January 11, 2007

Bush Speech (VII)

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region. [emphasis added]

What does some of this highlighted language mean? That we are going to crack down on the Mahdi Militia? The Badr Organization? Some in Maliki's Dawa who will likely be getting increasingly alienated by U.S. forces restraining Shi'a revanchism? That we're going to make the borders with Iran and Syria convincingly less porous (with 4,000 more troops to Anbar, what a joke!). That we're going to disrupt the rat-lines between Iraq and Syria, as well as between Iraq and Iran? That we're going after Iran's al-Quds Islamic Revolutionary Guards? Any hot pursuit ROE across borders (I can smell the Ledeens salivating from up here in Manhattan)?

Folks, this is really either (more likely) a bunch of hot air (additional carrier strike group, destroying "networks", etc), masquerading as resolve (as Teheran and Damascus will likely smell out), or the beginning of a collosal blunder of epic proportions well beyond the very significant fiasco and disaster we've already witnessed in Iraq. With this team one can't really ever know, of course, a fearful reality indeed as we run out the clock until January '09.

Given political realities, however, not to mention capacity constraints (putting it mildly) I'm still putting my chips on hot air rather than 'go wide.' Still, there are real risks here, not least the increased likelihood that we'll be finding ourselves pitted against the Mahdi Army in brutal urban combat in relatively short order, which Tom Ricks broaches here, and which via miscalculation and escalation could lead to some very unsavory outcomes. More on that soon.

Posted by Gregory at January 11, 2007 02:24 PM
Comments

Any hot pursuit ROE across borders (I can smell the Ledeens salivating from up here in Manhattan)?

You know, it's funny you say that...

Posted by: Ned Raggett at January 11, 2007 03:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Given political realities, however, not to mention capacity constraints (putting it mildly) I'm still putting my chips on hot air rather than 'go wide.'

looks like you might be wrong. According to the BBC, Bushco is simply throwing the entire rulebook out in an effort to provoke Iran...

US forces storm Iranian consulate

That's right... we've now BECOME the Iranians circa 1979, when they attacked our embassy and held America diplomatic personnel hostage.

"Insane" doesn't begin to cover this --- it would be one thing to get the Kurds to close the Iranian consulate, and expel their diplomats --- but we've just told the entire world that its open season on American (and allied) diplomats....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at January 11, 2007 03:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It does make perverse sense, in an Animal House kind of way. The gang of fuckups is finally getting kicked off campus, and they are going to go out with a bang. Syria? You're a dead man. Iran? You're a dead man. Think of Bush as President Bluto Blutarsky.

Posted by: blah at January 11, 2007 06:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Before we pick a fight with the most powerful militia in Baghdad, a decision guaranteed to cause a DRAMATIC rise in casualties, we need to ask if taking down Sadr is really going to fix Iraq.

Personally, I do not think it will, atleast not in any meaningful sense. Shifting our war against the Shi'ia in Baghdad may lull the sectarian conflict, focusing all the hatred against us. It could change, or slightly alter, the dynamic from a civil war with US referee's to an emboldened and intensified national insurgency.

The body counts will be too high, and the public will demand a withdrawl. Then we may leave behind a country that deeply hates the United States... and which may again collapse into civil strife.

I think of Algeria's national movement, when Berbers and Arabs united to repulse the French, and then afterwards restarted their own conflict.

All speculation, of course... but I would hate to see our men/women sacrificed for something like this.

Posted by: Neal Murray at January 11, 2007 06:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

In full realization that not predicting disaster or failing to be pessimistic in general makes me ineligible for membership in the Just Ever so Much More Clever than Bush Society, let me point put a couple of relevant items:

1. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs made it clear today that however we characterize the current effort (the surge, the change in rules of engagement and getting tough with Iran and Syria) we are not planning any major cross-border activities. Neither Iran or Syria wants a confrontation that might force us to expand the regional effort so to speak and neither do we. The risk of a bigger war at this time seems remote.

