Deeper into the Quagmire; a[euro]Iraq Is a Country That Has Been Occupied, Brutalized, and Persecuted for Centuries: By Mongols, by the Turks, by Persians and by the British.a[euro] - Janine Di Giovanni

Article excerpt

Byline: By HECTOR RR. VILLANUEVA

WITH President George W. Bush announcing that he will be sending additional 21,000 American troops to Iraq, American deaths can only multiply with neither peace nor democracy in Iraq discernible in the near horizon.

For Iraqis, like Afghans, the history of occupation is deeply embedded in their psyche, and will resist foreigners in their soil whether they be Shi-ites, or Kurds, or Sunnis.

In this regard, there is unanimity that the Americans can never overcome or win Iraqi "hearts and minds."

By the same token, it seems that America has not learned any lesson from the Vietnam debacle, and the humiliation of losing a war against a determined and highly motivated people.

In a country that has never experienced democracy, has no middle-class independent of the state, where oil revenues tend to centralize political power instead of democratizing society, with no tradition of responsible governance, where national identity is amorphous in the face of rival religious or ethnic loyalties, Iraq is in the process of disintegration.

Further, there are no outstanding leaders emerging, and the neighboring countries preoccupy themselves in undermining democratization, depending on whether they are Sunnis, or Shias, or Kurds.

First, America is in a no-win situation as it faces rival and conflicting religious and ethnic rivalry among the major tribes, and united against the United States.

Thus, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Jordan are essentially Sunnis, like Saddam Hussein, while Iraq and Iran are predominantly Shiites. Afghanistan and Pakistan are predominantly Sunnis, and traditionally antagonistic to Shiite Iran. …