Iraq Fetes Ahmadinejad, by S.M. Warshawsky

Steven M. Warshawsky
Last weekend, in an event of enormous importance that garnered surprisingly little media or political coverage, the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, visited Iraq and was warmly embraced by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.  This is akin to, say, the Premier of the Soviet Union being embraced by the Chancellor of West Germany during the Cold War, or Kim Jong Il being embraced by the President of South Korea (Lee Myung-Bak) today.  In short, a stunning display of disloyalty and potential treachery, in direct conflict with U.S. foreign policy and our national security interests.

Ahmadinejad's arrival in Iraq was described by the Christian Science Monitor in the following terms:

In contrast to the Iraq visits of American officials, including President Bush, which are never announced for security reasons, Ahmadinejad landed here to much pomp. At the Baghdad airport, he descended the stairs of his presidential jet smiling and waving. He was greeted with hugs and kisses by top Iraqi officials, including Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd. Hundreds of Kurdish peshmerga, considered the most capable of Iraq's forces, were in charge of security as the convoy carrying Ahmadinejad made its way from the airport to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's residence.

There is something deeply wrong with this picture.

Incredibly, Talabani and Ahmadinejad then "reminisced" warmly about the joint efforts of Iraqis and Iranians to oust Saddam Hussein from power during his terrible reign:

"We reminisced about the joint struggle in the old days against the dictatorship . . . we both wished for the dictatorship to fall. . . . And here we are welcoming them [the Iranians] in Baghdad," said Talabani, as a smiling Ahmadinejad stood by his side.

How quickly the Iraqis forget that it was the United States, not Iran, that ousted Saddam from power; that it was the United States that destroyed the Baathist regime and freed ordinary Iraqis, mostly Shiite like Iran, from the tyrannical rule of the Sunni minority.  But none of this matters as compared to the ties of religion and ethnicity and culture and shared history that unites the Shiites in Iraq with the Shiites in Iran - and both, ultimately, against the United States. 

At a press conference following his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Ahmadinejad explained the situation in Iraq much more clearly, and realistically, than the Bush Administration and its supporters have ever done:

"The Iraqi people do not like Americans."

Yet we have embarked on a long-term project to bring "freedom" and "democracy" to these people - despite the fact that neither is possible under Islamic law (sharia), which we feebly allowed to be enshrined in the Iraqi constitution - in the hope that Iraqis will serve as an "ally" in our fight against "radical" Islam.  Ahmadinejad's visit to Iraq demonstrates, with crystal clarity, that this is pure fantasy.  Iran is our Number One enemy in the "radical" Islamic world.  (We foolishly continue to cast a blind eye toward Saudi Arabia.)  Iranians have been fueling the anti-American resistance in Iraq, not to mention actively supporting terrorists for decades.  Now Ahmadinejad -- who is openly committed to the destruction of the United States and Israel -- is being feted by our supposed allies in Iraq.  By what calculus does this make sense for American foreign policy?    

Diana West, one of the most perceptive commentators on Islam and the war on terror, has written a compelling piece (scroll down) on Ahmadinejad's visit to Iraq.  (HT:  View From The Right.)  In it, she writes:

It's not a question of which side Iraq is on. Certainly, as Iraq becomes what Radio Free Europe analyst Kathleen Ridolfo described as "economically, if not politically subordinate to Iran," that becomes increasingly clear. More disturbing is why we think we're on the same side -- why we think there's a future for us in this and similar relationships.

This is the question that both the Bush Administration and Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who to date has supported President Bush's strategy in Iraq, must answer.

Contact Steven M. Warshawsky

Update from Clarice Feldman: Amir Taheri has a view of this visit in direct contrast to that of Steven Warshawsky.
Last weekend, in an event of enormous importance that garnered surprisingly little media or political coverage, the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, visited Iraq and was warmly embraced by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.  This is akin to, say, the Premier of the Soviet Union being embraced by the Chancellor of West Germany during the Cold War, or Kim Jong Il being embraced by the President of South Korea (Lee Myung-Bak) today.  In short, a stunning display of disloyalty and potential treachery, in direct conflict with U.S. foreign policy and our national security interests.

Ahmadinejad's arrival in Iraq was described by the Christian Science Monitor in the following terms:

In contrast to the Iraq visits of American officials, including President Bush, which are never announced for security reasons, Ahmadinejad landed here to much pomp. At the Baghdad airport, he descended the stairs of his presidential jet smiling and waving. He was greeted with hugs and kisses by top Iraqi officials, including Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd. Hundreds of Kurdish peshmerga, considered the most capable of Iraq's forces, were in charge of security as the convoy carrying Ahmadinejad made its way from the airport to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's residence.

There is something deeply wrong with this picture.

Incredibly, Talabani and Ahmadinejad then "reminisced" warmly about the joint efforts of Iraqis and Iranians to oust Saddam Hussein from power during his terrible reign:

"We reminisced about the joint struggle in the old days against the dictatorship . . . we both wished for the dictatorship to fall. . . . And here we are welcoming them [the Iranians] in Baghdad," said Talabani, as a smiling Ahmadinejad stood by his side.

How quickly the Iraqis forget that it was the United States, not Iran, that ousted Saddam from power; that it was the United States that destroyed the Baathist regime and freed ordinary Iraqis, mostly Shiite like Iran, from the tyrannical rule of the Sunni minority.  But none of this matters as compared to the ties of religion and ethnicity and culture and shared history that unites the Shiites in Iraq with the Shiites in Iran - and both, ultimately, against the United States. 

At a press conference following his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Ahmadinejad explained the situation in Iraq much more clearly, and realistically, than the Bush Administration and its supporters have ever done:

"The Iraqi people do not like Americans."

Yet we have embarked on a long-term project to bring "freedom" and "democracy" to these people - despite the fact that neither is possible under Islamic law (sharia), which we feebly allowed to be enshrined in the Iraqi constitution - in the hope that Iraqis will serve as an "ally" in our fight against "radical" Islam.  Ahmadinejad's visit to Iraq demonstrates, with crystal clarity, that this is pure fantasy.  Iran is our Number One enemy in the "radical" Islamic world.  (We foolishly continue to cast a blind eye toward Saudi Arabia.)  Iranians have been fueling the anti-American resistance in Iraq, not to mention actively supporting terrorists for decades.  Now Ahmadinejad -- who is openly committed to the destruction of the United States and Israel -- is being feted by our supposed allies in Iraq.  By what calculus does this make sense for American foreign policy?    

Diana West, one of the most perceptive commentators on Islam and the war on terror, has written a compelling piece (scroll down) on Ahmadinejad's visit to Iraq.  (HT:  View From The Right.)  In it, she writes:

It's not a question of which side Iraq is on. Certainly, as Iraq becomes what Radio Free Europe analyst Kathleen Ridolfo described as "economically, if not politically subordinate to Iran," that becomes increasingly clear. More disturbing is why we think we're on the same side -- why we think there's a future for us in this and similar relationships.

This is the question that both the Bush Administration and Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who to date has supported President Bush's strategy in Iraq, must answer.

Contact Steven M. Warshawsky

Update from Clarice Feldman: Amir Taheri has a view of this visit in direct contrast to that of Steven Warshawsky.