Wednesday, March 30, 2005

What a Democratic, Sovereign Iraq Means to the U.S.

Here's Noam Chomsky in interview, via Znet, on what a democratic, sovereign Iraq means for U.S. interests in the Middle East:
The last thing the United States wants is a democratic, sovereign Iraq. To see why, it's enough to think for five minutes about what its policies are likely to be. Let's suppose there were a democratic Iraq with some degree of sovereignty. The first thing it'll do is try to improve relations with Iran. It's not that they love Iran particularly, but they'd rather have friendly relations with the neighboring Shiite state than hostile relations. So, they'll move towards improving relations with Iran, especially because it has a Shiite majority. If they're democratic enough, so the Shiite majority has a significant part. The next thing that will happen - and it's already beginning to happen - is that the victory of the Iraqis against the United States has begun to stir up similar sentiments in the Shiite areas (mostly Shiite areas) of Saudi Arabia, which is a neighbor.

DM: …and a US ally.

NC: Yeah, but that's inside Saudi Arabia, and that happens to be where most of the oil is. They have been excluded by the US and Saudi leadership, but they're not going to be likely to accept that if there is a sovereign, democratic Iraq next door. It's really a Shiite-dominated Iraq. And it's already beginning to happen. Well, you know, that'll lead towards a situation in which most of the world's oil would be under the control of a relatively autonomous Shiite alliance. The US won't tolerate that for a moment. The next thing that would happen in a sovereign Iraq is that they would try to resume their very natural position as a leading state in the Arab world. They're the most educated country, the most advanced and so on. In many ways, it should be the leader in the Arab world. Actually, those are factors that go back to Biblical times. And they'll try to resume that position, which means they'll try to rearm. They will confront the regional enemy, namely Israel, which has virtually turned into a US military outpost. They may even develop weapons of mass destruction as a deterrent against Israel's overwhelming advantage, both militarily and in weapons of mass destruction. Those are very natural developments to be expected. Can you see the US accepting any of this? I mean, those are the likely consequences - not certain, but likely consequences - of a relatively sovereign, more or less democratic Iraq. It's a nightmare for the United States. It's no wonder it tried to prevent elections in any possible way, and is now trying to undermine the results.
Love him or hate him, Chomsky's analysis is more than plausible.