Friday, November 11, 2005

The problem in Iraq is that the two objectives of the US in the region - confronting Iran and confronting terrorism are at odds. In order to confront terrorism there must be stable control over central Iraq. The most likely candidate to exercise such control is a centralized Shiite government. However such a government would be pro-Iranian. There is an alternative. There must be a counterweight to Iran. It used to at least partially be Iraq. Iraq once shielded Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from Iran. It demanded money and respect for this function, but it did fulfill it. Since Iraq is now broken, somebody else must do this job (if the US takes this job then its deployment in Iraq will be near permanent). The break-up of Iraq, as well as the current position of the Sunni Arabs allows the possibility of the intervention of the Arab League, or more specifically Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia (and the GCC) on the side of the Iraqi Sunnis. The fact that Syria is currently very weak means that it probably will not be able to prevent such an intervention even if it wanted to. Were this to lead to an Egyptian deployment in central Iraq, supported by Jordanian supply lines and connections in the region and by GCC money, then perhaps such a counterweight can be found again. In addition the Arab League intervention, if it was led by Egypt and Jordan, could secure central Iraq and prevent it from being used as a terrorist staging ground. Hopefully the former elements of the Iraqi government can come together around the Arab League intervention and create a stable structure in central Iraq. How does this work? For a start the presence of the Arab League should give the Sunnis a much more powerful voice in the government, limiting the role of Iran. In addition the Egyptian, Jordanian and Sunni Iraqi intelligence operatives can conduct clandestine operations against the pro-Iranian factions in the Iraqi government. The Americans can withdraw to Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar and leave the Arabs to deal with the Islamists. Let the Egyptians run Abu Ghraib.

This is a short-term solution to limit Iran's influence in Iraq. Iran has the chance to become way too powerful in a very sensitive region of the world. So, in the longer term the Iranians will have to be confronted and its government will need to be deposed.


Blogger E$ said...

Given Iran's rush to develop nuclear weapons, does it make sense to confront Iran sooner rather than later?

By the way, what is GCC?

11:14 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

GCC = Gulf Cooperation Council. Member state are: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE. Its really just a vehicle for the Saudis, since they are the overwhelming power in the organization. The headquarters are in Riyadh.

Iran will need to be confronted sooner or later. It makes sense to do it sooner, but the US military is just about tied up in Iraq. Nothing is going to happen in the UNSC because either the Chinese or the Russians will veto. So, there is nothing that can be done at present. Also any premature aggressive behaviour towards Iran will translate into an increase in attacks on US&UK soldiers in Iraq. Besides, good luck selling another WMD war to the US public. Especially when the prez is sitting at 37% approval ratings... To recap: there is no will and no means to execute this war at present. The Iranians are safe for at least 3 years.

4:17 PM  

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