2. Nevertheless, Syria and Iran will try to kill Americans and undermine democracy in the Islamic world whether we advance or retreat, talk or don't talk. Those regimes cannot survive in an environment where democracy is gaining. We should have no qualms about responding in measure and in kind.

3. The attack on the consulate was appropriate. Iran has not respect ed US diplomatic rights and should not expect us to permit their "diplomatic" missions to be used as cover to kill our soldiers and allies.

4. John Kerry's utterly vapid remarks today about political solutions while expressly calling for shrinking the scope of military options is so detached from the realities of the incentive structure of our adversaries that I do not believe he believes it himself. People who fantasize about discovering good will and common ground with Assad and Ahmadinejad should first tell us how they will motivate and move those guys. But to strike a deliberate pose of weakness and old-fashioned Anti-Vietnam War moral narcissism and expect our enemies to see the light as a result is absurd.

5. When Gen Petraeus rapidly moves thru bad neighborhoods in the coming weeks will anybody note that he will be employing the rules of engagement that Rumsfeld wanted to deploy from the beginning? The fuzzy half-measures that emanated from the Green Zone may be over at last.

6. If the Shias continue to turn against Iranian involvement, if Al Qaeda guys die at faster rates, if the Sunnis follow the growing example set in Anbar and Iraq finally takes shape, what will happen to our national debate? I know it just has to be a failure so how can we move the goal line right to make sure it is a failure in case events don't move in a solidly anti-Bush fashion? After all, sustaining the feeling of being morally and intellectually superior to Bush et al. is vastly more important than actual outcomes. The Club should have a contingency plan...

Posted by: George T at January 11, 2007 09:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs made it clear today that however we characterize the current effort (the surge, the change in rules of engagement and getting tough with Iran and Syria) we are not planning any major cross-border activities. Neither Iran or Syria wants a confrontation that might force us to expand the regional effort so to speak and neither do we. The risk of a bigger war at this time seems remote.

You might have included something to support this. Like this. The second source describes some encouraging boundary setting:

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee warned the Bush administration that it does not have congressional authority to attack Iran.

"That will generate a constitutional confrontation in the Senate, I predict to you," Sen. Joseph Biden, D- Del., told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Thursday.

Y'know, if I were a right-winger, smug is just about the last attitude I'd take toward war sceptics. I think I'd be more inclined to feel embarrassed about everything I got wrong. And I think I'd be a little more accurate about what the other side is saying. Bush has an extensive history of horrifically bad judgement, so it's reasonable to worry about what what he's going to do about Iran. In addition, he's doing nothing to ratchet down what could be a very dangerous confrontation, which offers many, many, many opportunities for miscalculation. It's no mark of wisdom to reduce your own options, to box yourself into a corner.

Tell me, if Bush is such an underappreciated genius, what the hell is the harm in sitting down with the Iranians and Syrians, and jawwing with them? If we have such a strategic genius in the White House, we ought to be able to take the wogs to the cleaners, no?

Posted by: sglover at January 11, 2007 10:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Speaking only for myself, I'd answer George T's question by saying that I will be delighted if we throw a succession of double sixes in the next few months and Iraq does, to use his phrase, take shape.

Having said that, my personal goal line for failure in Iraq was crossed when we still had to maintain a army there in 2005. It hasn't really moved since. 450-plus billion dollars of borrowed money poured down the Iraqi rathole, just by itself, means for me that we are past the goal line for failure, out the stadium entrance, through the parking lot and standing in a pasture about 20 miles out of town.

Posted by: Zathras at January 11, 2007 10:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

20,000 troops is utterly pathetic. There are 135,000 troops there now, and there were 152,000 several weeks ago. A surge of 20K is nowhere near enough --- it would take 150,000 or more, and there's no way in hell we can muster that without a draft (even with a draft, it would take a LONG time). We've screwed ourselves and this surge idea isn't going to work.

