Friday, March 11, 2005

Charles Krauthammer: Three Cheers for the Bush Doctrine. History has begun to speak, and it says that America made the right decision to invade Iraq. on Stewart, the sage of Comedy Central, is one of the few to be honest about it. "What if Bush ... has been right about this all along? I feel like my world view will not sustain itself and I may ... implode." Daniel Schorr, another critic of the Bush foreign policy, ventured, a bit more grudgingly, that Bush "may have had it right." Right on what? That America, using power harnessed to democratic ideals, could begin a transformation of the Arab world from endless tyranny and intolerance to decent governance and democratization. Two years ago, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, I argued in these pages that forcefully deposing Saddam Hussein was, more than anything, about America "coming ashore" to effect a "pan-Arab reformation"--a dangerous, "risky and, yes, arrogant" but necessary attempt to change the very culture of the Middle East, to open its doors to democracy and modernity. [...] (Time Magazine)

M. A. Muqtedar Khan: The Bush administration is under the false impression that the elections in Iraq herald the era of democracy in Iraq and thus justify the Bush preemption doctrine. What they cannot see is that the US has just facilitated a major transfer of power in the Arab World - from Sunnis to Shiites. Thanks to the US the Arab Shites will now control Baghdad - the jewel in the Islamic crown - after a millennium. They did not rule over Baghdad even under the glorious Fatimid Dynasty (909-1171), a Shiite dynasty that ruled over Egypt, North Africa and Syria nearly a thousand years ago but had a tenuous hold briefly under the Buwayhid tribal confederation from 945-1055 when the Turkic Seljuks invaded and captured Baghdad with the help of the Abbasids. (Pakistan Link via Pacific News Service)

United States President George W. Bush is this week claiming that his foreign policy is working to drive democracy in the Middle East, citing changes in Lebanon, Egypt and of course Iraq. But a prominent Australian Middle East expert at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, who has just returned from the region, is warning that the West is in danger of missing the point if it sees the democratisation of the Middle East through a US foreign policy prism. In a research paper to be released next week, Anthony Bubalo argues that Islamism, so much feared by the west as the source of international terrorism and opposed by key Bush administration advisers, can itself be a democratising force. (ABC News Online)

Iraq’s Jan. 30 elections gave a huge boost to the confidence and reputation of the country’s new security forces, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress March 10. “Security for Iraqi elections was done primarily by Iraqi security forces, both inner and outer cordons,” Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers told the House Armed Services Committee. “There were, I think, 11 suicide bombers that attempted to penetrate. None of them did.” Iraqi security forces -- the Iraqi police, special police units and the Iraqi army -- provided the bulk of security around more than 5,000 polling places. Coalition forces only become involved in the security picture in a few areas of Anbar province, most notably Fallujah. (US Dept. of Defense)