Thursday, February 15, 2007
Once More Into the Breach
Talabani's son is in the Boston Globe today with another tough choice -- stressing an American guarantee on Kurdistan even if we dash out of Baghdad.
It seems to me that American support of totalitarian and secular(-acting) Middle East regimes was one of the main catalysts for al Qaeda. I think it is safe to say that reverting to a strategy from the 1980s with a mess in Palestine and Iraq far greater than what happened in Afghanistan (and with that country up for grades) we should anticipate even greater problems than the horror of our recent past.
To my non-expert ears, it's strange to hear someone say that a Shia-dominated Iraq would not ultimately be under the sway of Iran. Where would money for reconstruction come from? The Maliki government has already entered into agreements with Iran for oil development, agriculture and the like. That is to say, even if the Iraqi Shia do not wish to become Iran's client, how can they resist? It would seem to me that the U.S. would have to display more adroitness than it has up until now to ensure a Shiite Iraq did not fall into Iran's orbit.
By the way, your FT link is broken.
If civil war intensifies (with or without our help to one side), and the violence doesn't end quickly, stronger support for the Sunnis will come from Saudi Arabia and other states. The Taliban could also get more backing from Sunni Arabs to turn Afghanistan against Iran. I wouldn't put it past the Saudis to use the oil weapon if we openly back a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Iraq.
The one strategy that we still have the leverage to pursue is to offer to evacuate civilians to safe areas. There could still be one final democratic election in Iraq, this time one in which people have the chance to vote with their feet.