I guess truces with terrorist factions aren't all they're cracked up to be. The NYT reports on the "truce" in Sadr City.
BAGHDAD — An Iraqi soldier was watching over the concrete wall on Monday when a .50-caliber round ripped into his head. Soon after the attack was reported on the tactical radio, two American military advisers were on their way to the scene, laser range finder in hand, to call in a Hellfire missile strike on a sniper position on the far side of a desolate no man’s land. ...
The formal truce that was announced in the Green Zone with great fanfare on Monday has meant nothing here. Shiite militias have been trying to blast gaps in the wall, firing at the American troops who are completing it and maneuvering to pick off the Iraqi soldiers who have been charged with keeping an eye on the partition.
Now suppose the next administration extracted a promise from Teheran to be nice if the US withdrew all its forces from Iraq within six months of the deal. How would the US know that the Iranians would keep their end of the deal? One could consider the problem in the abstract by estimating the payoff matrix for the Iranians would be if they 1) continued to abide by their agreement; or 2) renege upon it. A lot would depend on what Teheran calculated to be the costs of betrayal if it double-crossed the Obama administration for example. Based on that payoff matrix then Teheran could be expected to pursue the dominating strategy.
But suppose Iraq were stabilized to the point where it didn't make a difference whether the US withdrew or not? What would be the dominating Iranian strategy then?
Agreements, like truces, do not in general enforce themselves. Either they are maintained by sanction or the normal operation of self interest. One of the issues that must necessarily be explored by anyone who seeks to do a deal with Iran is just why Teheran shouldn't lie to you.
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