Garner: Iraq Will Be 21st Century "Philippines" - Base Motives

Speaking at a Feb. 11 seminar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, Isam Al Khafaji of the Open Society Institute—just returned from Iraq—noted that for the United States, the real issue isn't its oft-proclaimed commitmentto establishing a democratic Iraq. Instead, what's driving U.S. concern, he suggested, was strategic:
"The question is not democracy. The question is: how to develop a formally sovereign Iraq that signs a treaty with the United States, with permanent military bases for the U.S. All of Iraq's political actors are quite aware of the importance of this issue."

What that means is that the various Iraqi parties—Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis—are competing not just among themselves, but for the favor of the United States, since the U.S. government is not likely to look kindly on Iraqi factions that call for ousting the U.S. armed forces—or, worse, bringing in the French or the Russians. (So far, no one has called for that!)
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