Wednesday, March 22, 2006

After Hamas and al-Dhari...who will be next?

A feverish Russian pursuit for finding a bigger role in Iraq in the two fields of economy and politics is becoming very noticeable lately.
And reading two recent news reports gives me the impression that this kind of Russian involvement does not serve Iraq's interests, instead it agitates the already unfavorable situation.

The first bit of news talks about an official invitation from Russia to Harith al-Dhari head of the Association of Muslim Scholars to visit Moscow to meet officials in the Russian foreign ministry and speak before the Doma.
I can't understand why the Russians chose to invite a nonofficial, extreme religious entity while it would've made much more sense to invite representatives from one of the major parliamentary blocs that can influence the political process. Not to mention that al-Dhari and his association had always tried to impede the political process, opposed the first election and boycotted the second and there's a growing gap even between this association and the Sunni politicians.

The other development I find disturbing is the Russian ambassador's flight to Basra after being invited by the governor of the province who recently announced his refusal to sign any contracts with British firms on the way to boycott these firms and offer investment contracts to Russian ones.

I am completely in support of opening the Iraqi market for foreign capital because simply Iraq will never have a strong economy without foreign investors making business here but this attitude on the end of Basra's governor and the Russians does not read as 'free market' but rather as 'political deal' and a losing one because a smart politician would move to award contracts to those who stood with his people not those who were good friends of the tyrannical regime that oppressed him and his people.

If I were the governor of that province I would be inviting and encouraging the rich countries to invest in my city and not countries whose people were living nearly a famine just a decade ago and whose technologies were proven backward.

I don't like the Russians; they are known for their corrupt deals and the smell of their firms' scandals during the 'oil for food' program still stinks till this day and I think this more than enough reason to put them at the bottom of the list.

The question here is; did third world countries remain behind because they connected their interests with Russia, or, did Russia remain behind because of its involvement with the bad side of the third world?
Or, is it that losers naturally feel attracted to each other?

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