Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Spirit of '79

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is worried. At the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Saudi King warned that the entire region was about to convulsed in conflict:

"Our Arab region is surrounded by dangers," King Abdullah said at the opening of a summit for leaders of the oil-rich Arab nations around the Persian Gulf. "It is like a keg of gunpowder waiting for a spark to explode." Palestinian factions are fighting each other, and Iraq is slipping into "the darkness of strife and mad struggle," a danger that also looms over Lebanon's diverse communities, he said in a speech before the leaders began a closed session.


The dark shadow hovering over Abdullah's remarks was of course Iran and its Islamic Revolution, with its challenge to modernism and the Sunni world, at once the font of recent radical Islamism and rival of the Sunni counter-revolution, al-Qaeda, for the leadership of radicalism in the region. Within the conflict against which King Abdullah warns there are really two wars: that between Sunni and Shi'a and the other between the region and the West. Let's revisit 1979, the Year Zero of the current conflict; the year the Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran.

Facing a revolution, the Shah of Iran sought help from the United States. Iran occupied a strategic place in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, a pro-American country sharing a long border with America's cold war rival the Soviet Union and the largest, most powerful country in the oil-rich Perisan Gulf. But the Pahlavi regime had also garnered unfavorable publicity for its human rights record. The U.S. ambassador to Iran, William H. Sullivan, recalls that the U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski “repeatedly assured Pahlavi that the U.S. backed him fully." However, President Carter arguably failed to follow through on those promises. On November 4, 1978, Brzezinski called the Shah to tell him that the United States would "back him to the hilt." At the same time, certain high-level officials in the State Department decided that the Shah had to go, regardless of who replaced him. Brzezinski and Energy Secretary James Schlesinger (former Secretary of Defense under Ford), continued to insist that the U.S. would support the Shah militarily. Even in the final days of the revolution, when the Shah was considered doomed no matter the outcome of the revolution, Brzezinski still advocated a U.S. military intervention to stabilize Iran. President Carter could not decide how to appropriately use force, opposed a U.S. coup and ordered the USS Constellation aircraft carrier to the Indian Ocean, but soon countermanded his order. A deal was worked out with the Iranian generals to shift support to a moderate government, but this plan fell apart when Khomeini and his followers swept through the country, taking power 12 February 1979.

Like the Bolsheviks, Khomeini came to power by mounting a revolution within a revolution. He came on the wings of a broad coalition that overthrew the Shah, and slowly, patiently and cunningly eliminated his rivals within that movement until he grasped the levers of the Iranian state. It is an ironic and cautionary tale -- which will doubtless go unheeded -- that the first victims of the "Green-Red Coalition" were the Reds. The Islamic Revolution should have disabused the Marxists, socialist and secularists of the anti-Shah coalition of the illusion that they were the vanguard of history.

Now began the second, or Islamic phase of the revolution. There was great jubilation in Iran at the ousting of the Shah, but the glue that stuck together the dozens of religious, liberal, secularist, Marxist, and Communist, revolutionary factions—opposition to the Shah—was now gone. ... The one that would prevail was the strongest, Ayatollah Khomeini and his supporters. Khomeini was in his mid-70s, had never held public office, been out of Iran for more than a decade, and had told questioners things like "the religious dignitaries do not want to rule." All of this gave many the impression he intended to be more a spiritual guide than a power holder, but with skillful timing Khomeini eliminated both adversaries and unwanted allies and implemented his wilayat al-faqih design for an Islamic Republic led by himself as Supreme Leader.

After digesting Iran, the Islamic Revolution looked out hungrily over the region. And the Sunnis looked back at them. The rival Sunni counter-revolutionary brand, al-Qaeda, after a splendid start in Afghanistan made the grave strategic error of attacking America on September 11 (foreshadowing Zarqawi's ill fated decision to duplicate the error in Iraq, and by fighting a losing battle against the US in Iraq, fatally weakened the Sunnis against the Shi'ites). The September 11 attack led not only to al-Qaeda's ouster from Afghanistan, but to the subsequent destruction of the key Sunni-controlled buffer state of Iraq. With Saddam gone and the Sunnis defeated under the inept Zarqawi, the Shi'ites would gain the upper hand in the struggle to control the subsequent vacuum. Then the international and American left, misjudging the situation again, would agitate to abandon Iraq to the last man standing. And neither King Abdullah nor his fellow rulers at the Gulf Cooperation Council had any doubt who that would be.

