Friday, 28 March 2008

Basra Part II

In my spare time I see if I can unwind the lies and see through the smoke emitted by the government dry-ice machine, and it can be quite a challenge. But now as we head into the fourth day of the intra-Shiite battle erupting in a half-dozen Iraqi cities, there is a credible narrative taking shape in the blogosphere as well as my brain.

Turns out that some crucial elections are coming up in October, and if your ballot-box strength is dependent on having a private army, you don’t allow your people to be disarmed just beforehand. That’s apparently Prime Minister Maliki’s way to get his buddies from one of the pro-Iranian factions re-installed in the southern provinces’ electoral posts, the better to divvy up profits from smuggling the oil produced there.

The adversaries in this case are the other pro-Iranian faction, the Mahdi army, and I mention this because of the patently mendacious line emerging from the U.S. military spokesmen that the mortars falling in the Green Zone are stamped ‘Made in Iran.’ That blatant obfuscation is designed to distract attention from how ignominiously this outbreak smashes to bits the Petraeus/Bush line about the great success of the ‘surge’.

But wait a minute: if Iran is arming its buddies in Baghdad, then the U.S.-backed faction is getting just as much help as the guys in their Iranian-supplied sights. I don’t pretend to have a clue about all this and don’t know a howitzer from a hand grenade. But if there really were Iranian arms coming into Iraq these days, wouldn’t George ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ Bush and Condi ‘Mushroom Cloud’ Rice be having hysterical fits and displaying them for all to see?

The silence about where all these weapons are coming from is highly suggestive. Perhaps none of the groups need Iranian arms because they have plenty left over from the Saddam-era stockpiles. Or maybe they can siphon off weapons from what the Americans keep bringing in (after paying fortunes to well-connected 22-year-old Israeli tricksters).

It’s all so perfectly demented and bipedal. I almost look forward to the depths of illogic and grostesque pandering to the worst in us that will surely emerge during the remainder of this political season in which the Iraq war refuses to take a back seat to comfy whines about gas prices.

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