On the plus side, however, Petraeus does seem intelligent and at least I would think we'll be using our troops a bit more effectively than we have.

Posted by: Mitsu at January 12, 2007 12:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Let's be reality-based here.

What the highlighted language means, what the whole passage means, is that we ARE going wide.

Lord have mercy on us. Not that we deserve it.

Posted by: dell at January 12, 2007 01:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I know it just has to be a failure so how can we move the goal line right to make sure it is a failure in case events don't move in a solidly anti-Bush fashion? After all, sustaining the feeling of being morally and intellectually superior to Bush et al. is vastly more important than actual outcomes. The Club should have a contingency plan...


Yes sir, you got it. You found us out. This has NOTHING to do with Iraq or US Foreign Policy.

No, no, it just a front for us to brag about how much smarter we are than our commander, whose intellectual fortitude makes us so jealous that we, like the school bully, must knock him down to make us feel big.

Of course, believing that requires one to forget the fact that 92% of Americans, including myself, were 100 percent behind the president on September 12th, 2001. But hey, what are mere facts worth, right?

Bush has invited all scorn upon himself, and if it were not for apologists like you providing him with political cover during the crucial years between 2003-2005, maybe Iraq would be a better place.

My question for you:

If Bush kidnaps your wife/child/sibling/pet , marinates it with tabasco, and then eats it in front of you, will you then turn against him?

Posted by: NealMurray at January 12, 2007 02:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh and btw...

Events are not "anti-Bush".

I do not think that an Iraqi man, tortured to death at the hands of thugs and criminals, is dying solely to make Bush look bad.

Please have some decency.

Posted by: NealMurray at January 12, 2007 02:28 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Y'know, if I were in Ali's corner, smug is just about the last attitude I'd take toward boxing sceptics. I think I'd be more inclined to feel embarrassed about everything I got wrong. And I think I'd be a little more accurate about what the other side is saying. Ali has an extensive history of horrifically bad judgement, so it's reasonable to worry about what what he's going to do about Frazier. In addition, he's doing nothing to ratchet down what could be a very dangerous confrontation, which offers many, many, many opportunities for miscalculation. It's no mark of wisdom to reduce your own options, to box yourself into a corner.


Posted by: neill at January 12, 2007 06:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Folks, this is really either (more likely) a bunch of hot air (additional carrier strike group, destroying "networks", etc), masquerading as resolve (as Teheran and Damascus will likely smell out), or the beginning of a collosal blunder of epic proportions well beyond the very significant fiasco and disaster we've already witnessed in Iraq.

I really want to think its all a bunch of hot air. But with Bush dissing the ISG in favor of escalation, Dr. Kissinger darkening the corridors of power again, and Democratic congresscritters at the gate... I really don't know at this point. And that scares me.

Posted by: Doug H. at January 12, 2007 08:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

another thing noticed in watching Bush people try and explain plan: no one in press seems to question them when they say they have 'confidence' this time that al-Maliki intends to follow through on promises - question as in: 1] maybe he doesn't have the wherewithal to follow through no matter what his intentions [likely scenario] ; or 2] maybe he's setting the US up for a fall that will precipitate their departure and leave the Shiites free to begin the slaughter [scary scenario].

Posted by: saintsimon at January 12, 2007 12:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

well, the good news is that oil futures fell by $2/barrel yesterday. If the big money players were concerned that Bush would be allowed to start a war with Iran, futures would have gone up. Consequently, one has to assume that the oil markets have received assurances that Bush will not be permitted to act in a way that threatens the world's oil supplies....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at January 12, 2007 01:01 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You folks should read Bing West's article Streetwise in the Atlantic Monthly. He describes some concrete counterinsurgency methods that have actually worked in parts of Iraq (e.g., Al Qaim) and how the whole project can be radically improved. Sounds more practical than going hat-in-hand to Iran to ask them to stop fueling violence in Iraq. Hopefully, someone in the White House has read it. Maliki is still a weak link, but West suggests a few plausible ways to keep him from impeding effective counterinsurgency efforts in the future.

