One trouble with erecting an independent country is that they become ... independent.

According to the LA Times this morning, The government of Iraq is opening close relations with Iran.

Iraqi officials seem to think they need to engage Iran whether or not the US goes along.

It does seem to me that if Iraq’s government is strong enough to go it’s own way in its foreign relations, it should be considered as strong enough to go its own way in its internal security. While the US is intent on preventing aid to the insurgents from Iran, Iraq is negotiating more border entry points. Maybe those additional US troops won’t be enough.

How long can we act as if Iran doesn’t exist except as someone to threaten? Other countries in the region realize they must live with Iran and will make efforts to do so despite our disapproval. We are the outsiders who have poked our nose into the wasps nest.

Come on, David. You don’t really believe that. You think Iraq should not have “close ties” to Iran as long the US had troops on the ground there? Iran is Iraq’s neighbor. And Iraq’s ability to form a diplomatic core need not be related to its ability to have a fully trained security force. Those are quite different things.

Besides, your main point seems to be not that Iraq should distance itself from Iraq, but that the US should renew ties with Iran:

On that point I agree. I don’t see what we gain by not talking.

Well, no. I don’t believe it literally. However, Iraq has a majority population of Shia who have close ties with Iran. I don’t think that the majority Shia, or the leaders of the current government, the Prime Minister and his major supporter Sadr, have any intention of forming anything but a Shia dominated, fundamentalist Muslim nation.

I think that sooner or later we will leave and Iran will help the Iraq government impose law and order in accordance with the desires of the majority Shia population.

So why not get it over with?

That leaves the problem of Shia Iran being a threat to Sunni Saudi Arabia so we need to stay in the area. And if we leave troops in Saudi Arabia we reinforce one of the main complaints of Al Qaeda and many other terrorists. This is a problem, but I think we need to tackle one problem at a time. Iraq is the current problem and it will be settled by the majority Shia sooner or later. So let’s cut our losses and make it sooner. Then we can concentrate on how to help protect of Saudi Arabia.

Where did I imply that I don’t think Iraq should have close ties to Iraq?

I was only pointing out that while GW et al, including our military commanders, talk about shutting down the flow of stuff across the border, the Iraqis are talking about opening it up.

I suppose a lot depends on the type of ‘stuff’ that is going over the border.

Personally I don’t see Iraq or Iran as much of a threat to Saudi

  • that sort of thing was scotched in 1991
  • if they tried that they know that they would get jumped on

Also, there has been a clear demonstration that the US et al are adept at destruction, but not much use at occupation or reconstruction.

Yes, it does depend upon what’s comming over the border. Increasing the number of entry points increases the task of checking for the presence of military support for the Shia militias.

I think the point of the whole article can be summed up as an indication that a truly independent Iraq will not necessarily be our ally. In fact, it probably wouldn’t be our ally.

And I don’t know that I would dismiss the threat to Saudi Arabia based on our military intervention. The threat would come after this independed Iraq tightened its relationship with Iraq which is a neighbor of Saudi Arabia. I’m not all that familiar with the details of Saudi Arabia, but my impression is that the Saudis have to rule with a pretty strong hand. Fomenting unrest there might be very troublesome to the Saudi government.

We set up Cuba. Enough said.

Why not indeed?

At present, what unrest the House of Saud has to deal with comes mainly from the ultra-Wahhabists, for whom the House of Saud is not fundamentalist enough. (Even though the Q’uran is the official constitution, and the kingdom is governed by Shari’a law.) And Wahhabism is a branch of Sunni Islam.

OTOH, there is a large Shi’ite population in SA’s Eastern Province . . . so a Shi’a-ruled Iraq might indeed present the Saudis with a whole new form of unrest.

Yes – but it remained an American puppet-protectorate from 1898 to 1959.

Yeah, but they got even. They took over Miami.

I don’t suppose we could persuade Raul to annex it?