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Excerpted from New York Times
Saudi Warns U.S. Iraq May Face Disintegration

By JOEL BRINKLEY Published: September 23, 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 - Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said Thursday that he had been warning the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq was hurtling toward disintegration, a development that he said could drag the region into war.

We agree on this point. We might not say "hurtling" for it will not happen as long as sufficient US forces are present to sustain a general level of order. We would hope that the new Iraqi government would be strong enough to roll back all insurgencies and provide enough common good for the Sunnis, Kurds and Shias that they will become allies instead of enemies. Aside from any external pressures, we fear the long memories of these Islamic groups. Their long history of conflict does not bode well for the long-term stability of a civil government imposed by a hated outsider, no matter how democratic. To be sure, there are many in Islam who thirst for democratic governance. Many of them voted in the Iraqi elections. They have allies elsewhere as well.

But is the time ripe? This is not just a question of the ages; it is also one of the most critical questions of this century. There are two wars going on: One between Islam and the other two monotheisms and the war between Church and State to govern society. The latter is also infecting American politics. More fundamentally still, Humanity has yet to decide between the proper societal rolls for mythos and logos (faith and logic). Each will be with us to the end of time; an accommodation will be made at some point.

Nevertheless, the seeds for instability were sown by the imperialism of the past two centuries. The very concept of nations with fixed boundaries was foreign to much of Islam. And when the Europeans drew the lines defining "Middle Eastern nations" after defeating the Ottoman Empire during WWI, they seeded the violence now maturing into terrorism as the tactic of last resort against a perceived imperialism. The Europeans were, of course, only interested in adding the Ottoman lands to their own empires. It just didn't work out that way. WWI led not only to WWII and the Cold War, but to terror in our times.

Back to Prince Faisal.

"There is no dynamic now pulling the nation together," he said in a meeting with reporters at the Saudi Embassy here. "All the dynamics are pulling the country apart." He said he was so concerned that he was carrying this message 'to everyone who will listen' in the Bush administration."...

Does this sound like a desparate man going public? Could be.

Bush commented:

"Today, our commanders made it clear," he [Mr Bush] said after a meeting on Iraq with senior military officers, "as Iraqis prepare to vote on their constitution in October and elect a permanent government in December, we must be prepared for more violence."

On the surface this sounds like reality. It is certainly a breath of fresh air compared with what was said on a flight deck months after the invasion of Iraq. Or is it? Just what does Mr Bush mean by "we must be prepared?" Is he going to interdict terror in the polling places? Of course not. He must mean something else. Like, "I am telling you terror will increase in an attempt to disrupt the voting process." This self-declared "war president' is now telling us setbacks are on the way. Have the last four years been a mockery? Maybe they weren't; they just seem to be.

"American commanders have repeatedly warned that insurgents would try to disrupt the voting, as they did before legislative elections in January.

"Mr. Bush said that if the United States left Iraq now, it could turn into a haven for terrorists, as Afghanistan was before the fall of the Taliban.

"To leave Iraq now would be to repeat the costly mistakes of the past that led to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001," he said.

Look at this one--closely. Iraq was never a haven for terrorists when Hussein was in charge. Have we made any progress, really, now that Iraq has become just such a haven? Whose mistake was that?

Maybe Mr Bush meant it when he declared "I am a war president!" He meant for us to admire him as a "freedom fighter" in the mold of Teddy or Franklin Roosevelt. In effect, however, he really is a president who knows well how to escalate war--while blaming the other guys and stuffing the pockets of his pals. Or maybe that ascribes too much intelligence. Maybe he just wanted to upstage his father over Iraq, or just settle a grudge. History shows emotions such as pique and petulance do not bring peace, only war. Mr Bush has either not read his history, or he chooses to ignore it. Either way, Americans are the losers, not to mention the rest of the world.

Further to this point, again from Brinkley of the New York Times:

A senior administration official, reacting to Prince Saud's remarks, said, "The United States values and respects his view, and we all share a common concern for the future and stability of Iraq." He declined to be identified, under administration policy.

Here we have an Administration official who refuses to be identified responding to an earth-shaking question with a platitude under the veil of secrecy, secrecy, the policy. Enough said?

27 Jan 2006 Update: Iraq Government Excerpt "Jalal Talabani, Iraq's new president, offered the opinion that his new job means that there is no discrimination in Iraq."


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