April 22, 2008

Machiavelli or Paranoia ?


Something is bothering me. Actually a few things are bothering me, but am not sure where to begin...

It might be an attack of political paranoia, the DSM must really start including this “mental disorder” as it is epidemic in the Arab World, but not only in this part of the world...

But as the joke goes- just because am paranoid, doesn’t mean that they're not out there to get me.

And I believe the Arab people have been had. In particular the Iraqis and the Palestinians.

This paranoia attack has been triggered by three things, seemingly unrelated...

The first one was a “detail” I read in an article regarding Mullah Atari, also known as Muqtada Al-Sadr. The second was also triggered by another article I read regarding Hamas. And the third, triggered by the latest from Syria.

So let me start with the first, as it is nagging me. Mullah Atari is indeed a “nagging” issue for most relatively sane Iraqis, and in particular Iraqi women, and with me topping the list.

In the al- Jazeera article, Mullah Atari- the driller, said Sadr city is now like Gaza.

Interesting analogy from the driller of the Palestinians in Iraq, and definitely an interesting analogy when Muqtada didn’t mention the word Palestine not even once in his famous interview with the bland, in awe, Ghassan Ben Jeddu a few weeks ago.

Suddenly Gaza comes to his mind. Might the “struggles” be similar ? The reader wonders and concludes - supported by a list of abundant articles - that this might indeed be the case, hence confirming their own beliefs that Mullah Atari is indeed a patriotic, anti-American resistance force, standing for the “liberation” of Iraq from the US.

BUT

M.Al-Sadr also accused the Iraqi government of being "too close" to the Americans. And he adds "The occupation has made us target of its planes, tanks, air strikes and snipers. Without our SUPPORT this government would not have been formed..."But with its alliance with the occupier [the Iraqi government] is not independent and sovereign as we would like it to be."


Notice the wording. "TOO close". Too close to the Americans and drifting away from? From Iran, of course. This puppet government was born and raised in Iran after all.

Drifting away from a particular group/influence/interest within the Iranian government.

And that group is the hardliners, i.e Ahmadinejad and his followers. In other words, Al-Maliki by turning a temporary blind eye to the Sahwa (Arab Sunnis), and getting closer to the Americans has committed something akin to adultery. In other words, he is spending more time in the American bed than in the Iranian/Ahmadinejad bed. And Khomeini’s ghost is not too pleased with that imbalanced affair.

My political paranoia led me to dig a little deeper and pushed me to read more news coming from Iran. And to my surprise (not really), Ahmadinejad is currently involved in a huge domestic crisis with what he calls the “corrupt reformists”, referring to the Rafsandjani/Khatemi group.

This latter have been handing Ahmadinejad some pretty heavy criticisisms regarding his domestic policies, the over 20% inflation rate and other economic moves that are taking the country towards an internal abyss. This also led Ahmadinejad’s economic advisor to step down from office a few days ago.

This internal Iranian "war" is a real one. It is worth mentioning that the Khatemi/Rafsandajani group are the ones who have been calling for a rapprochement with the West, in particular the U.S.

So I thought to myself, could it be that besides the local Iraqi politics, such as the provincial elections and the power struggle for influence and power, could it be that the current Intra-Shiite conflict be a reflection of internal Iranian domestic politics ? Could it be that the Hakeem of the SCII and Al-Maliki opted for the Rafsandjani/Khatemi camp as opposed to the Ahmadinejadi one? And could it be that Muqtada Al-Sadr is Ahmadinejad's personal card against Maliki & Co for getting "TOO CLOSE" to the Americans?

I think so.

Overall, this would not make a great difference inside of Iraq and in particular in the South. The South will be divided between Iran and the US for sure. But it does make a difference within domestic Iranian politics between the hardliners and the reformists. In other words between a purist undiluted version of Khomeinism and one that is still Khomeinist but slightly more adaptable and realistic.

However for us, as Iraqis, the end result is very much the same. We are stuck with a sectarian fascist government put by the U.S. occupier. It’s only a question of degrees not of fundamentals.

Another thing that caught my attention is the bit of news that Muqtada is still in Iran contrary to popular belief. And that the notorious sectarian Al-Jaafari (who was PM before Maliki and is known for his sectarian policies- issued from the same fetid pond of sectarian political Shiism, like Al-Maliki, Rubaie, Al-Hakeem and Sadr -always keep in mind it’s about degrees not fundamentals) is currently in Iran.

There is also talk of forming a new government. Possibly a new alliance between Muqtada Al-Sadr and Al-Jaafari? Now, that will fall much better in line with the hardliners of Ahmadinejad’s aspirations than the Maliki who is getting “too close” to the Americans.

Overall, these latest tactics and discourses of Muqtada aka Mullah Atari, remind me of Nasrallah’s Hezbollah. The humanitarian work, the charity(for shiites only) the engaging in the political process and simultaneously holding the gun...for one big difference, Nasrallah is more intelligent than Muqtada, or should I say less stupid...

OK, you might be wondering what has that got to do with Hamas, Carter and Gaza ?

I’m getting there, bear my paranoia for a little while, will you ?

We all know that Ahmadinejad’s Iran supports Hamas, not because the Iranians have a particular love for the Palestinians or for the ARAB Palestinian cause (I think the Palestinian Iraqi experience is enough to dispel that myth) but because the Palestinian cause is a handy pawn to use – not so much against Israel, but against the Arab governments, depicting and revealing their impotence and treacherousness.

