Monday, January 29, 2007

Foreigners

The notion of a "foreigner" amuses me. Like the word weed, it doesn't describe the nature of the thing or person in question, but simply, i ts location. One cannot answer the question: is this person a foreigner? unless one gets an answer to: where is he? We are all foreigners when we are not at home.

Am I the only one who is struck by the absurdity of GWB talking about the problem of foreigners in Iraq -- most recently accompanied by saber-rattling when referring to Iranians. Hello, George...? You invaded and are now occupying Iraq. You and your 100,000 troops are foreigners. The Iranians are friendly neighbours of the "elected government" you are always crowing about who have been welcomed into Iraq. They are not the invaders. In fact, the NYTimes reports that:
Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad outlined an ambitious plan on Sunday to greatly expand its economic and military ties with Iraq — including an Iranian national bank branch in the heart of the capital — just as the Bush administration has been warning the Iranians to stop meddling in Iraqi affairs.

[...]

In a surprise announcement, Mr. Qumi said Iran would soon open a national bank in Iraq, in effect creating a new Iranian financial institution right under the Americans’ noses. A senior Iraqi banking official, Hussein al-Uzri, confirmed that Iran had received a license to open the bank, which he said would apparently be the first “wholly owned subsidiary bank” of a foreign country in Iraq.

“This will enhance trade between the two countries,” Mr. Uzri said.

Mr. Qumi said the bank was just the first of what he said would be several in Iraq — an agricultural bank and three private banks also intend to open branches. Other elements of new economic cooperation, he said, include plans for Iranian shipments of kerosene and electricity to Iraq and a new agricultural cooperative involving both countries.

He would not provide specifics on Iran’s offer of military assistance to Iraq, but said it included increased border patrols and a proposed new “joint security committee.”

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