Mar 3, 2008

Dispatch From Iraq

By Joel C. Rosenberg

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began Day Two of his historic trip to Iraq by demanding that all U.S. and foreign forces withdraw from Iraq. He also accused the U.S. of promoting terrorism, actually saying with a straight face: "Six years ago, there were no terrorists in our region. As soon as the others landed in this country and the region, we witnessed their arrival and presence." Ahmadinejad arrived in Baghdad Sunday and was greeted warmly by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, despite that fact that both Iraqi and U.S. leaders have accused Iran publicly and privately of sending terrorists, arms, and money to help fuel the insurgency and kill American and Iraqi forces. Nevertheless, the two neighbors -- who fought a brutal war in the 1980s that left an estimated one million people dead -- "signed seven pacts in areas such as industry, trade and transportation," according to Agence France Presse.

Dmitry Medvedev -- Vladimir Putin's handpicked puppet successor -- won 70% of the vote in the so-called Russian elections yesterday and will now serve as the new President of Russia. The big question, of course: Will Medvedev stay the puppet, or somehow find a way to cut Putin loose and emerge as a new Czar in his own right? Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov received 18% of the vote. Ultranationalist fascist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky received 9%. Putin, clearly, does not expect any trouble from Medevedev. He chose the man, after all, based on his apparent unflinching loyalty. Which means that Putin plans to remain the true leader of Russia, something readers of this column have been anticipating for several years.