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19 December 2011

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Fred

"... Maliki will now concentrate on consolidating his power, his coalition's power, and that of Shia Arabs generally."

That pretty much sums up the great neocon victory in Iraq.

William R. Cumming

Although completely unintentional and out of ignorance and incompetence could it be that the USA has led MENA into years of civil strife and turned its attention inwards as opposed to some sort of role on the International Stage beyond its oil wealth? And what are chances that MENA and Iran will focus even more on Israel as its sore thumb?

walrus

1. In relation to Col. Langs post, I believe he is most probably right - not cynical, but realistic.

I would however suggest to readers that there is the tiny possibility that America has accomplished "Nation Building" in Iraq in an unanticipated way.

It is just possible that the shared experience of the American invasion and occupation, horrible as it may have been for many, might be enough to moderate sectarian forces a little. I'm drawing here on Francis Fukuyamas "trust and cooperation" model of national prosperity.

Imagine if you will a more prosperous and democratic Iraq - united in their hatred of America. I know its unlikely to happen, but.......

2. In relation to Dr. Brenners post, I guess he is right that the American mythos will absorb Iraq as an aberration.

My personal view is that the American mythos has about as much truth in it as the Australian equivalent - which is zero.

Being handed a resource rich "empty" country at the beginning of the industrial revolution along with a more modern model of Governance has a lot to do with Americas success - as does avoiding the domestic destruction caused by Two world wars, while enjoying the economic stimulus provided by WWII, had more to do with Americas preeminence.

turcopolier

walrus

"I believe he is most probably right - not cynical, but realistic." That's funny. I am probably one of the least cyical people you have ever met, but I have trained myself to separate hope from analysis, unlike some here. pl

Peter

"Arrest Order for Sunni Leader in Iraq Opens New Rift" reads the front page of the New York times today. What a gift we have given to Mr. Maliki, it only cost lots of dead and wounded on both sides, a cool billion+interest, and lit the fuse.

We are full of historically uneducated people possessing the power to turn the war machine.

William R. Cumming

My understanding is that SECDEF has now announced publically that under NO condition would US allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Clearest statement yet that 2012 could well bring a new war.

turcopolier

WRC

The trouble with that "will not allow' language is that once they pop the first something out in the the desert the whole situation is different because you don't know what you don't know. You don't know exactly what they have and how many. You have to be careful in a way that you weren't before. pl

mac

The timing of the move is significant as it is telling. I think Colonel you once said in reference to another matter, and I'm paraphrasing here, "if u pull one lever here, there's a reaction over there..."

Maliki is a loyal Shia. This is a coordinated push-back on Syria.

Perhaps Tehran thinks it can lose Damascus in exchange for Baghdad?

confusedponderer

IMO, from Iran's point of view, it ought to be Iraq and Syria. This would provide them with an uninterrupted land line to the Mediterranean sea, thus allowing them to reinforce Hezbollah by land, without risk of seizure by US or Israeli warships.

I don't think they are content with losing Damascus while winning Baghdad, but given that dual choice they'd probably pick Baghdad, be it only for the immediate benefit of not having a hostile neighbour to the west. Losing Damascus would make supporting Hezbollah more difficult and costly, which is precisely why Israel and her partisans are so enthusiastic about regime change in Syria.

Despite the antagonism from Sunni states, the Iranians have been making friends around the region for a long time. This emphasis of strategic good relations to whatever friends they can get takes into account their lack of military means. They have played a poor hand rather well. This realistic approach has paid them dividends. The most remarkable dividend so far has been the drawing of Iraq into Iran's orbit.

I wonder, does Iran support Hezbollah out of religious kinship, for the utility or both?

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