Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Opening the gates of hell - Wall Street Journal

David Seaton's News Links
When "Bush41", James Baker and Brent Scowcroft decided not to go all the way to Baghdad at the end of the First Gulf War it was because they knew that the possibilities of exactly the sort of catastrophe facing "Bush43" today were high. This was not because these men were especially clairvoyant or were "speaking in tongues", but because that was the opinion of most people with deep knowledge of the region. The potential for disaster in Mesopotamia has been evident from the days of T.E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell. In other words the idea that Iraq could fall apart and take with it the entire jerrybuilt construction that Sykes and Picot had cobbled together out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire was not exactly "rocket science", but in reality the opinion of most reputable experts at the time. Therefore, if only as hypothesis, I think we might begin to contemplate the idea that this disaster has been deliberately provoked. By whom?

The "usual suspects" in all the popular conspiracy theories surrounding the invasion of Iraq have always been "Oil and Israel". What could this "dynamic duo" possibly gain from such a hecatomb and horror? To begin with, if all the Muslims begin to fight with each other everywhere, the pressure on Israel to evacuate "Judea and Samaria" would lessen dramatically. What about the price of oil rocketing over $100 a barrel? Well, that would mean some huge profits for oil companies and remember that if Texas were an independent republic it would be a major member of OPEC... after all,
Texas was the first "Saudi Arabia". Sound nutty? You bet it does! Nuttier than the great "democratic renaissance" of the Middle East? "May you live in interesting times," is a famous Chinese curse. DS
Allies See 'Nightmare' In Iraq - Wall Street Journal - pg A1
Abstract: As President Bush prepares to unveil his latest Iraq strategy, Arab allies are worried about what might happen if the plan fails: that worsening strife could engulf the entire region, sparking a wider war in the middle of the world's largest oil patch. The potential of a much larger regional conflict that pits Sunnis against Shiites is increasingly on the minds of both Arab leaders and U.S. military planners, according to regional diplomats and U.S. officials. Some are calling such a possible outcome the "nightmare scenario." A wider conflict appears more plausible now because, even as Iraq is separating along sectarian lines, regional dynamics are shoving neighboring nations into two rival camps. On one side is a Shiite-led arc running from Iran into central Iraq, through Syria and into Lebanon. On the other side lie American allies Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, along with Persian Gulf states such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. These Sunni regimes are horrified at the emerging, increasingly radicalized Shiite bloc, largely financed and inspired by Iran, Arab diplomats say.(...) The Saudis have warned the Bush administration that they are prepared to aid the Sunni militias in Iraq if the Sunni population there becomes imperiled, a Saudi diplomat said. Jordanian officials have told the Pentagon that they may move troops into Iraq's uninhabited western desert as a buffer if events there spiral out of control, according to U.S. military officials. Turkish officials, who are grappling with a separatist Kurdish movement in their country, say they would oppose the creation of an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq. They also say they are prepared to defend Iraq's Turkmen population, who share a common ethnicity with Turkey's majority population, should it come under attack. Even Syria, which the U.S. alleges has been abetting the conflict, is expressing alarm over the potential fracturing of Iraq.(...) The U.S. is also pushing a wide-ranging strategy to persuade its Sunni allies that it is serious about counteracting the rise of Iran -- in exchange for Arab help in Iraq and the Palestinian territories. Key to the effort is the continued promise to keep U.S. forces in Iraq for as long as necessary. But the U.S. is also beefing up U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and plans to deepen security cooperation with Gulf allies. The Pentagon has proposed sending a second carrier battle group to the Gulf region. There are also advanced plans under way to knit together the air-defense systems of the six smaller Gulf states, including Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, and to build a U.S.-administered missile-defense system. Similarly, the Air Force is laying plans to step up exercises with Arab allies in the region. One proposal calls for the U.S. to hold combined air exercises with Oman and the UAE.(...) Under one scenario, sketched by Mr. White of the Iraq Study Group, Iraq's Shiites would launch an extensive campaign to drive the Sunnis out of large areas of central Iraq. Fearing a rout of the Sunni population, Saudi Arabia would finance a large-scale counteroffensive, funneling aid to former Iraqi military officers through Jordan, which has longstanding ties to Iraq's Sunni military class. Egypt would do its part by providing guns, munitions, artillery and vehicles. "What people forget is that the Sunnis comprise nearly the entire top brass of the former Iraqi army and nearly all of the old Republican Guard," says Mr. White. "You give them the guns and proper equipment and they will become a formidable force against the Shiite militias." The possibility of a full-blown civil war in Iraq dissolving into a regional conflict "is a scenario that nearly everyone was rejecting just a few months ago," he says. "Not anymore." READ IT ALL (subscription)

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