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Are Tehran and Washington in collusion or in collision in Baghdad

By       Message Nicola Nasser     Permalink
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Their mission was bloodily aborted in 1991, but it was done by the U.S.-British invading armies in 2003; Iran's militias grudgingly followed in the footsteps of the occupying forces, which failed them twelve years earlier; a fait accompli of coexistence and integration was created between the two sides to lead the "new Iraq."

How could Ahmadinejad contribute to Iraqi national reconciliation without a clear-cut anti-U.S. occupation stance, commitment to cut Iran's lifeline to Iraqi militias and a U-turn in Tehran's policy vis-Ã-vis the Iraqi resistance? Iran seems unable to resist its lucrative dividends of the fait accompli in Iraq.

Betting on Iranian connivance was a US tactic from the start: "Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense under George H. Bush, opposed a full-scale invasion in the Iraq war of 1991. Saddam Hussein, he was certain at the time, would not last long once the Iraqis had been driven out of Kuwait. He even made private bets on the outcome." (5)

Ahmadinejad's statement that, "We regard progress, independence and territorial integrity of Iraq as our own" should be tested not only against the realities of the Iraqi status quo, but also against the realities of recent history, which have crushed Iraq to rubble as Iran was watching on the sidelines.

His cordial call on the American "unwanted guests" to leave the region in general and not Iraq in particular was heard on the backdrop of his normally firebrand rhetoric and gave credence to media reports that al-Maliki was mandated to make a breakthrough in U.S.-Iran deadlocked relations after a reported U.S flexibility vis-Ã-vis Iran's nuclear program.

The undeclared Iranian desire to let the Americans continue the inconclusive Iran-Iraq war and finish off the Baath in Iraq is not enough convincing justification to stand on the sidelines while the Iraqi state is being dismantled and the Iraqi people dispersed into sectarian and ethnic pieces jumping on the throats of each other, let alone Iran's active involvement in Iraq under the U.S. occupation.
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(1) http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/07/20060726-1.html, July 26, 2006.
(2) Statements quoted here were reported by agencies on Tuesday, September 12, 2006.
(3) Wires on September 12, 2006.
(4) Der Spiegel online: September 12, 2006.
(5) Ibid.
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*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Palestine. He is based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

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