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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sacrifice Israel to Win Iraq

The deadly stalemate continues in Iraq. But this is a stalemate that can actively lead to a world war if Iraq is allowed to break up.

Instead of going into generalizations here is a scenario for how this could play out. The Shia are by far the biggest section of the population in Iraq, but the Sunnis are the best armed and organized. If the civil war is allowed to continue the Shia will want control of Baghdad. But the Sunnis will fight tooth and nail to prevent them or they end up stuck in a useless, land-locked piece of desert. Given their high level of support from Sunni states and communities around the Middle East, the Sunnis will end up being well armed and supported to defend themselves. In the face of this, Iran will be forced to intervene in kind and help Iraq's Shia, also, with arms. And this will create another bloody stalemate but this time the Sunni regimes and Iran will end up directly involved in the fighting. With Iran being drawn into a war in Iraq, the US will be forced to intervene to protect their oil interests. Now, Iran is not a small country and any conflict with the US is going to be huge. Seeing that their strategic interests are going to be compromised, a war between the US and Iran will draw in Russia (who will certainly not want to see an American ruled Iran) and may go as far as drawing in China. Then things may start to get messy.

So what is the way out? This civil war will continue in earnest until one side or another realizes they will eventually lose. And this will not happen in the current climate where the concentration of the whole region is on Iraq. The Americans, after starting this fire, have become irrelevant. Their army is incapable of controlling one city let alone putting a cap on a civil war. This leaves America with only place where they have any leverage - Israel. By forcing Israel into a humiliating withdrawal from occupied Palestine and the Golan Heights, America will focus the attention of the Arab states away from Iraq and towards the Palestinians. It will give Syria and Iran confidence to turn away from supporting insurgents and accept deals with the US. And the warring parties in Iraq, seeing that they are losing support from outside, will have no other choice but sue for peace.

Of course, this presumes there are still rational thinkers in the American government. Chances are neither scenario will happen. The Americans will dither until they are forced into another rooftop evacuation like Vietnam. The civil war will rumble on till both sides are exhausted and the American people, having no stomach for war, will simply sit by and watch every vestige of American influence in the Middle East disappear.


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