Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Continuing the Debate

Dov Zakheim and DImitri Simes both have updated and expanded arguments on the Iraq war that they initially presented in the pages of TNI.

On January 4 (and apologies for delay), Dov Zakheim wrote in the Financial Times about why America should operate from Iraq's borders rather than be based in the central cities.

On January 9, Dimitri Simes explained in the Los Angeles Times why he thinks
sending more brigades to pursue the same crusade is unlikely to bring success — at least not on an American political timetable. The problem is not just the incompetent management of the war's aftermath. The problem is that the crusade to reshape the Middle East that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq precludes anything that could be legitimately called victory.

I have several problems with the Simes article:

He keeps on using the word "Crusade". Is he, in the back of his mind and his heart of hearts recognizes the various US activities as a religious war? (In my opinion there are serious reasons to think of the current US involvement in ME as a religious war - I would like to know if Mr. Simes also agrees with me on this.)

Secondly, I do not believe that a "No Regime Change" guarantee to Syria or Iran is of any value to them. Iran has successfully resisted the regime chnage for 27 years (including the Iran-Iraq War). And US lacking the boots on the ground I cannot see how she could crediblt affect a regime change in either country. The most that she can do is to refrain from extensive bomboing of either country - a tactical war that will seal an anti-Western interests orientation to both states. No, in my opinion, US has to recognize their enhanced position as the results of stupid US and Israel actions and go from there.

In Israel-Arab case I fail to see what US could do - US does not have the political power to undo the self-inflicted wounds of Israel. Moreover, the 2-state solution is no longer practical - is US prepared to push for a bi-national state? Are Arad states?
A "tough but relatively benign leader" would not be the "worst outcome" under any circumstances. But who does Mr. Simes have in mind? No Iraqi leaps to my mind, so I'm forced to think boldly. Margaret Thatcher maybe, but she's not in the best of health. And a woman would not play well in Iraq, except just maybe in Kurdistan.

Does this mean it's Plan C, i.e. partition, for Mr. Simes?
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