No one has benefited more by the overthrow of Hussein's Ba'ath Party and the Taliban than Iran's recently elected hard line government. If the Bush administration believed that an Iraqi democracy would be a model for the Middle East where Iran's theocratic democracy was not, it was most certainly mistaken.
Fundamentalist Shi'ites garnered control of all future petroleum finds in the oil-rich south with the October vote. Iran, flush with petroleum profits due to the high price of oil has offered to pay for pipelines that would span the border of the two countries. Iraq, unable to match pre-invasion production despite billions of dollars being spent on infrastructure has every reason to establish friendly ties with Iran.
Shutdown of Iraq's largest refinery last week has added to already severe shortages and sky rocketing prices at the pumps. When Iraq Oil Minister Bahr al-Uloum objected to raising prices the Iraqi government relieved him of his duties. He has been replaced by Deputy Prime Minister and Bush administration ally Ahmed Chalabi, a figure so distasteful to the Iraqis that he received less than 1% of the vote.
Der Spiegel now reports that Washington may be planning an attack on Iran as soon as 2006. Iran is certainly trying to get nuclear energy, if not also a nuclear weapon. By investing so heavily in Iraq, which had no nuclear program, the Bush administration has weakened our options in Iran.
The Pakistan Asia Times reports that the regrouping Taliban resistance and al Qaeda have tapped into Afghanistan's richest cash crop, poppies. Working through the Liberation Tigers of Tamil large purchases of fully automatic weapons and surface to air missiles will now escalate the battles ongoing in Iraq and Afghanistan with US forces to a whole new level.
Pepe Escobar wrote in the December 23, 2005 edition of The Asia Times -
"Bush has opened a Pandora's box with his shock and awe tactics. The ultimate quagmire will keep mutating and unleashing its deadly new powers for years on end. And there is nothing anyone - not even the "indispensable nation" - can do about it. We have all been, and will remain, shocked and awed."
When the US allowed bin Laden to escape in Tora Bora turning its attention instead to a regime change in Iraq, it did much more than squander the global outpouring of goodwill America received after the 9/11 attacks. It effectively packaged and delivered the proverbial mountain unto Mohammed and he hath filled it with a terrible resolve.
Mary Geddry is a writer living in Coquille, Oregon. Her son is a Marine corporal who served two tours in Iraq. She is an anti-war activist and has written extensively about her son's experiences as a grunt in Ramadi. Her stories have been published up and down the west coast as well as online.