Posted by: Dave at January 12, 2007 01:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

At this point, I've just about decided that Barney the WH dog (not the dinosaur) is ever so much more clever than Bush. Jeez. I wonder how many stupid decisions someone has to make before the rest of us are allowed to call him stupid. If there a chart of some kind we can consult?

From Ezra Klein: "Indeed, our willingness to overextend our power has done nothing but expose its limits. And our incompetent management of our foreign affairs has further illuminated our essential weakness. Now Iran, and North Korea, and all manner of other 'rogue' nations realize our army lacks manpower, understands we can't occupy even a weak nation like Iraq (much less them), sees that our polity is divided and our president weak and our people exhausted by battle and war. The 'Power Party,' in other words, has degraded America's power."

What he said, with the addition of demonstrated incompetence at every level of government before, during and after Katrina. If anything emboldens our enemies more than what we've done in Afghanistan and Iraq, it's got to be seeing real-time footage of American citizens sitting in the refugee camps that were the Superdome and the convention center, waiting for some government (which we pay handsomely for such things) to get to the "recovery" part of "disaster recovery."

Posted by: LL at January 12, 2007 05:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

LL quotes Klien: "Now Iran, and North Korea, and all manner of other 'rogue' nations realize our army lacks manpower, understands we can't occupy even a weak nation like Iraq (much less them)"

Better to learn about the difficulties of occupation against a 'weak nation like Iraq' than a stronger nation such as Iran or N. Korea, no? Although it may be true that Bush missed a chance to cash in on Iran's fears in '03 (if the story about Iran begging for negotiations through the Swiss then is accurate), I don't see a huge blow to our deterrence against N.Korea, Iran or other rogue states due to Iraq. Here's why.

Before Afghanistan and Iraq, were North Korea, Iran or any other countries really worried about us invading and occupying them? I doubt it. They knew how small our Army and Marine Corps are, and how impatient Americans can get with extended wars. A greater fear for rogue states has always been our naval and air supremacy, and nothing has happened to lessen those fears. I would argue that Iran and N.Korea actually have more to fear now.

Iran saw how we combined special ops, lethally accurate air power, and local proxies to depose a regime next door in a matter of weeks. Imagine, in a worst-case scenario, how the same combination could work in Iran. Certainly there are a number of candidates for interested local proxies (e.g., Kurds, Azeris, Baluchis, etc.).

With respect to N.Korea, they are more vulnerable to carrier-based aircraft than any adversary we're likely to face. Think of the volume of sorties carrier based planes were able launch into Iraq from the Gulf with 5 aircraft carriers; we could launch a higher volume of sorties from fewer flat-tops against N.Korea, since our carriers could be so much closer to the targets, on either side of the peninsula. I doubt Noko is any more eager to start an invasion of the south after Iraq. Countering their proliferation is a different issue, but not one made worse by Iraq, IMO. See, for example, Bush's Proliferation Security Initiative, where France and other nations opposed to Iraq have contributed naval assets to work with us.

Posted by: Dave at January 12, 2007 09:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

do you notice the emphasis being put on the the dynamics of the surge?
ie: that the Iraqis will go in first with US cautiously filling in behind - and this is supposed to calm doubts I suppose by suggesting that if the Iraqis fuck up our troops will have opportunity to get the hell outta there? - this seems to make sense except that it doesn't at all : if victory in Iraq is so important why lead with your weakest elements - and tell your enemy that you'll be leading with your weakest elements? It's absurd - this surge is either stunningly ill conceived - or it's a lie, an illusion.

Posted by: saintsimon at January 12, 2007 09:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

RE Dave at January 12, 2007 09:16 PM: Sure, and I don't think Klein meant (that was just an excerpt from a longer post) that North Korea and Iran are now under the illusion that they can seriously, directly threaten us with no consequences. But I think his point is well-taken, that if this is as good as we can do in a war of choice against a relatively weak country, how good could we be against a much larger, better prepared, better armed one that could see us coming from far away? The Iranians and Koreans have radar and satellites too, if I'm not mistaken. Bombing is all fine and well and we do it better than anyone, but winning a war takes more than bombing.

