Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Democrat's Iraq Strategy or Cold War Rivisited

Before you can understand the strategy, you have to know a few things beyond the nightly sqawks on either side of the aisle peppered with sloganistic jingoism. None of which really indicates what either party sees as the defining purpose, direction and outcome of said plans.

Before Iraq, read about the Eqyptian propaganda war against the Shia and what an Egyptian blogger calls "the coming war between Sunni and Shia": That Train Won't Be Late

The people who read me regularly and know me personally know that I am a believer that the next war in the middle-east won't be fought between the arabs and the jews, but rather between the Sunnis and the Shia. Iran seems to be overstepping its influence in the region, with meddeling in Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain, which is freaking Saudi and the other sunni gulf states out, and for some reason Egypt's as well. It makes sense that the gulf states would want Mubarak to join the effort, since Egypt is the only country in the region wih population to equal Iran's and a military in par with it (What is Egypt now if not a big ,yet not very efficient, military structure?). The Egyptian government (i.e. Mubarak), for its part, has been very big on persecuting the Shia in Egypt.

US Tells Iran To Back Off:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States Tuesday of stirring up conflict between rival Muslim sects to maintain U.S. influence in the Middle East.

"The U.S. intends to cause insecurity and dispute and weaken independent governments in the region to continue with its dominance over the Middle East and achieve its arrogant goals," Ahmadinejad said during a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem.

"The U.S. and Zionist regime have a conspiracy to stir up conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in order to plunder the wealth of the regional nations," the president said, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA.[snip]

Some among the audience of Dubai-based diplomats and analysts complained that American wars in the Middle East were already threatening the region's stability and asked Burns to sort out Iraq and the Israel-Palestinian conflict before turning attention to Iran.

"What we are not interested in is another war in the region," Mohammed al-Naqbi, who heads the Gulf Negotiations Center, told Burns. "Iraq is your problem, not the problem of the Arabs. You destroyed a country that had institutions. You handed that country to Iran. Now you are crying to Europe and the Arabs to help you out of this mess."

West's Iran Plan

While it is too early to say if Tehran will be ready to alter its nuclear course or is simply concerned about Ahmadinejad's extremist image, some experts say it is equally unclear how Mr. Bush will interpret the events in Tehran – and whether or not he will see them as the fruit of diplomacy.

"What we are seeing is the success of American and European pressure. It is not American pressure on its own," says Anatol Lieven, a foreign-policy expert at the New America Foundation in Washington. He sees growing Iranian isolation in the region "as a result of Iran's overambitious and menacing stance."

The turn of events is "an example of multilateralism, not of America working on its own," he says.

Iranian's Love Affair With America

This may be avoided if we actually listen to the voices coming out of Iran. Iranians are overwhelmingly in favor of normalizing relations with the US, but oppose any intervention in their nation's internal affairs. Forces seem to be aligning in favor of direct dialogue between the two estranged governments.

Pragmatic voices are wresting control from both neoconservatives in the US and their fundamentalist counterparts in Iran. Let's hope they win out. Opening up relations with Iran is not appeasement; it's necessary because it allows home-grown demo cratic forces to work on their own terms.

Recall 2004 campaign...

Double Special Forces

He also called for doubling the number of elite US special forces, who have been particularly active in those war zones.[snip]

The new special forces units would be part of a 40,000-troop expansion that Kerry called for last year and would come about through more aggressive recruiting, aides said, although there would be no new financial incentives to help the military fill its ranks.

GWOT is not a conventional war, it is a war of intelligence gathering, global network of allies and semi-allies with similar concerns/expectations and special forces to take out small targets, not big countries.

America should lead by extending a hand, not a fist. (Aug 2004)
American power comes from respect, not weapons. (May 2004)
Excluding other nations in rebuilding Iraq is dumb. (Dec 2003)
Cast a global net for terrorists. (Aug 2004)
Improve intelligence capabilities to counter terrorism. (Aug 2004)
Cut off terrorists funds. (Aug 2004)
Prevent Afghanistan & others from becoming terrorist havens. (Aug 2004)
Add 40,000 troops and double anti-terrorism special forces. (Jul 2004)
Four new imperatives: alliances, modernize, end Mideast oil. (May 2004)
Focus more on human intelligence gathering. (Nov 2003)
Ending Iraq war requires summit including Iran & Syria. (Jun 2006)
Focus on the real war on terror and find bin Laden.

