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Shi'ism Schism* a Thing of the Past

BY RUSS WELLEN
07.22.2005 04:59 | DISPATCHES

From the Dossier of an Ex-Patriot.

In "The Iraq war is over, and the winner is... Iran" on Salon yesterday, Juan Cole wrote of Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's visit to Tehran. It resulted in "wheeling and dealing of a sort not seen since Texas oil millionaires found out about Saudi Arabia. Oil pipelines, port access, pilgrim-age, trade, security, military assistance, were all on the table in Tehran. All the sorts of contracts and deals that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney had imagined for Halliburton. . ."

The administration's success is its downfall. Bringing a measure of democracy to Iraq (one-eighth cup at best) has allowed an elected official to act autonomously. And enabled the natural tendency of birds of a feather to flock together. Had no one in the administration a clue the Shi'ites would unite?

Couldn't it foresee that its feverish attempts to cast Iran as the enemy would put the US in the unenviable position of attacking its ally's ally? Imagine Iraq the troops we're training turning on us and coming to Iran's aid.

In the belief that it's out of touch with reality, those in the working world often scoff at academia. But who's more out of touch than the administration? In the eye of the hurricane, it fails to sense the forces swirling around it.

Even the ivory tower is less insulated than the White House. Despite the academic backgrounds of the likes of Rice and Wolfowitz, every last deed of the administration makes one wonder: Have any of you taken a history course? Do any of you even crack a book? Newspapers, research reports, anything?

*The split wasn't in the sect, but between the states. Sorry, powerless to resist a catchy head.


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