Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reflecting on Iraq

Last night U.S. President B. H. “the One” Obama addressed the nation on the end of active combat operations in Iraq; which of course does not mean that all combat has actually ended but that’s politics for you. Looking back on the years of warfare in that ancient country it is hard (and obviously was for the president) to look at exactly what the significance of the end of combat operations was. No one was declaring victory, the enemies of the new Iraqi regime are still operating and dangerous, the government is still…well, there is no government as of now, insurgent attacks have been down and the Iraqi forces have been built up though U.S. Special Forces are remaining in the country to continue support. The horrific regime of Saddam Hussein is gone but we still do not know what will replace it. So far the trend has been toward the long repressed Shiite majority who are supported by their co-religionists in Iran. Oddly enough, it was to prevent this exact situation that the U.S. once supported Saddam Hussein and his tyrannical regime.

Iraq has been in a less than ideal state ever since the tragic end of the monarchy and the unspeakably brutal regicide of the young King Faisal II. This was done by some future members of the Saddam Hussein regime and just to show what side of the political spectrum they were on, once the royals were massacred and the monarchy destroyed they quickly got cozy with the Soviet Union. The era of the Kingdom of Iraq was certainly not trouble-free but it was the only period of the history of the Iraq we know today that was stable, moderate and even modern. But, the British had been the driving force behind the Kingdom of Iraq, established with the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, and the end of the British Empire also spelled the end of the Kingdom of Iraq which could no longer count on British support. To make matters worse, not all monarchies in the Middle East showed sufficient solidarity when revolutionary elements began to raise their ugly heads.

One thing which I have always maintained (and been frequently criticized for) is that the end of the Saddam Hussein was a good thing for Iraqi monarchists and of course this would not have happened without the war. Iraqi monarchists, after the destruction of the former regime and the establishment of democracy, were at least able to compete in national elections. They stood very little chance of course but that a little chance, no matter how little, was still more than the absolutely ‘zero’ chance they had under Saddam Hussein. There were some hopeful messages from time to time but the legitimate leadership of the royal house was disputed, there was the religious difference between the Royal Family and the majority of Iraqis as well as the lingering legacy of the Kingdom of Iraq as a “puppet” state of Great Britain. That is not entirely true of course but has some truth to it at least and requires a more broad mind than many seemed willing to try for.

The problem, of course, is that the absence of the monarchy led to the very feelings that created the current radicalism and makes a restoration of the monarchy so difficult, even more difficult than in Afghanistan for example. Also, the fact that monarchists were able to compete politically for the first time since the fall of the kingdom does not, by itself, totally justify the war either. However, if you want to go back to the original root of the problems in Iraq and the Middle East as a whole you must go back, as usual, to World War I and the Ottoman Empire. The great powers of the world once realized that the Ottoman Empire had to be maintained, despite its own decay and the continuous chipping away at it, because they realized, at least back then, that there would be chaos in the wake of an Ottoman collapse. They recognized that very dangerous forces were under the surface in much of the Middle East and that it was only the Ottoman Sultan who kept them under control.

When the Allies, primarily Britain and France, saw the Ottoman Empire collapse and divided it up between them, they effectively removed the cork from the bottle and allowed the genie to escape. Ever since that time there has scarcely been a single period of lasting peace in the area. That being said, there should also be no doubt as to what type of government has been more successful -the monarchies established with or protected by the British or the republican governments set up under the influence of the French. Compare the monarchies of Jordan or Kuwait with the situation in Lebanon and especially Syria. The Kingdom of Jordan was founded under similar circumstances to Iraq and their success, despite lacking the mineral resources of Iraq, should serve as an example. Ultimately, however, as is almost always the case but rarely admitted, it is the Iraqis who hold their destiny in their own hands and certainly moreso from this point onward.


  1. It was a brutal death that came of the good intended King Faisal II. But now that democracy is now in control in Iraq it may only temporary before it falls to the influence of Iran.

    Mad Monarchist you may have spoken to Ilovekingfaisal2 from Youtube, he has spoken to me how Iraq is cringing before Iran and how he and his monarchist colleagues would be calling for the return of the monarchy if Baghdad wasn't so dangerous.

    I sure hope that the people of Iraq come out in support of the return of the monarchy when the time is right despite how the leadership of the Iraqi Royal House is disputed.

    May King Faisal II rest in peace...

    Long live the rightful King of Iraq!

  2. One can only wish them luck -they do not have much going for them at this point. In an ideal world they could simply look at the examples around them and clearly see that the monarchy is the logical choice, but of course there are extremely irrational and unreasonable forces at work, doing all they can to tear the country apart or put it under the domination of the criminal government of Iran.

  3. actually the guy who ordered the King Faisal II's assasination was Abd al-Karim Qasim

    In fact, Saddam tried to assasinate Abd al-Karim Qasim in a botched attempt in 1959, during which Saddam was almost killed.

    Saddam's baath party feared that Qasim was giving power to the communists, which led Saddam to try to murder Qasim.

    by the way Syria has no indigenous tradition of monarchy like the United States, there is nothing lost by leaving it as a republican state, especially since The former Syrian President, Hafez al Assad, effectively paralyzed Muslim Brotherhood by brutally cracking down on it in Hama in 1982.

