Muslim democracy. He may have missed the part a few years ago where thousands of Turks were dying in civil strife. He also skips over the fact that Turkey has almost no freedom of religion, which means it has almost no freedom. Oh, yes, and the military voids elections it doesn't like. And Turks who leave Turkey and go to Europe revert to a very "Islamist" version of Islam, meaning the country is in no way de-Islamified the way Kamal Ataturk wanted it to be. Oh, yes, and Turkey is sniffing around Kurdistan. Aside from that, great model, Prof. Lewis, but, um, do you have another one?

Pretty please?

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 5:39 PM



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