Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Krugman on the Iraq/Iran Relationship

paul krugman tosses out a simple suggestion on Iraq today -

"But recent events in Najaf have demonstrated both the cleric's awesome influence and the limits of American power. Isn't it time to realize that we could do a lot worse than Mr. Sistani, and give him pretty much whatever he wants? "

is this sensible ? it may be - if American interests involve somehow providing a balance of power to the dominance of
Iran in the post-Saddam era, Sistani may be a viable ideological counterweight. It remains unclear the degree to which the bond of Shiism overcomes the distinct differences between 'Khomenism' and 'Sistanism,' as Amir Taheri puts it in the Wall Street Journal.

Sistani leadership, or Sistani-backed leadership, is the likely result of any large-scale democratization in Iraq anyway; perhaps an active role for the US in facilitating that result can integrate protections for the Sunni and Kurd populations that may otherwise fall by the wayside.

- LH


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