    Muslim brotherhood is virulently anti western and like Al Qaeda, it seeks to restore an islamic caliphate that spans the entire world.

    And the Syrian regime is supported by its Orthodox Christian population since it keeps islamic fundamentalists like muslim brotherhood crushed

    Syria is hated by catholic maronites in lebanon because the maronites don't like its arab nationalist ideology because the maronites see themselves as descendants of Phoenicians, not because of religious reasons.

    And syria does not do stoning and amputations.

    Saudi arabia does both, and it harbors muslim brotherhood as well.

  4. More importantly, who controls Iraq right no w is America. America is hardly going to Promote a Monarchy. While America may not actively want to topple them in many places, they certainly won’t Establish one as it goes against the American Ideal of Republicanism.

    Given that the whole world has embraced Democracy as the only Logical, Rational form of Government, and think of it as the only Legitimate type of Government available, and how people seem to see through this Ideological Filter only, I doubt the International Community would be up for a Restoration either.

    It doesn’t matter how often Democracy Fails, the ideal still holds sway and if it Fails they will just try to force it to work, the blame for the Failure will go on the "Radicals" or the people who "Refuse to develop a Democratic Culture" or Sectarianism, but the Theory will never be questioned.

  5. That is true about democracy but America does not control Iraq -at the moment no one really does, Iraqis included. The US (contrary to popular opinion) has never imposed a regime (outside the brief flirtation with colonialism) but does often tear regimes down. If America was calling all the shots things in Iraq would be very different, but that's the problem with democracy -you may get better or you may get worse and, as you say, they certainly will not go out of their way to help monarchists. The US gave the monarchists a chance, slim at best, but no more than that and no more than they gave every party a chance simply by getting rid of Saddam's monopoly on power.

  6. Good points in the essay; it was a greed and power-seeking which led the British and French to carve up the Ottoman Empire.
    Sometimes it pays to think of OTHERS rather than one's personal - or state - gain.
    Because bad deeds DO return to haunt one. Witness the instability in the region due to support for the wrong sides in every instance by Western nations!
    As MM aptly alluded to, it was US policy - especially pro-Israeli sectors - to aid and abet Saddam in EVERY WAY so he could defeat "the Iranian menace".

    Guess what? There's no menace from Iran. It's completely concocted to further Israel's interests and to give the US something to complain about. Therefore to try to justify heavy American military presence in the region.

    I was around at that time and I remember well that the higher levels of the Pentagon under Casper Weinberger - otherwise a good anti-Soviet figure - tilted very strongly toward Iraq.

    It's charged that the US secretly gave Saddam help in getting the poison gas that he used on his Kurdish population at Halabja.

    So, very convenient of Pres Bush, assured that 'the public has a short memory' rant and rave about how cruel Saddam was. He even gassed his own citizens, the Bush argument ran.

    It's all hypocrisy.

    To Anonymous: that was very cruel what Hafez al-Assad did at Hama. I visited there years later, and could STILL feel the horror and pain in the air.
    The Muslim Brotherhood is no longer militant at all. In fact they're so tame that no one even thinks about them as a threat.
    Even if they WERE frightening somehow, why would they deserve to be slaughtered off like that? There is no threat to the notion of a Caliphate either, that's just one more of the hysterical fears which serve no one as they are not rooted in fact or truth.

    And Syria does have ancient monarchical roots.
    The priest-kings of Emesa, modern Homs. Queen Zenobia of Palmyra is one of the most famous in Western lore because she was captured by Emperor Aurelian and taken as a captive to Rome.

    Syria is a VERY COMPLEX area with unbelievably rich cultural and historical past. You can feel this in the people when you meet them. Iraq is more harsh.

  7. I would not go that far. Iran is a menace and has been ever since the loss of the Shah who was a man who wanted to maintain peaceful relations with all countries, Israel and the west included. The current regime wants them both destroyed. The Muslim Brotherhood will likewise never seem tame to me, they were instrumental in the overthrow of several monarchies, most especially Egypt. Nor would I endorse *their* idea of a caliphate which their founder said would include everything from Indonesia to Spain. I want the Kingdom of Spain and the monarchies of the Middle East preserved, not destroyed for the benefit of another.

  8. The shah was an open minded man. He maintained relations with israel, and at the same time, he questioned jewish influence in the US, he was not the zionist puppet khomeini claimed he was

    and the reason why there are so many radical muslims today in europe is because Syria and Iraq (under Saddam) crushed muslim brotherhood, forcing their members to flee to places like aachen in germany.

    Western europe and the United states wanted to use muslim brotherhood as a weapon against the Soviet block, West German press voiced support of muslim brotherhood in Hama during their rebellion against the Syrian baath government and granted asylum to their members.

    Since Saddam banned the iraq branch of muslim brotherhood, the Iraqi islamic party, it started operating in great britian in the 70's

    now we are seeing the consequences of harboring militants

  9. Do you still stand by your statement at this point, with ISIS and all

    1. If by "your point" you mean my assertion that traditional monarchy would be superior to the current republican regimes in either Iraq or Syria then absolutely.


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