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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Iraq War Increases Danger to Israel

The letter is famous (or infamous) by now. It was written on behalf of members of the Project for a New American Century and signed by people like Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle. These people felt that Bill Clinton needed a good talking to and laid out their grand strategy for what amounts to post-soviet world domination.

The world would be safer without Saddam Hussein, they argued. The middle east would be stabilized and the world's only superpower would have one less global problem to worry about.

"It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard," the PNAC visionaries wrote -- with emphasis on Israel, being the only nation mentioned by name in the paragraph.

Things didn't turn out that way. Saddam is gone and the middle east is worse off -- less stable and far more anti-US than it's ever been.

And Israel? Turns out they're worse off as well.

The middle east ten years from now, as envisioned by Mubashar Jawed Akbar, Editor-in-Chief of The Asian Age, in the Washington Post:

Iraq in 2017 will be an overwhelmingly Shia-majority nation, with most Arab Sunnis having migrated to Jordan, Palestine or a much-altered Saudi Arabia. Sunni Kurds will remain in their province, but under watch since Baghdad, Damascus, Istanbul and Tehran will cooperate to shut out any hopes of Kurdish independence. Iraq will be part of an Iran-led economic-military alliance that will stretch from the border of Afghanistan to the border of Syria and Jordan. It will probably also include Bahrain as its Dubai oasis: an outpost for finance, paper, and leisure for those Shias who might find domestic laws a trifle too restrictive for their weekends.

The Iraqi armed forces, now strengthened by the inclusion of Shias who fought to defeat Bush's armies in partnership with Iran, will raise confrontation with Israel to the top of its agenda. The Iraqi army will still be equipped by the mountain of weapons that George Bush left behind, on the assumption that he was arming a friendly force or simply because it was too dangerous to lug back so much weaponry along roads and routes over which America had lost control.

You don't have to be the Amazing Kreskin to see that coming. Which is why Jawed Akbar isn't the only one to see it.

McClatchy Newspapers:

After years of supporting the Bush administration's policy in the Middle East, a growing number of Israelis are openly criticizing the United States for creating more, not less, danger for Israel.

Israeli experts contend that American policies have destabilized Iraq, emboldened anti-Western forces from Iran to Lebanon and paved the way for militant Islamists to gain control of the Palestinian Authority.

"The threats to Middle East security and stability worsened in 2006," experts at Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies recently warned. "The American failure in Iraq has hurt the standing of the U.S. in the Middle East."

"There's no Israeli interest being served by continued American presence in Iraq," said Mark A. Heller, a Jaffee Center researcher. So far, the war has been bad for Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Darfur, Somalia, Ethiopia, and countries as far removed as Chad. It no longer serves anyone's interests to fight in Iraq -- other than islamic extremists, that is. Iraq has become both a recruiting tool and a training ground for them.

If we pull out now, Iraq will be in civil war. If we pull out later, Iraq will be in civil war. At this point, it's inevitable. There's a nation named 'Iraq' in only a theoretical sense now; it's a failed state with no control over what happens within it's borders or even over what its own military does. Iraqi soldiers owe more allegiance to sectarian causes than to the government of Iraq. Iraq is already gone and the odds of democracy rising from its ashes are slim to none.

There's no longer any reason for the US to be in Iraq. It's a war without purpose -- no WMD, no Saddam anymore. And it follows that a war without purpose is a war without goals. At this point, the strategy seems to be to keep stirring the pot until something we like happens. Almost no one argues that Iraq will be a liberal, jeffersonian democracy anymore and almost no one can say what 'better' is in any realistic sense.

The war in Iraq is over. There is no 'better' -- not as long as we're there. Our presence creates a backlash, a resistance movement. I've said it again and again, but we're just one more militia in Iraq at his point. We're present only to oppose and, as a result, only defend a bloody status quo that serves almost no one -- certainly not Israel, Iraq, or the US.


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