Stephen Harper castigated Jean Chretien for not allowing Canada to play a part in the theatrical farce of George w. Bush's conquest of Iraq. As events are (quite predictably) unfolding today it's apparent that Harper's policy would have yielded nothing more than a stream of flag-draped coffins and funeral corteges driving along the 401 highway.
In recent days this blog has examined the unraveling circumstances that threaten the stability, perhaps even the unity, of a post-America Iraq and the cost, in lives and treasure, to hang a dictator. Today, The Guardian has an exclusive account of how America's current bete noire, Iran, has brokered a behind-the-scenes deal for a pro-Tehran government in Baghdad.
"Iran has brokered a critical deal with its regional neighbours that could see a pro-Tehran government installed in Iraq, a move that would shift the fragile country sharply away from a sphere of western influence.
The Guardian can reveal that the Islamic republic was instrumental in forming an alliance between Iraq's Nouri al-Maliki, who is vying for a second term as prime minister, and the country's powerful radical Shia cleric leader, Moqtada al-Sadr.
The deal – which involved Syria, Lebanon's Hezbollah and the highest authorities in Shia Islam – positions Maliki as a frontrunner to return as leader despite a seven-month stalemate between Iraq's feuding political blocs."
According to the British newspaper, the Tehran-Baghdad pact features a promise by Maliki to have all British and American forces out of Iraq by the end of next year.
"It is understood that the full withdrawal of all US troops after a security agreement signed between Baghdad and Washington at the end of 2011 was also sought by Sheikh Nasrallah.
"Maliki told them he will never extend, or renew [any bases] or give any facilities to the Americans or British after the end of next year," a source said.
The Americans don't like to talk about it but a key motive for toppling Saddam was to relocate America's military bases from Saudi Arabia, where they were destabilizing the regime, to a more acquiescent state - post-Saddam Iraq. Asia Times Online has called the myth of the successful American surge the Petraeus Village, a take on the idea of a Potemkin Village. It's hard to argue with that one.
Christ, and to think Stephen Harper wanted Canada to jump into this bloody mess!