Kanan Makiya, an adviser to Iraq’s main opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, says America now appears to have dumped its commitment to bring Western-style democracy to Iraq. Instead, under pressure from Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states, Washington is preparing to leave Iraq under the control of President Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party. Read his views in full here.

Interestingly for those who (like myself) often see Powell as the voice of reason, Makiya says that Bush is backing democracy and the Iraqi opposition while the State Department and the CIA support appeasing the Saudis and others. As Makiya says: “The plan reverses a decade-long moral and financial commitment by the US to the Iraqi opposition, and is guaranteed to turn that opposition from the close ally it has always been during the 1990s into an opponent of the United States on the streets of Baghdad the day after liberation. “

It will be interesting to see whether those in the US who consider their country to be engaged in bringing democracy to Iraq make any noise about this. Especially interesting to see if the usually noisy US bloggers find anything unpalatable about their government backing what amounts to a Nazism without Hitler approach to liberation.

One group who won’t have any interest in this whatsoever are the British left. Nick Cohen is back in force with this damning critique of the Stop the War Coalition and their betrayal of Iraqi democrats.

“When Saddam is sent to rendezvous with a judge in The Hague, or a rope on a lamppost, the democratic opposition in Iraq will need help. It has many enemies: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the CIA and the Foreign Office want to replace the old tyrant with a new, compliant dictator – a Saddam without a moustache. As the moment of decision arrives, Iraqi democrats and socialists have discovered that their natural allies in the European Left don’t want to know them. They must add the shameless Stop the War coalition to the enemies list. “

UPDATE: One of the most-read US-based blogger/columnist’s Andrew Sullivan has dealt with this.