Moreover it serves another double purpose. First to show the so-called “principled” Iranian stand, which is quite easy, since Iran is one country in comparison to a disunited conglomerate of Arab countries with different political agendas. And, secondly it serves the purpose of discrediting any IDEA or political struggle based on Pan-Arabism. A notion which is automatically and unconsciously associated with the Arab masses.

Hence Iran, having figured out the Arab “street's“ weakness, was able to rally around itself the Arab masses under the banner of “anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism” whilst obliging like a good mistress in occupied Baghdad with the exact same men it denounces...

You need to understand these nuances, if you are to understand the dynamics by which current day Iran operates. Saddam Hussein understood it very well. It does take brains you know.

Back to Hamas.

Today, after Carter’s mediation, intervention, visit-- call it what you wish, Hamas spokesman said that it is ready to have a truce with Israel, provided this latter withdraws to the 67 borders, and I quote:

Mashaal says Hamas would accept a Palestinian state limited to the lands Israel seized in 1967 — an implicit acceptance that Israel would exist alongside that state.But Mashaal says the group would never outright formally recognize Israel.”

Now, I, the simpleton that I am, I don’t see where Mashaal and Arafat differ. Arafat accepted the 67 borders, and the notion of a Palestinian state alongside that of Israel. The only difference is that Arafat engaged in some peace accords with Israel.

I don’t want to get enmeshed in political quibblings over legalities and political philosophical notions on the meaning of “state existence”. But one thing that strikes me as bloody obvious is that an implicit acceptance of a state next to Israel and a truce, means a recognition of the state of Israel.

But that is not my main point. The point I really wanted to make, or more the parallel I wanted to draw, having been “inspired” by Muqtada Al-Sadr politicking, is -- can it be that that the current PA who deposed Arafat through murder, be likened to the current Maliki puppet government ? And can the current Hamas be likened to the current Sadr ? In other words, can it be that Hamas’s objections to Abbas and Co were/are that this latter was getting “too close” to the US/Israel - to the disliking of Ahmadinejad’s Iran ?

So from my simpleton’s perspective, I wonder, what was all this Hamas resistance about ?

What was this division in the heart of the Palestinian cause/movement, where you have the PA, Hamas, the Israeli Palestinians, and the Palestinian refugees each forming a different identity, under the one and same Israeli Zionist Occupation ?

Is that not reminiscent of the current Iraqi scene ?

Now let me be objective here, I am not blaming it ALL on Iran, the PA with its shameless striptease to the Zionists encouraged that too. But still, the parallels are striking in my opinion...or is just my political paranoia ?

Let them hammer away at Sadr City and Gaza’s innocents, so Iran’s Ahmadinejad and Israel can have their final say or accord ?

Israel may not agree to Hamas’s terms, but if it needed to strike a deal with Iran, it would consider it...after all they do have a common enemy “ Ayrabs, Aghabs, A’raaaab”,like the Americans, Israelis and Iranians pronounce it.

If I were Israel, I’d more worried about the potential of Arabism of the millions of Arabs (who had a Saddam Hussein and a Nasser for examples) than a few millions of isolated Iranians in an Arab sea. And Iran knows that. Hence its political Shi'ism marketed under the heading of anti-Zionism and anti–Americanism, hoping to embrace the “Arab masses”, through its various proxies in the region. Embracing through sectarian divisions that ironically serve the Israeli Zionistic interests.

If I were Israel, I would also make sure to keep dividing those Arab ”bastards” along sectarian and ethnic lines, so they can never rise to be a coherent WHOLE.
And what better ally can I have but Iran(A) and down the line Turkey(B), if plan A fails...

Now the third piece of news, another trigger for my political “paranoid delusions”,

“Syria's president has confirmed exchanging messages with Israel through an unnamed third party, saying that both sides are exploring the possibility of resuming peace negotiations.”

Syria is part of the "Axis of Evil" according to the U.S. Yet Syria obliged in Gulf War 1, when its soldiers were on the frontlines “liberating” Kuwait. Moreover, Syria has very amicable ties with Iran and Hezbollah and...the Maliki government.

So what’s the deal here?

Will Syria forfeit its amicable ties with Iran in exchange for the Golan heights and a peace treaty with Israel and leave Iran out, alone in the cold ?

Or will Syria through its power plays in Lebanon, force the Israelis to reckon with Syria and Iran as part of the deal ?

I am not quite sure which camp Syria will opt for. The Arab camp or the Alawite/Shiite camp with Iran.

Syria holds more cards than anyone cares to believe.

In parallel in Lebanon, two Phalangists were killed by the Lebanese Aoun/Hezbollah opposition. Not that I care much for the Phalangists of Lebanon, but just by coincidence the elections for a Lebanese President has been postponed again for the 100th time.

Is everyone buying time to figure out what the deal between US/Israel and Iran is ?
Is everyone buying time so either one can finally pronounce themselves out in the open ?

Meanwhile, " a cousin of Saddam Hussein known as "Chemical Ali" has been hospitalized after a hunger strike to protest his treatment during a complex legal and political fight that has delayed his death sentence for months, a defense lawyer said Monday..." Treatment under the US /Iran collaborative in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi and the Palestinian ARAB PEOPLE are paying the Machiavellian price of the wheelings and dealings of their in abstentia “Princes”.


N.B: I need to make one thing very clear. I am AGAINST any strike on Iran and the Iranian people. After all, I am a good ARAB (and Muslim) neighbor. Just thought I'd mention it.
Another N.B: I'd rather write about love and perfumes...than sticking/stinking politics.


Painting : Iraqi artist, Qassem Naji