For those new to this site, let me clue you into my general opinion on the Iraq invasion. As a standalone invasion against a nation perceived as a threat, it made little sense. As a bold destabilization of both Saudi Arabia and Iran, it was the obvious choice, as it would be the easiest Middle East nation to democratize, and if successful, a permanent and fatal threat to Saudi and Iranian radicalism.
Once you realize this, the bungling of the “occupation” is a side issue weighed against the over all objective.
The first bit of evidence that a form of ‘normalization’ is taking place is the recent elections, and how smooth they went. I’ve also posted numerous articles like the ones below. The “threat” of Democracy is working its effect, just as expected. If you think about it, we could have avoided all this if Bush 1, poorly advised by Cheney and Powell, had ignored the Turks and Saudis, and let Saddam fall in 1991.
Let President Obama carp about the “failed policy of the past all he wants.” At the end of the day, he may be lucky enough to spend the “peace dividend” handed to him by Bush. Forward this post to all your Democratic/Liberal friends suffering from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome).
In his first reshuffle since assuming the throne in 2005, King Abdullah also replaced two powerful enemies of reform, the chief of the Saudi religious police, Sheikh Ibrahim al-Ghaith, and the country’s most senior judge, Sheikh Salih Ibn al-Luhaydan. Ghaith, who runs the commission for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice, known as the mutawa, which enforces bans on alcohol and drugs, has gained a reputation for brutality. Luhaydan ruled last year that it was permissible to kill owners of satellite television channels broadcasting “immoral” programmes. Several other hardline judges were sacked as part of a challenge against the kingdom’s hardline religious establishment.
The grand Ulema commission, an influential grouping of religious scholars, will be reconfigured and opened to moderate clerics, breaking the grip of the ultra-conservatives.
King Abdullah also appointed a new head of a 150-seat consultative body, the Shura council, and replaced his ministers of education, health, justice and information.
Steady but small steps toward women’s rights and freedoms are necessary in a culture with a strong history of laws and Islamic practices that are patriarchal and define social roles. Sadly, women may still require a male’s permission to marry, divorce, or work; domestic violence is a serious problem.
But the Middle East is not the same place for women that it was even five years ago.
That at least is the conclusion of a study released last week by Freedom House, a Washington-based group which tracks liberty’s advance (or retreat) around the globe. From 2004 through last year, all six countries in the study advanced women’s rights, making “small but notable gains” in political, economic, and legal rights.
Of the countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates), Kuwait and the UAE made the most progress. In Kuwait, for instance, women voted and ran for the first time in local and national elections in 2006. (Recent regional elections in next-door Iraq required 30 percent of candidates be women.)
Meanwhile, al Qaeda is stuck in the mountains of ungovernable Pakistan/Afghanistan, waiting to be picked of by missiles fired from Predators and attacked by Allied forces led by US Marines.
[Note: My fine young son, a recent graduate from USMC boot camp, is currently training in Camp Pendleton, and may soon be there, giving me a great deal of pride coupled with no small amount of fear.]
While still quite dangerous, the rest of the WOT is basically a ‘mop up’ operation, which is a far cry from the mess it would be if handled as a “law enforcement issue,” as the endearingly naive, but mostly silly left, would have foisted up on us.
Bush won. Deal with it.