How greatly the Arabs fear a dominant Iran and its Islamic Revolution is highlighted by the London Times article which describes the frantic efforts by Arab countries to get their own nukes to offset the impending Iranian atomic bomb. (In contrast, Anwar Sadat unhestitatingly attacked a nuclear-armed Israel in the 1973, just as al-Qaeda attacked America on September 11, absolutely convinced that the Evil Jew and the Great Satan would be too moral to use their full strength against them.)

Six Arab states announced that they were embarking on programmes to master atomic technology. The move, which follows the failure by the West to curb Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, could see a rapid spread of nuclear reactors in one of the world’s most unstable regions, stretching from the Gulf to the Levant and into North Africa. The countries involved were named by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Tunisia and the UAE have also shown interest.

Mark Fitzpatrick, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that it was clear that the sudden drive for nuclear expertise was to provide the Arabs with a “security hedge”. “If Iran was not on the path to a nuclear weapons capability you would probably not see this sudden rush [in the Arab world],” he said. The announcement by the six nations is a stunning reversal of policy in the Arab world, which had until recently been pressing for a nuclear free Middle East, where only Israel has nuclear weapons.

An Asia Times interview with ex-director of the Pakistani ISI Hamid Gul illustrates how the Sunni politicians -- and possibly al-Qaeda -- are sick with fear that the Iranians, with their apostate brand of Islam and uncompromising anti-Americanism, may soon wrest control of radical politics in the Middle East, thereby directly threatening the ruling houses and eclipsing the influence of their Islamic confession. This is the mainspring of the conflict that King Abdullah fears. This is the specter haunting the Middle East.

First, the Iranian Revolution has appropriated the mantle of anti-Americanism in a region where "friends" and enemies vie with one another in anti-American vitriol.

"Tehran has taken over the central stage by challenging American hegemony," Hamid Gul told Asia Times Online. "Tehran is today's inspiration force. It charms the Arab youths on the streets. The Arab rulers are terrified of this development, and this is the reason they are coming to Pakistan one after another."

"Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's anti-American calls have become the voice of today's Arab youths. They see in him a hero, and it has shaken the foundations of pro-American dictators and monarchs," Gul explained."They [Arab rulers] are anxious and restive. They are seeing their doomsday started. Since Pakistan and Arab rulers operate under the US umbrella, they are basically joining their heads together to contain the Iranian threat.

Second, Iran, unburdened by any need to keep on even secret good terms with America, is even threatening to take over the leading psychodrama of the Middle East, that holy of holies, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

"Iran raised funds for Hamas at a time when the whole Muslim world was sympathetic with Hamas but did not dare to openly support them. Iran [this week] pledged [US]$50 million. "

This is the storm cloud racing through Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Not the hatred of the Jew, nor the fear of America but the dread of a Sunni-Shi'ite regional conflict. Returning to the Gulf Cooperation Council article on King Abdullah's speech, we find the Arab pundits anxious to prevent a rapid withdrawal of America from Iraq -- not out any attachment to democracy -- but out of the desire to deny Iraq to Iran, a goal which they secretly hope the US will achieve without openly being able to say so to their anti-American publics.

Kuwaiti columnist Youssef al-Rashed expressed alarm Saturday that suggestions from the Iraq Study Group could lead to a too rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces, saying that could hurt Persian Gulf nations. "If the United States is unable to manage the situation shrewdly, any sudden or premature pullout would result in a security vacuum that would affect us all," al-Rashed wrote in the newspaper Al-Anba. Kuwaitis are nervous that Iraq's Sunni-Shiite bloodshed could spill over to their country, where Shiites make up 30 percent of the people. Similar concerns are shared by Saudi Arabia, which is up to 15 percent Shiite, and Bahrain, a Sunni-ruled island kingdom in the Persian Gulf with a Shiite majority.

