Amir Taheri is a commentator on middle eastern politics with more credibility than most.
His article in today’s Times on the assasination of Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim is worth a read because it throws some much needed light on the situation in Iraq today.
Here are a couple of excerpts, the first on the express political wishes of the Shia political parties in relation to the coalition forces:
Despite the gloomy impression given by the Western media, it is important to recognise that not one of the five major Shia parties wants the US to leave: in fact, all agree that they need the US Armed Forces. Sciri leaders I talked to yesterday insisted that there would be no change in the strategy of co-operation with the US-led coalition.
The second deals with what an armed presence keeps at bay:
But not even the grumpy Baghdadis want the US to leave now: they know that the coalition’s presence is protecting Iraq against predatory neighbours and ensuring that there are no revenge killings, ethnic conflicts, or religious wars.
If Taheri is right pulling out now would be contrary to the wishes of every single party representing the majority religious tradition and could lead to an increase in anarchy and political bloodshed.
Is that really what the Stop the War campaign want ?