And I'm not sure that the families of the killed and injured, here and in Iraq, would put this war in the win column.

Also, it's one thing to depose a country's leader, quite another to "secure" that country in a meaningful (ie, reality-based) way that is helpful to us in terms of creating stability in a volatile area. Unless Bush's cunning plan all along was to make Iraq a hellish warscape. If so, then mission accomplished.

Whatever Bush intended/intends to happen in Iraq, only a crazy and/or stupid person would think that an invasion of Iran is the next logical step. Right now, I'm not sure Bush isn't both stupid and crazy.

Posted by: LL at January 12, 2007 09:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

that the Iraqis will go in first with US cautiously filling in behind - and this is supposed to calm doubts I suppose by suggesting that if the Iraqis fuck up our troops will have opportunity to get the hell outta there?

Or that the new ROE give the US military the latitude to presume that deserters are militiamen and to shoot accordingly.

Posted by: JM at January 12, 2007 11:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

LL,

What country do you envision we will need to "occupy" or "secure" in the future? The only type of foreign policy which requires that is either: a) a humanitarian-inspired deployment (which we don't need to do); or b) a nation-building/democratizing project of the sorts we are attempting in Afghanistan and Iraq (which we clearly won't be attempting elsewhere any time soon).

Our shortcomings in rebuilding countries don't detract from our ability to debilitate or destroy existing regimes -- we're quite good at that. I think you'll see more of an emphasis on destroying enemies (with the combination of local proxies, special ops, and lethally accurate air power that I mentioned previously) in the future. As an example, I don't expect any strenuous efforts by us to stabilize Somalia after the Jihadists are routed. Why should we risk men and waste more than a token amount of money on such a thankless task?

Dave


Posted by: Dave at January 13, 2007 12:03 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You know, Zathras, this was actually quite amusing:
450-plus billion dollars of borrowed money poured down the Iraqi rathole, just by itself, means for me that we are past the goal line for failure, out the stadium entrance, through the parking lot and standing in a pasture about 20 miles out of town.

As to this from the delusional fool:
6. If the Shias continue to turn against Iranian involvement

Continue..... I continue to find it amazing the extent to which the Right Bolshevik crowd manages to convince themselves, in the manner of the old Red Bolsheviks that their strange fantasies and ficitons are in fact reality.

I would note, however the pot shots at "right wingers" - aimed at the delusional one - seems to me misplaced; Right Bolshies perhaps, but that is not a synonym.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at January 13, 2007 12:40 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It's absurd - this surge is either stunningly ill conceived - or it's a lie, an illusion.

here is how this was supposed to work....

Bushco will allow the Iraqi Army (i.e. Shiite militias in official uniforms) to "secure" Baghdad from Sunni insurgents (in other words, ethnically cleanse Baghdad). One that is accomplished, we'll go in with other parts of the Iraqi Army (Kurdish militias in official uniforms) to take out the Mahdi Army.... and almost immediately find compelling (albeit phony) evidence that Iran is behind the resistance of the Mahdi Army.... giving Bushco the excuse it needs to bomb the crap out of Iran....

of course, this isn't going to go over well with any of the Shiites in Iraq, which will give us the excuse to bomb the crap out of the Shias in Iraq.

