Monday, August 01, 2005

Iraq and Iran Iraq and Iran

Today, in Arthur Chrenkoff's The Battle to Rebuild - A roundup of the past two week's good news from Iraq, I was surprised to find a number of instances of Iranian / Iraqi cooperation. One of these was a plan for Iraq to ship crude oil to Iran, in trade for refined petroleum products. Another was cooperation in saving one of the few marsh's that Saddam Hussein didn't manage to drain in the eleven years between Desert Storm and his outster. Further, they have signed an extensive MoU relating to closer transportation ties between the two countries. Indeed, one of the first destinations for the reconstituted Iraqi Airways is to Tehran. Iran has allocated $1 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq. Additionally, it has committed to supplying Iraq with 800 MW of electricity.

It is esp. interesting, given that the two countries fought a very bloody war against each other less than 20 years ago.

This may be for the best. Kenneth Pollack in his book cited in previous entries suggests that Iran has decided that it is in its best interests to have a stabilized Iraq on its borders.

But in addition, we are facing how to get along with Iran. Pollack suggests that if there was a real chance at a revolution there, we missed it. To some extent, I am coming to the belief that the best way to handle our relations with that country is to try to bring it into the international community. And, to some extent, its work in Iraq is doing just that. It is cooperating with the international coaltion that is rebuilding Iraq. And maybe, just maybe, if we can work together there, then the tensions between the two countries can be defused, at least to some extent.

We shall see.

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