Commentary

The key destabilizing event in the Middle East was Jimmy Carter's failure to understand and respond to the threat posed by the Islamic Revolution. The principal mistake of the Sunni counter-revolution both internationally and within Iraq was to directly attack the United States, leading to their catastrophic battlefield defeat both internationally and within Iraq -- a defeat the MSM is seemingly blind to, but which has had profound consequences -- and effectively ceded the field to their undamaged foes of the Islamic Revolution. And perhaps the major error of the United States after September 11 was to war against al-Qaeda in isolation, without seeing it as part of the broader Islamic fundamentalist challenge to the West. In disempowering the Sunni terrorist foe by defeating it, America empowered its rival. The score is now Osama:-2, US:0, Ahmedinajad:1. Though alone of the actors the United States possesses the military and economic overmatch, the one nation that can cut the Gordian knot, if it for a moment had Alexander's daring, this advantage is negated by its own civil war, one that is renewed every fourth year at the Presidential level and every second at the legislative, unable to answer the one key question on which the fate of the 21st century turns: what are America's goals and is it prepared to attain them?

25 Comments:

Blogger 2164th said...

Unfortunately Bush has burned all his capital. If he saw the big picture and could step away from his ego, he should ask Cheney to resign, select a replacement and then resign himself. That would restore credibility to his office. The man in the office has none and will never regain any.

I am not sure what the American people will support, but am convinced little to nothing from Bush.

12/09/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wretchard says, "King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is worried. At the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Saudi King warned that the entire region was about to convulsed in conflict"

Oh really, you think this means Kingy will end the Saudi telethons for families of suicide bombers so more suicide bombers might think twice about taking away their income from their families?

12/09/2006 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Oengus Moonbones said...

2164th: "…little to nothing…"

As I have said elsewhere, we were in a war but instead of having a Lincoln or a Roosevelt in office we had instead a combination of Millard Fillmore and Warren G. Harding.

Wretchard: "…unable to answer the one key question on which the fate of the 21st century turns: what are America's goals and is it prepared to attain them?"

As I watch events unfold with each passing day, and the crazy Kabuki Theater of "elder statesment" and their "study groups", I am increasingly convinced my Three Cities Axiom eventually will hold true: America must first lose a minimum of three cities before it wakes up to the situation.

By the way, does anyone know if there is any truth to the allegation I recently heard that James Baker runs a humongous law firm that has the Saudis as one of its largest clients?

12/09/2006 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

I think it should be:
2164 said: with the implied nothing.

I think America, including the Presidency, is in the midst of an education. I think it took 911 for America to pay attention to the worlds second-largest religion.

I just read the Iraq Commission Report. All 84 pages. And I was somewhat dissapointed. Disappointed because some of the recommendations are embarassingly naive (what were they smoking?). Disappointed because the report totally ignored Islam.

IF ignoring the role of Islam is the US operational policy, then the US cannot keep Iraq together. But I don't believe that GWB's team is that dumb. The Iraq commission report probably avoided addressing the problem of Islam because of political correctness - following the lead of the British and the cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys.

America shouldn't worry about goodwill capital with countries that are nothing but a pain in collective Western Civilization hind-end.

12/09/2006 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger nonomous said...

>The key destabilizing event in the Middle East was Jimmy Carter's failure...

Carter was perhaps the worst president in 200 years, but you cry over spilt milk. Why not cry over Vietnam or Korea or China or Yalta. If there is a dumb move to lammet, it is Bush 41 defending Kuwait. Why not let our allies in Turkey, Jordan and Saudia Arabia do the hard labor. As it stands, these are exactly the groups we will hand the bag to as we walk away.

And, if you ask any Persian, they will tell you the big mistake was installing the Shah in the first place.

>The principal mistake of the Sunni counter-revolution ... to directly attack the United States

But you misplace the goals of Al Qaeda. They have the same goal as the Iranians: control of Mecca. They don't see the Sunni royalty in Jordan or Saudi Arabia as Sunni allies. The royals are the enemy.

