Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wouldn't It Be Nice

I really have a hard time giving my government in the US, be it Democrat or Republican, much credit for having much foresight or being very bright, despite the presence of intelligent and thoughtful persons who often give the correct analysis and advice which, probably more often than not, is not heeded. What I do think happens more often than not is that events precipitate in such a way that favorable opportunities present themselves. I do believe our involvement in Iraq is such a case...maybe...if our leaders and their advisers notice and act quickly.

Unless you've been living under a rock or are blinded by a particular agenda (ie, "Bush is Hitler," or, conversely, "Bush is the best thing since sliced bread"), you will no doubt know by now that Iraq is in, for all practical purposes, the beginning of a potential civil war between its Shia majority and Sunni minority. Most of the violence in the last six months has been less directed at our troops and more frequently perpetrated by one of these factions against the other. We know that Iran, which borders Iraq to the east, is mostly Shia and has been fuelling, funding, and in most every other way supporting the Shia faction in Iraq; the US and her allies are the only thing standing in the way of the annihilation of the Sunnis...for now. Saudi Arabia, which borders Iraq to the south-west, is mostly Sunni. Could it be?...

Well, one of my weekly reads - and it should be yours too; the link is in the "News Links" on the right - is Spengler, the columnist with near mystical, dispassionate, Machiavellian insight who writes for the Asia Times Online. (Spengler is a nom de plum, taken from Oswald Spengler, the late 19th century-early 20th century German historian, philosopher, and social critic best known for his book The Decline of the West.) Spengler's column from Dec. 5 deals with just the scenario I introduced above. Here's a taste of that article, "Civil Wars, or Proxy Wars:"
...What formerly were civil wars (or prospective civil wars) in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine have become three fronts in a Sunni-Shi'ite war, in which the local contestants are mere proxies....
How does this fit into our plans?
As historian Niall Ferguson observed in his November 27 Los Angeles Times column, "some civil wars never end", although he neglected to add why this is the case: it is because someone on the outside keeps adding fuel to the fire. The classic example is the great German civil war, namely the 30 Years' War of 1618-48. The Catholic and Protestant Germans, with roughly equal strength, battered each other through two generations because France sneakily shifted resources to whichever side seemed likely to fold. I have contended for years that the United States ultimately will adopt the perpetual-warfare doctrine that so well served Cardinal Richelieu and made France the master of Europe for a century...
Spengler then cites Iran's deteriorating economy and social fabric as contributing factors in its obsessive-compulsive stance on acquiring nuclear power and President I'm-in-a-dinner-jacket's increasingly Hitler-esque, anti-Semitic rhetoric:
Iran, I warned on September 13, 2005, is running short of oil and soldiers. Its oil exports could fall to zero within only 10 years, according to new studies reviewed in the December 11 Business Week. Iran's circumstances appear far more pressing than I believed a year ago, when the consensus estimate gave Iran another 20 years' worth of oil exports. Apart from oil, Iran exports only dried fruit, pistachio nuts, carpets, caviar and, more recently, prostitutes.

Iran covets the oil reserves of southeastern Iraq, southern Azerbaijan, and northwestern Saudi Arabia. With 30% youth unemployment, 10% inflation, epidemic prostitution and drug addiction, Iran's fraying social fabric depends on an oil-derived government dole. Within a generation it will have half as many men of military age, and four times as many pensioners. As currently configured, Iran faces economic and demographic collapse eventually. If, as Business Week reports, Iran's oil exports are falling by one-seventh each year, the reckoning might come sooner rather than later. The theocratic regime is a wounded and dangerous beast, prone to hunt outside its own preserve.
Enter the Saudis:
"There are two sorts of rat/The hungry and the fat," wrote Heinrich Heine. The fault line between hungry Iranians and the fat Saudis may take precedence over the civilization divide between Muslims and the West, at least for the time being. That is why the Israelis have rediscovered the 2003 Saudi peace plan. The Saudi kingdom has threatened to intervene on the side of the beleaguered Sunnis of Iraq, and Iran (through Hezbollah) is seeking to overthrow the Saudi-allied government of Lebanon, as well as dominate the rejectionist wing of the Palestinians...

...In late October, Israeli officials, starting with Defense Minister Amir Peretz, cited the 2003 Saudi peace plan as a possible "basis for negotiations". It amounted simply to recognition of Israel by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states in return for Israel's withdrawal to 1967 borders. All this occurred prior to the US elections and the advent of the James Baker-Lee Hamilton Iraq Study Group.
So maybe, just maybe the Baker Commission (I hate the term "study group"...sounds like a bunch of college kids cramming for an exam...) was paying attention - for completely different reasons than the moronic imbeciles in the mainstream press would have us believe. Here's more:
...Iran has sufficient influence among the Palestinians to ensure that Hamas rejects a Palestinian national-unity government, leaving Israel no one with whom to negotiate, and a relatively free hand for the occasional raid. Jerusalem can stretch one hand in peace toward the Saudis, and hammer Iran's ally, Hamas, with the other.
If I read this right (and, more importantly, the bureaucrats in Washington do so as well) this could be a win-win for the US and Israel. I like how Spengler sums it up:
I do not know how close Iran might be to obtaining a deployable nuclear weapon. If it appears close to that goal, either the United States or Israel will attack Iranian nuclear facilities. But if the West as well as the Saudis is confident that nuclear weapons remain out of Iranian reach, the Richelieu strategy of slow and bloody attrition might be just as effective.
As a portent of good things to (hopefully) come, randomly cueing-up right now on my Winamp media player is the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice."

2 Comments:

Blogger Vilmar said...

If Iran is truly running out of oil, guess what? It lends credence to their claim that their desire for nuclear knowledge in order to build nuclear power plants is strengthened in the court of world opinion since most of the world is blindly stupid anyway.

7:56 AM GMT+13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would not believe that Iranian president as much as i believe in hugo chavez (both of these individuals should be Taken out of power. who ever believes that iran is trying to make nuclear power for peace must check out my swamp land in Florida (No offense Joe)

Todd

1:03 PM GMT+13  

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