The strategy is very simple:

1) Accept that the Iranians have influence over both the politics and violence in Iraq.
2) Accept that they have more power to sway or control the Shia, at least in so far as cutting off direct money and material support to botht he political apparatus as well as the militia.
3) Give Iran security and economic guarantees in order to get them to back off supplying these forces or at least influence the Iraqi Shia to draw back long enough for the Iraqi government to stabilize and focus on the Sunni while the US withdraws.
4) Shia dominated government will likely negotiate directly and politically with the Sunni to end attacks since the US will be gone and it will be in their interest to do so.
5) If the negotiations at behest of Shia do not work, the Shia dominate the country, the politics, the police and military, thus they may mobilize and brutally put down the Sunni insurgents/Al Qaeda terrorists/Ba'athists (all hopes of the US efforts) in such a way that only Iraqis can do to Iraqis as it is "internal". Hopefully, this does not start until we completely withdraw from the country in order to avoid being tainted.
6) Whether through negotiation or brutal war, Sunni support for Al Qaeda type terrorists and ability to hide/protect camps, travelers, planners, etc would be greatly reduced because the Shia will control Iraq.
7) If it results in Shia v. Sunni internal brutal war in Iraq, the conflict will most likely draw money, material and human support from regional nations as well as regional terrorist organizations, possibly deflecting attention and efforts from western targets or interests while consuming money, material and human support of both regional nations and terrorist organizations.
8) US will work with local allies to beef up defences and intelligence to guard against blow back or terrorists returning to upset allied governments.
9) If internal war between Shia and Sunni is quickly resolved, Iran will still have influence over Iraq which the Saudis, Gulf Arabs and Egypt see as a threat to their security and economy. This may push the Saudis even further to cooperate for protection, but may also deflect "Arab Anger" from US on to other natural allies.
10) Any increase in oil prices from the Iranian hegemony and alliances over OPEC states can be absorbed and is cheaper in the long run than war or continued military efforts. Democrat house will most likely impose serious gas economy standards on automobile makers in a gesture to at least appear like they are taking oil economy seriously. Taxes on oil and income will be raised to pay for all of the above efforts.
11) Use contacts and discussions to forward economic rapproachment with Iran in order to decrease fear of invasion and demand for nuclear weapons. May be able to use economic incentives to influence Iranian support of Hizbullah and even Al qaeda.
12) Reduce "war on terror" efforts back to police/intelligence type endeavors including arresting, extraditing or covertly killing terrorists with either special forces, other country's forces or "risk free" weapons such as missiles or other devices.

That's just the top 12 I can think of based current and previous Democrat comments on Iraq, Iran and the Middle East. It probably extends beyond that.

During a recent conversation, a friend told me he did not think the Democrats could think of all of these potential outcomes and plan for them. Some of them were wishful thinking, some were short sighted and many required deep thinking and reliance on less than trustworthy adversaries. In short, the Democrats were too stupid to think of this in the long term and too smart to imagine they could do it without suffering serious political and economical consequences.

I have to disagree. It's not as if this is a new concept. It's not only a rehash of the Clinton political book, but it is "Cold War" take II, only there is no Great Russian Bear to balance out our super power. It's individual states that were once under the control of the Bear.

The question is, can all of these assumptions hold true? Are we willing to accept the outcome of placing Iran into the exact position of power it wanted all along - regional hegemony over oil producing regional states? Can the Iranians be trusted to reduce funding or cut off completely to both Shia and Sunni terrorists in exchange for higher oil rates and economic incentives? Are the Democrats hoping to turn Iran into the next China? Imagining that the only Iran needs is a good dose of capitalism to turn them into true Democrats?

Tune in again for a discussion of the potential success or fall out of this strategy and why it continues to go unnamed.

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