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25 June 2006

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searp

The long term issue is political stability. It may be that a modus vivendi can be reached via a reconciliation plan, but if we're there in any numbers at all we will have some responsibility for stability.

So, issue: how are Iraq's longer term issues solved? Shia dominance, Kirkuk, which brand/how much theocracy, our role and influence vs. Iranian vs. Saudi/Syrian/Turkish?

Colin Powell had it partially right: although we may not own it, we end up in the position of a not-very-powerful referee.

Let's accept for a moment that the long term goal is a peaceful, prosperous, independent, pro-Western Iraqi democracy. Do we have a plan to achieve this, not just withdrawal? If we withdraw before we have acheived this, did we win?

jonst

I believe both plans are merely aspirations (bordering on delusions). They have little grounding in reality. The initiative has passed from the Americans.
Right now there is a struggle going on between various forces in Iraq. One force thinks, for the present, it serves their purpose to have the Americans stay. al-Maliki is playing the part of their beard here. They just want to focus on getting stronger. The way a young cub stays in a protected den as it gets bigger and stronger. Associating with the Americans, again, for the present is the price they pay to get stronger. And besides…the Americans pay well.

The moment, and I mean moment, they think they are strong enough to survive (whether they are accurate in this assumption is an entirely different matter) without American help they will ask the Americans to leave. Right then and there. It will be the price they pay for establishing their bones in the world of Arab nationalism. And what is left will, at best, resemble a democracy like Jordan, or Algeria resembles one. It will be mildly hostile to Israel (so the neo-cons will fail in that regard). We will fall back to putting more backing in to the Kurdish area of Iraq. However that area is constituted.

I think the real battle will be between the pro-Iranian faction of Shia’ in Iraq v. the anti-Iranian Shia. Both sides will try, at very times, and to various degrees of success to bring in Sunnis and Kurds on their sides. I have no idea who will win this internal struggle. But if war breaks out between Iraq and Iran we will side with Iraq. And they will indeed call us back in. Only to the start the entire fiasco one more time. And when Iran is defeated in this struggle we will once again be asked to leave. Post haste.

Ok…that’s my take on the matter to the limited extent it has any relevancy at all.

ikonoklast

Why a controlled leak? Political spin for the November elections. It counteracts this week's Democratic initiatives to set a timetable for withdrawal and buys time for the Republicans to seize the reins of the issue. If al-Maliki's plan bears fruit, so much the better. If not, Rove can frame the failure as being despite the best intentions of the WH. This is strictly for the consumption of the domestic audience.
Al-Maliki's strategy reminds me of Seward's plan to declare war on England during the War Between The States - unite the country by fighting a shared foreign enemy. The problem is what happens if it works. The alliance you've created is dependent on conflict against outsiders, not finding common ground among yourselves. So it's either go back to fighting each other or find another enemy. A Shia alliance probably means war with Sunnis, either domestic or elsewhere, while resumption of Iraqi nationalism requires throwing out the US.
Considering their control over domestic news, the WH can spin being evicted as our own turnover of security to the local government, and our leaving some bases there as a bulwark against "democracy haters." Something along those lines.
But everything being done between now and 2008 will be executed for the US home audience. Did the neocons ever really care about the welfare or security of the Iraqis in the first place, or was it merely intended as a proving ground for their dreams of empire? Thus far the only thing they've proved is that you can break eggs without making an omelet. Yet, despite the opinions of the outside, real world, they control the debate at home. They're not going to relinquish their influence without a fight.

ckrantz

Who will enforce the disarming of the militias and various guerrilla groups? Is the national Iraqi army strong enough to take on the militias and keep order? Are the kurds not considered a militia?

All the major groups powerbase rests on the armed militias which they now would have to recind. And a larger piece of the pie for one group obviously means less for someone else. The only party who have the muscle to enforce the disarming is the US who according to the plan will send home parts of its combat strength?

Just pointing out the obvious flaws in my eyes.

zanzibar

Karl Rove is no dummy. With the growing trend of public sentiment against the Iraqi invasion and now a majority for getting out of the quagmire, nothing like leaking stories and creating sufficient plausibility that the US will withdraw. A few token troop withdrawals timed for the Nov election. This Administration beneath all the deceit is committed to a permanent presence. It will not be easy to unwind that commitment even for another President.

Maliki needs political reconciliation to govern. He can't run a government with a civil war raging. Can he herd all the cats to a political solution which is the only solution that will work? With all the competing interests and all the foreign powers playing their own games the task will be difficult to accomplish. The insurgency or "national resistance" whatever it is called will not end anytime soon. The Iraqi society has already been destabilized so much and the momentum is clearly towards more anarchy. I hope however that Maliki and national reconciliation is successful and Iraqis can get on with their lives and our troops can be more safe.

canuck

Did you note al-Maliki made four changes to his plan late yesterday? http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13558539/site/newsweek/>Revised Plan

I don't see how this plan enhances political stability.

ckrantz

'Did you note al-Maliki made four changes to his plan late yesterday? Revised Plan

I don't see how this plan enhances political stability.'

It just shows what a farce the whole national reconciliation process is. Or the idea of a sovereign iraqi goverment.

canuck

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malki’s 24-point detailed plan does have possibilities of ending the violence in Iraq and http://www.aswataliraq.info/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=22030&mode=thread&order=0&thold=>bringing stability

If my link doesn’t bring up the English translation, I copied and saved it to my computer and will post it.

zanzibar

Slightly OT. I was just thinking.

AQ spent under $1 million on the 9/11 operation. In retaliation if a back of the envelope calculation is made of expenditures in Afghanistan, Iraq, rendition, Gitmo and NSA/CIA/Pentagon black ops we must have spent close to $1 trillion.

That seems to epitomize asymmetric warfare.

ckrantz

Canuk:
3 years ago maybe. Today in the current political reality. I think not unless someone are prepared to enforce security and to put it bluntly knock heads which brings back the old strongman argument.

zanzibar:
Besides the military industrial complex there is also now a national security industrial complex with the privatization of intelligence support functions. Lots of contractors making money providing everything from software to translators.

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