Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bernard Lewis: Monarchy Best for Iraq

Originally posted in NewsMax.Com

Bernard Lewis, considered by many to be the world’s foremost historian of Islam and the Middle East, has often been cited as a major player in convincing the George W. Bush administration to invade Iraq.
But Lewis says he did not urge invasion at all. Rather, what he discussed in talks with Vice President Dick Cheney and others was a U.S. declaration of support for an independent Kurdish northern Iraq, which he felt would have led to the downfall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
He also supported the idea of replacing Saddam with a monarchy, Lewis said in an interview with The Spectator magazine.
“One idea, favored by Lewis, was for Prince Hassan of Jordan (the late King Hussein’s brother) to become Iraq’s king,” wrote interviewer Sholto Byrnes. “He was a member of the same Hashemite family as the country’s former monarchs.”
Lewis said, “A number of people thought the best prospect for democracy would have been a monarchy on British lines.”
He also believes that the type of government Afghanistan had under its monarchy could lead to a form of democracy compatible with Islam. As for Iran, Lewis said: “There is opposition to the regime and there is opposition within the regime. It can be replaced by internal change.”
Trying to “make nice” with Iran, he opined, “seems to me absurd.” But he opposes military intervention: “We must not give them a gift they do not enjoy, patriotism.”

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