As daemoneconic avatar Natan Sharansky shared in the essential "Case For Democracy" - the 'fear Societies' - unfun, unfree, illegit and intolerant regimes need internal and external enemies to keep the pool of true believers stocked and win back double thinkers before they become dissidents.
Persia's recent Operation Plunder - siezing an Iraqi oil derrick may be kinda like that. Border disputes between Iraq and Iran may have some legit concerns. Telling, is it not, that Iran would resort to armed chicanery instead of a fun and friendly land dispute loving lawyer liasons?
"1) The incident underscores the continuing complexity of Iraqi-Iranian relations. Critics of the Bush administration often assert that, in liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, America handed the country to Iran on a silver platter, making it a virtual satrapy of the Islamic Republic.
"Wrong. The fact is that the historical animosities, conflicts, and suspicions that have long colored relations between Arab Iraq and Persian Iran are deep and enduring. No doubt, the removal of Saddam’s Republic of Fear and the ascent of an Iraqi government dominated by Iran’s Shiite co-religionists helped ease some of these longstanding tensions. But they have not been eliminated.
"The oilfield dispute is only the latest of many controversies currently plaguing the Iraq-Iran relationship. In recent months, Iraq has challenged — sometimes privately, but increasingly publicly — the Islamic Republic’s claims to Iraqi territory, its excessive diversion of joint water resources, and its declared intention to build new nuclear facilities near the Iraqi border.
"As the security situation in Iraq has stabilized and the Iraqi government has gained greater confidence, it has shown itself increasingly willing to stand up for Iraq’s sovereignty and push back against Iranian encroachments.
"2) The historic rivalry between Iraq and Iran, intensified by the Islamic Republic’s hegemonic ambitions, creates an important opportunity to advance U.S. strategic interests. Surrounded by hostile neighbors, Iraq needs the world’s only superpower as an ally and patron.
"America, for its part, needs influential Arab friends as it seeks to deal with the looming threat of a nuclear Iran, as well as the broader war against violent jihadism. Historically, Baghdad has exerted a major influence on the politics, culture and religion of the Arab/Islamic world.
"Today, Iraq’s emerging democracy contrasts sharply with Iran’s dictatorship, where even rigged elections are stolen and peaceful protesters are systematically arrested, tortured, and raped by regime thugs.
"Najaf, Iraq — not Qom, Iran — is the historic heartland of Shia Islam. Its school of quietest clerics, led by the highly influential Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, reject outright the doctrine of velayat-e faqih, or rule by the supreme religious jurisprudent, which constitutes the essential theological underpinning of Iran’s Islamic Republic.
"In the past few years, Iraq’s Sunni community — almost alone among Sunni populations around the world — has risen up en masse, not only to reject al-Qaeda’s ideology, but also to take up arms alongside the American military to defeat the takfirists in their midst. Simultaneously, Iraq’s Shiite-led government has, with American support, waged successful campaigns to confront Iranian-backed Shiite militias.
"With a very real prospect in the not-too-distant future of rivaling Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer, Iraq has the potential to one day emerge as the economic and military powerhouse of the Arab Middle East — and, if we play our cards right, a central pillar in America’s strategy to fight and win the long war against violent Islamist extremism. In short, this is a relationship very much worth investing in — even as America’s combat presence declines.
"3) In light of the escalating conflict over Iran’s nuclear program, the move against the Iraqi oilfield could well have been meant as a challenge to the United States as well. The rather flaccid U.S. response to the Iranian incursion was not particularly heartening.
"The sum total of the U.S. public reaction was the comment of a military spokesman that “There has been no violence related to this incident and we trust this will be resolved through peaceful diplomacy between the governments of Iraq and Iran.”
"Nary a word of condemnation or warning that might instill fear in the Iranian regime or confidence in our Iraqi allies. You’d hardly know we still had more than 100,000 troops on the ground fighting and dying to defend Iraq’s independence and sovereignty, often against enemies armed, trained, and financed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
"For its part, the Iraqi government appeared to take the matter far more seriously: It called an emergency national security council meeting and issued a statement condemning Iran’s violation of Iraqi sovereignty and demanding that Iranian troops be withdrawn.
"For all the reasons cited above, in addition to a host of others, America’s interests require that we do far more to support our Iraqi friends and stand up to our adversaries in the Islamic Republic.
Pic - "Plunder!"