Basically, Bushco wants a "do-over" PLUS.... bomb the crap out of Iran, then bomb Iraq into submission..... then install Allawi or somebody and leave.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at January 13, 2007 01:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As an Iranian, I am glad that an American government is finally confronting Iran. I am not advocating attacking Iran, but Americans should attack Iranian interests in Iraq. How much more freedom should we allow them in Iraq? how much more proof do we need that Iran IS involved in Iraq? We are finally seeing some real activities from Bush administration regarding Iran, Their recent move to block the most prominent Iranian banks are just the right move and I am glad to see EU is kind of behind it.
Wake up America! Iran had declared war against America 26 years ago when Khomeini came to the picture and people started chanting "Death to america"...Iran fears power and no country has so far shown any real power against Iran. Clinton administration's policy was to keep apologizing for the past mistake until Iran begins to love us. That did not happen. Senior Bush did nothing and Carter thought Khomeini was "Gandhi" like (read Carters biography)...so far America has not act like a super power. I hope they are finlayy doing it.

Posted by: Frieda at January 13, 2007 04:38 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As an Iranian, I am glad that an American government is finally confronting Iran. I am not advocating attacking Iran, but Americans should attack Iranian interests in Iraq. How much more freedom should we allow them in Iraq? how much more proof do we need that Iran IS involved in Iraq?

did you ever stop to consider that the Iraqi government wants Iran "involved" in their country? That Iraq has no problem with Iran providing training for militias (and since you claim to be Iranian, I guess I have to explain to you that Americans have the right to bear arms are part of "well-regulated militias")?

Like most wingnuts, you seem to think that Iraq is the property of the United States. Its not. Iraqis have their own interests --- and first and foremost the vast majority of Iraqi's believe that their interests are best served by an end to the American occupation of Iraq.

Shiite militias, and the involvement of Iran with those militias, aren't dangerous to Iraq -- they are dangerous for the US occupation of Iraq.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at January 13, 2007 08:11 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The more I visit the comments section here, the more many of the comments remind me of letters to the Editor of the NY Times: a shrill echo chamber of Bush-bashing. I get it, the majority of you despise the president and have a near-fawning appreciation of G.D.'s musings.

Do you have anything insightful or reflective to say beyond that? Let me give you a chance to steer this discussion in a more interesting direction. Let me pose a hypothetical situation and question to you.

You are a senior adviser to President Bush. You have directed him to Belgravia Dispatch and he has seen the light: he is ready to sit down and negotiate with Iran. What should suggest he ask Iran to do in these negotiations? What incentives do you suggest he give the Iranians for doing what he wants? How do you suggest the President deal with Iraqi officials who resent him talking to their neighbor about matters that effect Iraq?

Posted by: Dave at January 13, 2007 12:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ah, the exiles.

Worst possible people to take advice from really, their passions are not clear judgements, and their emotions lead to foolishness

But it is American interest that should govern policy, not exiles reactions.

Americans should attack Iranian interests in Iraq. How much more freedom should we allow them in Iraq? how much more proof do we need that Iran IS involved in Iraq?

The Americans should be concerned about what enables a moderate degree of stability and prevents them from becoming targetted by the Shia majority.

Attacking Iranian interests serves no real American interest, and will only serve to alienate significant armed factions in Iraq that at present are "not enemies" of the moment.

We are finally seeing some real activities from Bush administration regarding Iran, Their recent move to block the most prominent Iranian banks are just the right move and I am glad to see EU is kind of behind it.

Irrelevant and won't do a bloody thing, in the end. Iranian financial interests will merely pass through Dubai.

Indeed, when I was there for some financial business before Ramadan, the Iranian financiers were massively present.

Emotion, not reason, is driving your whinging on.

Wake up America! Iran had declared war against America 26 years ago when Khomeini came to the picture and people started chanting "Death to america"...

Americans would be well served not to pay attention to the emotive baying of exiles with their own agendas.

The Iranian revolution is a fact of history, the US would be better served acting like an adult nation and working with that fact of history, above all as there is no sign (excluding among the deluded exile communities' fevered imaginings) that the regime will collapse.

Iran fears power and no country has so far shown any real power against Iran.

Any country fears power.

That doesn't mean use of military power against the counry is well advised as a means of achieving one's long term interests.

Indeed, rather there are many reasons to take the position that such confrontations often have nasty unintended consequences, and thus are high risk manuevers to be saved for absolute necessity.


