An Independent Iraq

For what it’s worth, polls in Iraq reveal very considerable and apparently growing support for withdrawal of the US occupying army, apart from the Kurdish regions.

That doesn’t mean withdrawal tomorrow. No one is talking about that, and it isn’t even technically feasible. But expeditious withdrawal, with a clear deadline, and an authentic rather than merely nominal transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis. That isn’t in the cards, but not because of concerns that the region will be left in chaos;
rather, because it would mean abandoning the primary and quite crucial war aim of establishing the first stable military bases in a dependent client state at the heart of
the energy-producing regions, a major lever of world control, as has long been understood. The US isn’t about to do that.

There are other reasons. An independent Iraq would probably take steps to gain a leading position in the Arab world, which would mean confronting the main enemy, US- backed Israel. hat would mean rearming, probably with WMD, to counter Israel’s. It might also lead to improving relations with Iran. Not impossible is a Shi’ite
alliance with Iran and a majority-run Iraq, which might further stimulate moves towards independence in the nearby Shi’te areas of Saudi Arabia, where the oil is. That would lead to domination of the world’s energy resources by an independent Shi’ite alliance. Nothing inevitable about any of this of course, but hardly impossible. Can you imagine the US tolerating anything like this? These are among the reasons why permitting democracy in Iraq, even if the rhetoric were meant seriously by Washington and Western commentators, is hardly a likely prospect.

Suppose that internal pressures in the US, and whatever pressures exist elsewhere, led to abandonment of the major war aims, so that there could be plans for expeditious withdrawal of the occupying army and transfer of authentic sovereignty. Would that lead to chaos in the region? Or would it reduce tensions and conflicts in the region? We cannot say much with confidence, of course, any more than we could have said anything with confidence about withdrawal of Japanese armies from much of Asia in the early 1940s, or of Russian forces from Afghanistan, and many other cases. But that lack of confidence is not much of an argument for military occupation.

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