>And perhaps the major error of the United States after September 11 was to war
>against al-Qaeda in isolation,

I have always believed Bush 2 finished off Saddam (remember, 2003 operations followed a 10 year siege) to clear the deck for an Iranian invasion. The present problems result from a failure to complete that process. Iraq was never a goal in itself.

At this point, we have done a very good job of giving political power to the two ethnic communities victimized by Saddam: the Kurds and Marsh Arabs. Both are fairly happy with the political outcome, too.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the Marsh Arabs can't help falling into Iranian style 'rule by clerics', and thus can't help us invade Iran. What is worse, we are forced to defend them from the Sunni (rest of the Muslim world) which makes us a de facto ally of Iran. Unless we abandon both the Kurds and Marsh Arabs, we won't find any Muslim allies to assist upsetting the Iranian march on Jerusalem and Mecca (and the currently Saudi oil fields). We can't turn to the Turks (who could solve the Lebanon/Israeli problem, too), because we don't trust them to be nice to the Kurds. We can't turn to our friends the Egyptians or Saudis, because they wouldn't be nice to the Marsh Arabs. We can't even abandon Anbar, though the Marsh Arabs would rejoice. A retreat from Anbar would create an Al Qaeda haven for destabilizing the Saudi and Jordanian governments.

Why don't we just relax and enjoy the party we have so carefully prepared. We need to forget about invading Persia for a few years, withdraw from Anbar, and help the Marsh Arabs win the civil war. We cannot stand with one foot in the Saudi/Sunni world and one foot in the Persian/Shia world. If we want to have any hope of establishing a non-Iranian Shia government in Iraq, we need to be better at helping the Marsh Arabs than the Iranians. If that means helping the Shias settle vendettas with Sunnis, we need to do so.

Wretchard, if you really think Carter's mistakes in Iran were critical, helping the Shias finish pacifying Sunni Iraq is the only avenue for undoing the damage.

12/09/2006 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nonomous said, "Why don't we just relax and enjoy the party we have so carefully prepared. We need to forget about invading Persia for a few years, withdraw from Anbar, and help the Marsh Arabs win the civil war."

There ain't too many Marsh Arabs left. Wikipedia says: Only a few thousand of the nearly half million original inhabitants remain. Most of the rest that can be accounted for are refugees living in other Shi'a areas in Iraq, or have emigrated to Iran.

12/09/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Craigicus said...

Bush 2 and our nation are not where we want to be in Iraq that is true -- but maybe our goals were unrealistic in the first place.

The recent commission report is really only faint damning, and in that is praise or at least recognition that there is no overlooked "set it and forget it" solution that could pull our weenies out of the fire.

The words from the generals and the president have consistantly said that this part of the game is up to the Iraqis.

There is a lesson for every country in the region: Mess with US and it will be regime change with a vengeance.

Isn't it downright suprising that there have been no significant attacks on the US homeland since 9/11? Sure there are a few attempts -- even a few shootings but it was supposed to rain blood and terror.

Here in the US, we have strong chemicals available and not that well protected. We have recipes available to hundreds of millions of people. We have the pledges of many groups to make the US a hell on earth. We have at least a million people in the same religion as the one claimed by the terrorists. The terrorists, the Savak, the ISI, and the Baathists have billions between them and yet no good attack on the US.

It can only be because all of these groups have decided they don't want to try very hard.

I think there is luck involved here but many wars are won on the battlefield with a healthy dose of luck.

What we may not be able to do is put Humpty Dumpty back together again in a way that we like. We broke it, and we bought it.

We also mixed up the dynamics enough to give all the players a chance again.
Maybe that is the best we can do -- but we gave the Iraqi people the kind of chance that many countries in a similar situation would have prevailed with. And we haven't finished supporting them now with our treasure and blood.

Let's take another look around and figure out what our priorities need to change to.

I'd love to strangle the smuggling friends of the Taliban by legalizing all drugs in the US.

