People are quick to berate the war in Iraq for being a war entered into under a veil of deceit. Which is probably a fair criticism, given the overwhelming amount of evidence that politicians lied to both legislatures and the general public. Some are quick to criticise any war, because war, we’re told, is wrong, and rather than being a tool of social evolution, is instead an archaic anachronism from a bygone era. This, however, is not such a fair criticism. Regime change is a phrase thrown around as some sort of shrouded evil, and yet people seem to disregard the fact that the ultimate aim of WWII was, you guessed it, regime change. One can only imagine the millions of lives that would have been saved had we not been afraid to make that regime change sooner. And now, as if proof were needed that the war in Iraq may be another example of war as a tool of social evolution, we see Lebanon and Palestine unite against Hamas.
Hamas have long been lauded by Palestinians as heroes, and yet now they’re being criticised for being gangsters and thugs who are interested only in their own agenda. Of course it doesn’t help that whenever Israel blows something up, Hamas fronts the money to rebuild it. For a people bereft of true heroes, I can understand why this might be seen as heroic. And now, not only are they being criticised, but they are also being fought at their very roots. Combating incitement by Imams in mosques, the traditional Hamas approach for gaining new foot-soldiers, threatens to weaken Hamas at its foundations. Coups are hard to maintain without grass roots members.
Is it a coincidence that Mahmoud Abbass, chairman of the Palestinian Authority was standing next to Jalal Talibani (unfortunate name with the Afghan war still fresh in the memory) when he made that statement? You are free to draw your own conclusions, but in my view it clearly isn’t. The return of democracy to Iraq has been criticised for the growth in insurgency, which is a fair point, although I do wonder if those same critics realise that the upshot of what they’re arguing is that dictatorship is better than democracy. However, one argument used by some who supported the war was that whilst in the short-term it would be an upheaval, (after all, going from dictatorship to democracy is about as drastic a change as going from communism to capitalism, and you need only to ask the Russians how “easy” that was), in the long-term a democratic Iraq would help to foster a more stable Middle East.
These sorts of arguments were roundly belittled as either being patronising or naive. And yet, here we are, faced with rather incontrovertible proof that there may well have been a shred of truth to them. I don’t claim to be able to predict the future, I don’t know if the insurgency is Iraq will ever stop but I’d be inclined to believe it will. I definitely don’t know for sure if there will ever be peace in the Middle East. What I am convinced of, however, is that peace in the Middle East will be far more attainable with a democratic Iraq than without one.