Quote Of The Day: A Message To All The Gertrude Bell Wannabes In Washington

 “We reject this decision.”

Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki, responding to the recent non-binding U.S. Senate resolution calling for the creation of separate Sunni, Shi’ite and Kurdish federal regions.

  More from the LA Times,  noting the resolution “has backfired in Baghdad, where it has been interpreted in light of Iraq’s history of foreign occupation, from the Ottoman Empire to Britain and now the United States.”

Juan Cole relays Sistani’s reaction:

Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports in Arabic that Abdul Mahdi al-Karbala’i, the representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in the Shiite shrine city of Karbala south of the capital, called the Senate resolution “a step toward the breakup of Iraq.” He said Iraqis of all religions and ethnicities should live at peace in a united country. He also called on the Arab states, especially the Arab countries neighboring Iraq, to prevent any such partition. He said, “It is a mistake to imagine that such a plan will lead to a reduction in chaos in Iraq; rather, on the contrary, it will lead to an increase in the butchery and a deepening of the crisis of this country, and the spreading of increased chaos, even to neighboring states.”

I don’t think Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani likes the Senate plan very much.

Gee, ya think?

Cole also notes that “the office of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s president, Massoud Barzani, issued a statement welcoming the resolution.” Not surprising, considering the Kurdish-controlled north has enjoyed defacto independence since the end of the first Gulf war. Yet despite the (near universal) Iraqi condemnation, Cole observes  that the US resolution may have originally been conceived indigenously:

One mystery about all the denunciations of the Senate vote is that the resolution the senators passed is just the plan of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a central member of the (Shiite) United Iraqi Alliance, which rules Iraq. Al-Hakim pushed through parliament (by a simple majority with barely a quorum) his plan for an 8-province Shiite confederacy last October. The only concession he had to give was to wait 18 months, (i.e. until next March) to proceed. Of course, the al-Hakim plan differs from that of Biden in not forcing the Sunni Arabs to form a regional government of their own. (The Sunni Arabs don’t like the idea of provincial confederacies, preferring strong central government rule a la France.)

The resemblance between the al-Hakim plan and that of Joe Biden is an embarrassment to ISCI, since the US is not popular in Iraq. Radio Sawa reports in Arabic that Ammar al-Hakim (the son and currently plenipotentiary of Abdul Aziz, who is in Iran for cancer treatment) denied the similarity and expressed amazement that the US Senate should try to legislate on such a matter. His denials do not strike me as convincing– and they lack any specifics.

Be careful what you wish for, etc.

3 Responses to “Quote Of The Day: A Message To All The Gertrude Bell Wannabes In Washington”

  1. We’re not a bull in a china shop, we’re a fucking bulldozer.

  2. mick says:

    Granted Joe Biden needs a country but does it have to be ours? Can’t we find him a nice, out-of-the-way little nation with a beach? One where everybody talks endlessly endlessly endlessly but no matter how dumb they are they can’t cause any trouble because there’s no cell-phone service, the stagecoach only comes once a month, snow closes the passes in winter, and satellites won’t accept signals from there because the messages are too boring? Couldn’t we make him, say, Ambassador to Andorra?

    Is that too much to ask?

  3. Hi!

    What do you think about Tokio Hotel? >:)

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