And let's take down Syria's dictators and give that country's oppressed Shia majority freedom and the chance to ask why Tehran would bargain to let them stay oppressed all that time under the Baath. All by itself, the right move here would remove the threat of a global Shia nation -- and remove another place where the masses are held down by a cultural/religious minority.

Iran will implode on it's own if we don't give it enough to unify over. Putting money into fuel cell development will probably more quickly speed the take down of the current Iranian government than any other method.

Let's go as we were going before the commission report and not gripe and complain so much.

If all the ardent Sunnis leave Iraq can we then say there is no civil war?

12/09/2006 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Lord Acton said...

You see, the ISG report has been overtaken quite quickly by events. Its' 15 minutes of fame are about up.

For those who think that the Dems winning both houses is game over, I suggest you look at the votes this past year on the bills authoring military spending for ongoing ops in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the lopsided votes supporting Isreal during their hoe-down with the Hez this summer. And of course Lieberman's b____ slapping victory over Lamont in my Oh-So-Blue birthstate of CT.

"Events, dear boy[s], events."

12/09/2006 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Isn't a possibly false concept of "winning" or "losing" in Iraq losing sight of the big picture, which promises to be full-scale warfare between Sunni's and Shi'ites across the Middle East? If Saudi Arabia is tottering or Egypt, or if Jordan and Kuwait are prepared to tag-team Syria and Iran ... then who *cares* about Anbar province, or even about what the dreadful Palestinians are up to?

I'm reading in GulfNews out of Abu Dubai the same vague references to restiveness among *their* Shi'ites and Sunni's, too. I have no idea what that means in actual concrete factoids but nevertheless ... yum.

12/09/2006 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

Maybe, just maybe, America's goals were to try to bring out all the contradictions (at home and abroad)---and thus to clarify the murk that is the Middle East.

In which case, we're winning with flying colors?

12/09/2006 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

One wonders when a breed of American politicians will come out of the woodwork who base their candidacy on anti-anti-Americanism in general and anti-Islamism in particular.

That is, what's going to happen when Western politicians campaign on killing off the "Arab Street"? If Iraq is a template for destroying democracy, it may also be a template for destroying Islam. If the Islamist terrorists arouse strong enough anti-Islamic passions, genocide will no longer be a political taboo. They may desire an all-out war between Islam and everybody else, but I seriously doubt they want a systematic reduction of their society to the point where the Arab children who survive are taken to boarding schools and forbidden to speak Arabic or pray toward Mecca.

One moral of the present situation in Iraq is that with a sufficient number of suicide bombings against Shi'a and attacks on their main religious symbols, Shi'te death squads gain popularity among the Shi'a. Moqtada as-Sadr is unwittingly giving a tutorial on the pitfalls of terrorism -- one should not expect terrorism to be one-sided once sufficient casualties have been inflicted.

The systematic annihilation of those societies that support al-Qaeda and Hezbollah may sound far-fetched in present discourse, but it is a strong likelihood if the Islamists get what they wish for. Remember the Scottish motto -- "Nobody hurts me unharmed."

A real "war against Islam" would rip out everything Muslim root and branch and use methods closer to the Spanish Inquisition or Soviet methods than the methods of liberal democracy. The problem, of course, is much like the Beggar's March from the Three Penny Opera. Once the beggar's march starts, it cannot be stopped.

Do the supporters of al-Qaeda and Ahmadinejad have a death wish?

12/10/2006 01:39:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

nonomous,

I too once thought that the US went into Iraq to find the key to Iran. Access. Afghanistan to the East, Iraq to the West and so on. But sagacious is as sagacious does. And somewhere along the line that point of view, if it ever existed, became politically unattainable.

Ultimately a lot of people in the political process don't want to do it. Some because they think it is the strategically wrong thing to do, others because they are constitutinally oppposed to using force, and still others because they don't see any need to do it. But for whatever reason, America, being a place where politics controls arms, has not decided to go that step.

A lot of people think this is a bug. But in one way it's a feature because, as one poster has put it, the public and to some extent even the professionals, have been learning about the Middle East and Islam in depth for the first time. And because America has all this surplus power, unimaginable power, it has the luxury to circle around, think things through, ponder rights and wrongs. Etc. And that's good. Ultimately, if Iran wants to provoke America into invading it, it will get invaded. I know this sounds pollyanish, but you can always make a virtue out of a necessity.

