The Iraq War: Hidden Agendas and Babylonian Intrigue

(Briefing for foreign correspondents, 21 June 04) Raphael Israeli - The Mongols occupied China very swiftly because they were good horse riders and the Chinese were pretty much helpless. But after the conquest, a Confucian sage told them, you can conquer China from horseback but you cannot rule it from horseback. The Americans can conquer Iraq with tanks but they cannot rule it from the back of a tank, which explains why American rule in Iraq cannot really succeed. We should forget about this democracy business in Iraq. There will not be democracy because there is no tradition of democracy. Even the countries which had promised reforms as part of the fight against terrorism don't take it seriously because it threatens the regimes in place. The sheiks of the Gulf area know that only by supporting each other's autocratic regimes can they survive. For more than 100 years, the Kurds have been promised a Kurdish state. They ask, we are 35 million, while the Palestinians are 7 or 8 million. Why can the Palestinians have a state, a second state perhaps, and we are still lingering behind? We are the only Iraqis that helped America actively during the war, to open another front after the Turks reneged. That kind of division of Iraq is practical - a Shiite-Sunni Arab state and a Kurdish state. The writer is Professor of Chinese History and Islamic Civilization at Hebrew University. (Briefing for foreign correspondents, 21 June 04)

2004-06-09 00:00:00

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