Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Persia Not Mesopotamia: Someone Tell the Libs

Suburban Cowboy read, wryly, Harold Meyerson's editorial-polemic in today's WaPo (WaPo, February 9, 2005 Page A23 Fighting for Islamic Law). By now it's apparent that the lib dems in this country suffer from a total surfeit of ideas, and have become the Party of Permanent Contrarianism. They offer no solutions, only anger and a fundamental non-understanding of historic (and current) Arab-Persian relations, to be blunt about it.
With regard to my first point, that the libs offer no solutions, only anger, consider that to Meyerson, the hard-won Iraqi vote was a failure. He gripes, sourly, that "The new Iraq, in short, may look a good deal like Iran-lite..."; "(U.S. actions in Iraq) could now morph into a war to cement Koranic law."; and so on. In short, "Bush's decision to go to war" (as Meyerson puts it) will put the new Iraq in a worse--or at least as bad, though in a different way--position as it was under Saddam. Try telling that to the liberated masses in Iraq.
As for my second point, that the libs operate under a fundamental non-understanding of historic (and current) Arab-Persian relations, consider the following statement by Meyerson, "How can we be certain that the Shiite clerics of Iraq and Iran won't begin to find common ground on a range of issues?" Well, anyone with any depth of knowledge about the region can tell you that there is very little "common ground" between the respective mullahs of Iran and Iraq. Lest anyone forget, the Iraqis are Arab, speak Arabic, and have their own rich culture. The Iranians are Persian, speak Farsi and other non-Semitic languages, and take justifiable pride in their own rich non-Semitic culture. Historically, the Mesopotamians and Persians have been rivals for influence in the northern Persian Gulf region.
What confounds Meyerson and other liberals, typically, is the issue of religion. They see that the Basra-area Arabs in Iraq are Shiites, and they see that the Iranians are Shiites...and thus cannot imagine other than the two groups march in lockstep to the beat of the Ayatollahs' drums. This is simply, demonstrably, not true. The Mullahs of Iraq are not interchangeable with the Mullahs of Iran, merely because they are both follow the precepts of the Shia lineage. It's not that simple.
This baffles liberals, but, then, what can you expect from them? Here in the United States libs labor under the same misconception, categorizing all non-left-leaning believers in God as the "Religious Right", lumping such diverse, but conservative, groups as Mormons, Baptists, Pentecostals, and others into (as the libs see it) one big intolerant quasi-fascist mass. Furthermore, the idea espoused by the lib dem elites, that grand intra-ethnic alliances form a priori based on religions similarities between parties is not by any means certain. What about the entire history of Europe, I might ask Meyerson, which reads as a litany of Christian versus Christian warfare? The armies of the Roman Catholic monarchs in France could, and frequently did, fight bitterly against the armies of the Roman Catholic monarchs in Spain, for example. The fact is, if history tells us anything, it's that when push comes to shove, national (or ethnic, or tribal) interests always trump religious commonalities between competing kingdoms. Such is certainly the case in the Iraqi-Iranian Shiite world.

This fundamental misreading of the basics of Iraqi-Iranian history, and of the nature of religious versus ethnic loyalties, casts a pall of amateurishness over the positions of th liberal intelligentsia.

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