12/10/2006 02:45:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

I too once thought that the US went into Iraq to find the key to Iran. Access. Afghanistan to the East, Iraq to the West and so on. But sagacious is as sagacious does. And somewhere along the line that point of view, if it ever existed, became politically unattainable.

Agreed. The most interesting and depressing revelation of the last couple of years is the apparent mismatch between the various great "realist" reasons to have invaded Iraq on the one hand, and the diplomatic and military implementation of OIF, on the other. The "flypaper strategy" -- to lure al Qaeda into a fight against the United States Marines -- made a lot of sense to me, but then (as Thomas Ricks made clear) we put people in charge who did not understand the first damned thing about counterinsurgency. Getting strategic leverage over Iran also seemed like a good reason -- and the Iranians clearly saw it as a risk -- but it is now obvious that we did not develop a strategy to deal with the Iranian countermoves. I don't know if this adds up to the "incompetence" charge, but it certainly suggests a lack of imagination.

12/10/2006 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger betsybounds said...

Abu Dubai? Where's that? I've heard of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but never of Abu Dubai.

12/10/2006 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Tigerhawk, incompetence will do just fine.

12/10/2006 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

I see Betsy bounds has no bounds to her pedantry. Nahncee made a simple mistake. Why the glee?

12/10/2006 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

To All (including Wretchard – how presumptuous):

We are witnessing events in a vacuum.

1. We blame only our leadership. However, Chamberlain did not act alone. He acted on the will of his people – and that will had Churchill ranting and raving in some oak paneled government mental health facility. We Americans and the West were told this would be a long hard slog. We were told that we would not even know when the conflict was won – or conversely, lost. That implies that we do not currently know were we stand. We should, however, admit that as a civilization we are quite at fault for making a bit of a mess of the current situation. Most of us at this site know that the mess in the kitchen will get a bit worse if we let the cat crap on the dinner plates – but America has 40 – 50 million folks thinking the cat lady’s house is just fine!!! A bit of botulism will take care of that, eh!!!

2. We are viewing the ‘onrush’ of Shiite Aggression as a momentous and monstrous ‘Force of Nature’ that can no longer be pushed against, can no longer be fought. There will be no adjustments as the Shiite Islamic Blitzkrieg marches through the capitals of the middle east and right into your living room. And, there are no problems on the other side of that wall of green and red that hamper their push to doom us.. Iran, with its oil wealth and population, will squash us like a bug! We somehow forget that supporting client states and organizations is somewhat expensive in terms of resources, time, and energy.

What we are forgetting is that it is hard to compete against a crappy team. They cannot even get behind their coach – but, apparently we can’t either. They haven’t made a shot for ten minutes – but some of our players are hoopin’ it up for them because they don’t think there is a chance of the game getting even kinda close. Over there Murtha lobs a shot from half court into our defensive bucket while ranting ‘I want off this court, this game is boring’, over here Buchanan chucks a layup into our defensive hoop while demurring about the fallacies of using our military outside America’s borders, and finally some nutjob on the Islamic bench trips his teammate and rants that the ‘Old Coach is Back!!!’.

Yuk, this game is boring, it is long, and we don’t just lose and come back to play again in a month or so. Can I turn it off? Can I turn off a game my team is playing? Can I bitch about the players and coach? What about that game last month? Pre-Season sucked. I think we should restructure our game plan right now for a half-court possession offense and switch to a pressing defense!!! But, my friend wants us to play Laker-Ball!!!

Oh, well… Maybe the other team will lob some three’s and get that magical 5x10^6 and the 'Game will be on!' - again!!!'

Hope Not.

12/10/2006 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I see Betsy bounds has no bounds to her pedantry. Nahncee made a simple mistake. Why the glee?

And no comment on the central posit, which is that the War on Terror has morphed into an internal civil war in Iraq, and is now morphing into regional religious war in the Middle East.

