Did you ever get asked to the high school dance by more than one person? Was it pretty hard to decide who to go with? Iraq is entwined in the same dilemma. It has two suitors, and it can't make up its mind which one it likes best. Or maybe it can.
When you got asked to the Sadie Hawkins dance in high school by two different girls, what did you do? Were you the guy who made the decision to go with one of them and then lived with it, or were you the one that tried to go on two dates the same night? Did it make it worse that the two people who asked you out hated each other's guts?
Iraq has a big problem. The United States and Iran have both asked Iraq to the big dance. I think I know which one she wants to go with, but she won't make up her mind. As it stands, Iraq cannot hope to please both America and Iran, whom to call titanic adversaries is an understatement.
A recent article from the Chicago Tribune captures the dramatic irony:
"We want to maintain good relations with our neighbors, especially Iran," Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told a news conference Thursday in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone. "We have long borders with them, we have local interests with (them) and we would like to have this relationship not in the shadow of the others."
"We want good relations with everyone, whether Iran or the U.S.," he said. "The problems between the U.S. and Iran must not get solved in Iraq."
It ain't gonna work.
For several months, the US has claimed that Iran is involved in inflaming the passions of violence and war in Iraq. Recently this fact has become obvious. The problem comes for the US when the Iraqi government calls for the release of Iranian personnel who are clearly involved in stirring up contention and death in their neighbor country.
We all know the maxim "dance with the one that brung ya". Well, it's high time that Iraq decide who they got brung by. Was it them? Or us?
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki recently stated:
"There's a contradiction because America sees Iran as an enemy, whereas the Iraqi government sees Iran as a friend," he said. "The most important country with influence in Iraq right now is Iran, and these issues should be well and thoroughly discussed between America and Iraq."And a Kurdish member of parliament said:
"Any escalation between Iran and the U.S. will be negative for us," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish legislator. "If you exclude the Sunnis, the majority of Iraqis think of Iran as a friend."
Maybe they already have decided.