Gratuitous Cute Kitty Pic #1. Tiny keeps cool among the hostas.
"Iraq is naturally three nations. It became a unitary state under Sykes-Picot* as an imperial Anglo-French exercise," writes Wretchard at The Belmont Club, persuasively arguing for the historical logic of the Bush Doctrine:
America has given the Iraqis a chance to leave the Sykes-Picot framework in a constitutional and consensual manner. In a very fundamental sense, history is on America's side, and insurgency which aims at re-establishing some ethnic dominance are really fighting the tide of events. Concealed in the debate about Iraq is the little recognized detail that a Federal Iraq with a Shi'ite majority is inherently far stabler than a Sunni minority-dominated state under a strongman, which is what liberals, who ought to know better, seem to hanker for.
The *Sykes-Picot Agreement -- a secret understanding concluded in May 1916, during World War I -- explains TigerHawk, was "the archtypical colonialist deal,"
. . . in which France and the United Kingdom secretly agreed on the borders between their respective areas of direct control and influence in the Arab Middle East. The Palestinians have a long list of grievances that derive from that fateful deal, [not to mention the UN's never-implemented post-WWII partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states] as does Iraq, which was given the chance to erase its legacy by Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"The agreement is seen by many as a turning point in Western/Arab relations, as it negated the promises made to Arabs through T.E. Lawrence for a national homeland in the Syrian territory in exchange for their siding with British forces against the Ottoman Empire," according to Wikipedia. [No, but we saw the movie.]
Gratuitous Cute Kitty Pic #2. Baby dominates the autumn landscape with Sedum spectabile blossoms behind and a bed of blue-grey leaves of Dianthus deltoides foreground.
On a roll, TigerHawk excerpts a Bernard Lewis lecture that "connects the historical tributaries of today's pathological political culture in that part of the world. If you do nothing else, read Professor Lewis' explanation for the region's attachment to European-style totalitarianism," advises TH:
The dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in Iraq or the Assad family in Syria or the more friendly dictatorship of Mubarak in Egypt -- all of these have no roots whatsoever in the Arab or in the Islamic past . . .
The French colonial empire was, for the most part, beyond the reach of the Nazis, which meant that the governors of the French colonies had a free choice: To stay with Vichy or to join Charles de Gaulle, who had set up a Free French Committee in London. The overwhelming majority chose Vichy . . . The governor and his high officials in the administration in Syria-Lebanon took their orders from Vichy, which in turn took orders from Berlin. The Nazis moved in, made a tremendous propaganda effort, and were even able to move from Syria eastwards into Iraq and for a while set up a pro-Nazi, fascist regime. It was in this period that political parties were formed that were the nucleus of what later became the Baath Party. The Western Allies eventually drove the Nazis out of the Middle East and suppressed these organizations. But the war ended in 1945, and the Allies left. A few years later the Soviets moved in, established an immensely powerful presence in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and various other countries, and introduced Soviet-style political practice.
Of course we're all only human, and the poisoning of the neighbor's well can work both ways. As Mark Steyn wrote last spring, "Twenty-seven years ago, because Islam didn’t fit into the old cold war template, analysts mostly discounted it":
In 1989, with the Warsaw Pact disintegrating before his eyes, poor beleaguered Mikhail Gorbachev received a helpful bit of advice from the cocky young upstart on the block: “I strongly urge that in breaking down the walls of Marxist fantasies you do not fall into the prison of the West and the Great Satan,” Ayatollah Khomeini wrote to Moscow. “I openly announce that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the greatest and most powerful base of the Islamic world, can easily help fill up the ideological vacuum of your system.”
Our analysis in our post "Ali Baba and all that" citing Steyn's article seems apt:
Those "thousands of mullahs dispatched" by the ayatollah to convert the citizens of the former Soviet Union gave us the willies and reminded us of "the Gramscian underpinnings of the Soviet Union's insidious infiltration of our own elite institutions last century, not to mention Ibn Warraq's assertion that in the aftermath of The war to end all wars, Islam was seen as a counterforce to the Communist threat. There's a reason the left and jihadis are finding themselves in bed together. Both subscribe to totalitarian, collectivist ideologies whose bottom line is "I know what's best for you. Sit down, shut up, and do as you're told. Or else."
As leading lights of the Religion of Peace™ have been advising Benedetto in so many words in the last period of time, "Stop calling us violent, or we'll kill you."
Update: Dozens more cute animal pix at Modulator's "105th Friday Ark."