Iraq: July 20, 2004


The interim government is trying to convince neighboring countries to back peace in Iraq. This means halting the policy of calling the violence "Iraqis fighting against foreign occupation" and crack down on organizations and individuals in their countries that are supporting the violence. Syria, in particular, has looked the other way as Baath Party activists recruited and moved men across the border to join the fight in Iraq. Other Arab countries allow fund raising to support the rebellion by the Sunni Arab minority against the Kurdish and Shia Arab majority. Iraq's neighbors are coming to accept the fact that Iraq will be democratic, or at least go through at least one round of elections. Iraq's neighbors are also more willing to accept an Iraq run by its Shia Arab majority. It's become obvious that the Shia Arab majority in Iraq want nothing to do with an "Islamic Republic" similar to the one that has existed in Iran for the last 25 years. Sunni Arabs, who dominate in the Persian Gulf states, have long feared an alliance between Iran (which is mostly Shia) and a Shia dominated Iraq. But the new Iraqi government has demonstrated the traditional Iraqi coolness towards the Iranians (who are not Arabs, but Indo-European). 



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