"We are fighting these terrorists with our military in Afghanistan and Iraq and beyond so we do not have to face them in the streets of our own cities," Bush said in 2004. If the strategy was to use the war in Iraq as flypaper to attract terrorists, it seems to have worked well. Hardcore jihadis from all over the wide Arab "watan" (nation) left their countries, flying right over occupied Palestine, or in some cases leaving their home towns that were just miles from occupied Palestine, ostensibly to fight the American infidel invaders in Iraq. Unfortunately Iraqi civilians have suffered the brunt of this war. Suicide bombers, about half of them Saudi, have murdered many more Iraqi civilians than American soldiers. As an Arab, I am saddened that so many Arabs have murdered Iraqis. I have learned to swallow the bitter truth and realized some time in 2004 that Arab nationalists and fundamentalists seem more interested in defeating America than helping Iraqis. Some of them would murder 34 Iraqi children just to kill one American soldier.
To add insult to injury, many "anti-war" activists blame these murders of innocent Iraqis directly on Americans. "Anti-war" journalists like Dahr Jamail apparently had no problems with the wars Saddam Hussein waged before 2003. They said nothing of Saddam's Killing Fields. They would have liked to see Iraq continue to be held hostage by Saddam's regime.
Two nights ago I spoke to a cousin who worked as an economic advisor in Iraq. He told me that Iraq is surrounded by enemies, and for this reason, the long-term presence of US troops in Iraq is ultimately beneficial to Iraqis. Amazingly, my cousin echoed the words of a terrorist recently interviewed by Arab media and said that it is in the interest of Iraq’s neighbors, including Iran, to cause havoc in Iraq.
Iran has also fought a proxy war in Iraq, supporting Shia militias, supplying them with arms that have been used to kill and maim American soldiers. Some have claimed that the Iranian regime is "fearful of a strong, independent, Arab Shia community emerging in Iraq." The Badr Brigades have been accused of rounding up innocent Sunni Arab men and torturing them to death. Just this morning I heard an NPR report about Iranian influence in Najaf, which worries many Iraqis. Secular Shia like me do not want to see the Shia version of the Taliban in control of Iraq. One thing is clear: the Iranian regime seems to hate America. The photo below illustrates this hatred in a funny way.
So what should America do in Iraq after Al Qaeda is defeated? Should we withdraw all troops? Can Iraq defend itself on its own? Would Iran take over completely?
PS: The question, which nobody has been able to answer, remains: have "Safavids" ever blown up a marketplace?