So much for the lack of post-surge U.S. business benefits in Iraq, as I wrote last week. Now, what kind of post-surge ally is Iraq?
I write in wonder that the ultimate failures of the surge strategy -- which include the failure of anything resembling a U.S. ally to emerge in post-Saddam Iraq -- have never entered national discourse. Rather, the strategy that "won Iraq" has been mythologized as a "success" to be repeated in Afghanistan.
It's not that there aren't hints to the contrary -- as when U.S. ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill arrived at the Iraqi parliament in early December and "some deputies," the New York Times reported, "demanded he be barred from the building." Or when 42 percent of Iraqis polled by the BBC in March 2008 still thought it "acceptable" to attack U.S. forces. Or when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, as U.S. forces transferred security responsibilities to Iraqi forces in June, obstreperously declared "victory" over those same U.S. forces! Such incidents convey hostility toward the United States inside Iraq, but there's more. Of greater consequence are the positions against U.S. interests Iraq is taking in world affairs.
Take the foundational principle of freedom of speech, continuously under assault by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in the international arena. The OIC includes the world's 57 Muslim nations as represented by kings, heads of state and governments, with policies overseen by the foreign ministers of these same 57 nations. Describing itself as the "collective voice of the Islamic world," the OIC strives to extend Islamic law throughout the world, and to that end, is the driving force at the United Nations to outlaw criticism of Islam (which includes Islamic law) through proposed bans on the "defamation of religions" -- namely, Islam. This is a malignant thrust at the mechanism of Western liberty. Where does post-surge Iraq come down in this crucial ideological struggle?
An OIC nation, Iraq is, with other OIC nations, a signatory to the 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. This declaration defines human rights according to Islamic law, which prohibits criticism of Islam. Indeed, Iraq's U.S.-enabled 2004 constitution enshrines Islamic law above all. Little wonder Iraq consistently votes at the United Nations with the OIC and against the United States on this key ideological divide between Islam and the West, most recently in November.
Then there's Iran.