Thursday, June 24, 2004

recognition

I blogged about Israeli interests in Iraq back in March, and now Seymour Hersh's latest in the New Yorker concerns Mossad intelligence activity in Iraqi Kurdistan. A short extract:

...Clawson said, “The Israelis disagreed quite vigorously with us last summer. Their concern was very straightforward—that the Iranians would create social and charity organizations in Iraq and use them to recruit people who would engage in armed attacks against Americans."

This doesn't quite fit. As I recall, at that time all the violence was coming from Sunni insurgents. The Shia were largely quiescent, or at least quiet.

I wonder if there's something else going on. Wasn’t one of the original objectives of the invasion to get a pro-Israeli government in an Arab state? Remember all that stuff about a pipeline to Haifa?

Well that didn't work out. Instead, the US seems to be committed to whatever form of government can be made to work and get everyone in Iraq to calm the hell down - irrespective of that government’s attitude towards Israel. I don’t think US policy has changed as such. It’s more of a change of gravity. Iraq now has weight as a subject rather than an object of US policy.

Looking at it from a Likud point of view, there’s now a possibility that the US will be lending a friendly ear to a new, pro- Palestinian government in Iraq. Perhaps it is better to weaken such a government before it takes root. Back in the spring, the timing of the Assassinations of the Hamas leaders Rantisi and Sheik Yassin seemed calculated to stir the pot just as the insurgencies in Fallujah and around Najaf were taking hold. The Kurds have already stated that they don’t like the interim constitution because it’s removed their veto on the final arrangements for the nature of the Iraqi state. Israeli military support for Kurdish autonomy would go a long way to weakening Iraq as well as providing the means to destabilize Iran and Syria.

Obviously there’s no guarantee that the new Iraqi government will set down roots. But maybe now’s the time to intervene to ensure it doesn’t, while the political and military situations are still fluid.

What I’d like to know at this point is Allawi’s intentions towards Israel, and specifically whether or not he intends to offer diplomatic recognition.