Do we need to be involved or to concern ourselves if Muslims are killing Muslims with great glee and abandon? I say no, but somehow I think the reality on the ground will be otherwise.

This is another offshoot of Wretchard's noted process of "taking the time to think things through" (otherwise known as "waffling") -- events have a way of going on without you while you're "thinking them through", so that you end up with a different problem than the one you were first trying to solve.

I just hope we charge big huge fees from the oil ticks if we *do* help any of them out. Be interesting to see if they want Russian help/intervention, also. My guess is that will be a big "nyet".

12/10/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Wretchard writes: "This is the storm cloud racing through Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Not the hatred of the Jew, nor the fear of America but the dread of a Sunni-Shi'ite regional conflict."

Precisely. Nations throughout the reason bitched and moaned about Israeli nukes, but it is Iran's potential acquisition of them which has the reagion talking about an arms race.

12/10/2006 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Oh, and there will be no three cities going up in a nuclear cloud to provoke the West into defending itself.

The slow strangulation of Western institutions by political correctness and Muslim special pleading will accomplish the subversion -- leaving the West's income generating capabilities intact.

12/10/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cosmo said, "The slow strangulation of Western institutions by political correctness and Muslim special pleading will accomplish the subversion -- leaving the West's income generating capabilities intact."

If the institutions you refer to as doomed are the main political parties, Ivy League universities, and the mainstream media, good riddance. Speaking of PC, just a single complaint from a rabbi was sufficient to ban Christmas trees from the Seattle-Tacoma airport.

12/10/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> I too once thought that the US went into Iraq to find the key to Iran. ..Ultimately a lot of people in the political process don't want to do it. Some because they think it is the strategically wrong thing to do, others because they are constitutinally oppposed to using force, and still others because they don't see any need to do it. But for whatever reason, America, being a place where politics controls arms, has not decided to go that step.

I thought the reason we are not invading Iran, Syria, etc. is because our military is too small to do the job. It's not politics, but simply that we can't win the war. Every day we are told by our generals that it would be a strain to add 20,000 troops to Iraq, let alone ten or fifteen times that number to occupy Iran.

For world war II (1945) the US had over 8,700,000 Marines and Army Soldiers. For the vietnam war (1970) we had over 1,500,000. Currently for the Iraq War, the War on Terror, we have less than 700,000. That's roughly 13 times more ground troops in WWII and 7 Vietnam era troops for every 3 we have now.

12/10/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger The Ayatollah said...

Saudi King warned that the entire region was about to convulsed in conflict.

So? Let the mutts kill each other.

12/10/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

One of the most provocative things I have read on the post-9/11 world is James G. Lacey's The Impending Collapse of Arab Civilization. Babysat by the Turks over the centuries, then picked over by the Europeans and now the Americans for a brief time, the Arab world in this telling is a mess of squalid potentates just barely keeping a lid on their fissures.

If the Iranians are able to absorb Iraqi and Lebanese Shiites into their own sphere and prevent the rise of an independent Arab Shiite identity (which, theologically, has long been distinct from what comes out of Qom), it will be another sign that the Arabs are falling apart. Mr. Lacey says that this will be a case in which a civilization falls not through barbarians rolling in to sack the capital, but through internal cultural, technological and ideological collapse prompting ever-more desperate internecine warfare and emigration. I recommend the article highly.

12/11/2006 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

2164th said:
Unfortunately Bush has burned all his capital. If he saw the big picture and could step away from his ego
----

Perhaps you miss the big picture and criticize in hindsight.

9/11/2001 was a place in history where people and nations chose sides. Looking at those people and nations who continue to choose the wrong side is telling.

If you still don't agree with me look at how Israel messed up their chance to destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Israel messed up big time both times. Israel cannot afford to do that. The problems are systemic.

To bitch and whine in hindsight is not useful. America is divided 50/50. Europe is not divided at all, golly gosh they are 'green' and only want to help...

Lastly, never forget...the choice was W or Gore (or Kerry).

I'm stunned that W has stood up so long, I'm shocked that I've never seen Bolton lose it.

12/11/2006 02:53:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger