The Iraqis Don't Deserve Us. So We Betray Them...
Always, we have betrayed them. We backed "Flossy" in Yemen. The French backed their local "harkis" in Algeria; then the FLN victory forced them to swallow their own French military medals before dispatching them into mass graves. In Vietnam, the Americans demanded democracy and, one by one - after praising the Vietnamese for voting under fire in so many cities, towns and villages - they destroyed the elected prime ministers because they were not abiding by American orders.
Now we are at work in Iraq. Those pesky Iraqis don't deserve our sacrifice, it seems, because their elected leaders are not doing what we want them to do.
Does that remind you of a Palestinian organisation called Hamas? First, the Americans loved Ahmed Chalabi, the man who fabricated for Washington the"'weapons of mass destruction" (with a hefty bank fraud charge on his back). Then, they loved Ayad Allawi, a Vietnam-style spook who admitted working for 26 intelligence organisations, including the CIA and MI6. Then came Ibrahim al-Jaafari, symbol of electoral law, whom the Americans loved, supported, loved again and destroyed. Couldn't get his act together. It was up to the Iraqis, of course, but the Americans wanted him out. And the seat of the Iraqi government - a never-never land in the humidity of Baghdad's green zone - lay next to the largest US embassy in the world. So goodbye, Ibrahim.
Then there was Nouri al-Maliki, a man with whom Bush could "do business"; loved, supported and loved again until Carl Levin and the rest of the US Senate Armed Forces Committee - and, be sure, George W Bush - decided he couldn't fulfil America's wishes. He couldn't get the army together, couldn't pull the police into shape, an odd demand when US military forces were funding and arming some of the most brutal Sunni militias in Baghdad, and was too close to Tehran.
There you have it. We overthrew Saddam's Sunni minority and the Iraqis elected the Shias into power, and all those old Iranian acolytes who had grown up under the Islamic Revolution in exile from the Iraq-Iran war - Jaafari was a senior member of the Islamic Dawaa party which was enthusiastically seizing Western hostages in Beirut in the 1980s and trying to blow up our friend the Emir of Kuwait - were voted into power. So blame the Iranians for their "interference" in Iraq when Iran's own creatures had been voted into power.
And now, get rid of Maliki. Chap doesn't know how to unify his own people, for God's sake. No interference, of course. It's up to the Iraqis, or at least, it's up to the Iraqis who live under American protection in the green zone. The word in the Middle East - where the "plot" (al-moammarer) has the power of reality - is that Maliki's cosy trips to Tehran and Damascus these past two weeks have been the final straw for the fantasists in Washington. Because Iran and Syria are part of the axis of evil or the cradle of evil or whatever nonsense Bush and his cohorts and the Israelis dream up, take a look at the $30bn in arms heading to Israel in the next decade in the cause of "peace".
Maliki's state visits to the crazed Ahmedinejad and the much more serious Bashar al-Assad appear to be, in Henry VIII's words, "treachery, treachery, treachery". But Maliki is showing loyalty to his former Iranian masters and their Syrian Alawite allies (the Alawites being an interesting satellite of the Shias).
These creatures - let us use the right word - belong to us and thus we can step on them when we wish. We will not learn - we will never learn, it seems - the key to Iraq. The majority of the people are Muslim Shias. The majority of their leaders, including the "fiery" Muqtada al-Sadr were trained, nurtured, weaned, loved, taught in Iran. And now, suddenly, we hate them. The Iraqis do not deserve us. This is to be the grit on the sand that will give our tanks traction to leave Iraq. Bring on the clowns! Maybe they can help us too.
Robert Fisk is Middle East correspondent for The Independent.
© 2007 The Independent