The US is abandoning plans to introduce democracy in Iraq after a war to overthrow Saddam Hussein, according to Kurdish leaders who recently met American officials. The Kurds say the decision resulted from pressure from US allies in the Middle East who fear a war will lead to radical political change in the region.
….Mr Abdul-Rahman said the US had reneged on earlier promises to promote democratic change in Iraq. “It is very disappointing,” he said. “In every Iraqi ministry they are just going to remove one or two officials and replace them with American military officers.”
Kurdish officials strongly believe the new US policy is the result of pressure from regional powers, notably Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The US appears to be quietly abandoning earlier declarations that it would make Iraq a model democracy in the Middle East. In Iraq, free elections would lead to revolutionary change because although the Shia Muslims and Kurds constitute three-quarters of the population, they are excluded from power in Baghdad by the Sunni Muslim establishment.
It’s always a little hard to know what to make of stories like this, which are sourced solely by people on one side of an issue who have a very large axe to grind, but it’s pretty disturbing nonetheless. As the Goblin Queen says, if it’s a choice between war and democracy, apparently war is the winner. It certainly hurts the credibility of all the hawks who claimed that one of the reasons to invade Iraq was that this time we were going to do it right and clean up all those messes we’d made in the past.
Meet your new foreign policy, same as the old foreign policy.
UPDATE: Nathan Newman has more. Apparently Tony Blair is doing the same flip-flop.