Clinton administration's policy was to keep apologizing for the past mistake until Iran begins to love us. That did not happen. Senior Bush did nothing and Carter thought Khomeini was "Gandhi" like (read Carters biography)...so far America has not act like a super power. I hope they are finlayy doing it.

Charming the exiles, they have such fevered imaginations and creative ways to try to sell their self interest.

Posted by: The Lounsbury at January 13, 2007 12:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Shiite militias, and the involvement of Iran with those militias, aren't dangerous to Iraq -- they are dangerous for the US occupation of Iraq."

Shiite militias may seem quite dangerous to those Iraqis who keep getting holes drilled into their heads by Shiite militiamen.

"Ah, the exiles.

Worst possible people to take advice from really, their passions are not clear judgements, and their emotions lead to foolishness."

Far better to listen to Americans who don't know how to spell "judgment".

Posted by: Dave at January 13, 2007 12:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ah, the uninformed Americans,
Pro-Iranian Iraqis are in the minority in Iraq. They may have the power in the South but the average Iraqis are not pro-iranians and the resentment is growing more when they see most of the killings is financed by Iranians. Talk to any Kurdish people, Iran is the enemy. The Iranian people are also tired to see their government is pumping $10 million a week into Iraq insurgency (by the way, helping Sunnis and Shiites both) while majority of population in Iran is suffering from unemployment and other economical disasters.

I am not in exile..I have family in Iran, Kuwait and Iraq. I travel to Iran every 2-3 years, and I do want America's help in bringing democratic changes in the Region. For so many years, Americans protected the dictators in the region and let the people in the region to suffer, and no Liberal organization protest that. How come? It is Americans interests to help the "fear societies" to become "free societies". This war will be a win-win situation in the long term and there will be some mistakes. Too bad Americans have little patience becuase they believe what the media feeds them...Look at Japan and Germany...how long did it take them to stand on their own. Do you regret helping them?

Posted by: Frieda at January 13, 2007 05:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

All:

I do not know who this Freida character is (why, BTW, a German name?) but, as an Iranian, I emphatically disagree with her (him). Iran now has had the best government that it has had for the past 2000 years. This government has successfully amalgamated the principles of Islam and the Principles of Republicanism; thus closing the breach in the souls of the Muslims.

Iran is not an ideological state by the Western conceptions - it is a religious polity and state - a country of Shia for the Shia. In fact, if you look at the religious map of the Near East you will see that the boundaries of Iran coincides pretty well with the distribution of Shia. Excepting Southern Lebanon & Western Hijaz, the Shia areas that are currently not ruled from Tehran used to be parts of Iran; i.e. South and Central Iraq, Azerbaijan Republic, Western Afghanistan, and Bahrain.

US had tried to overthrow the Islamic Government since 1980: She instigated the Iraq's war against us and supported Iraq to the hilt, massacred Iranian airline passengers with her Robo-Cruiser called USS Vincennes under Reagan. Under Clinton, US tried to bankrupt us in early 1990s. Now, US is back at that old game again.

Iran has been preparing herself for war with US since the end of Iran-Iraq War in 1988. These preparation have accelerated since 2003 when Iran's trial balloon of offering negotiations shot down by US - thus indicating nefarious plans by US. Now Iran is being led by a man with actual infantry experience in an actual war. He has put people with similar background (men who have been under fire) in many key areas of the government. The atmosphere inside Iran, right now, is very security conscious. They are ready and waiting. They will not initiate hostilities but they will respond.

For US and her so-called allies in the Persian Gulf, negotiations with Iran are still possible. But any such discussion has to be predicated on an announced date of teh departure of US forces from Iraq - and a realistic acknowledgment that the US-Iraq War II has left Iran in a much better geo-political shape.

A war against Iran by US will not be cheap, short, or victorious for US. And it will not change the fundamental geopolitical facts on the ground.

And Frieda: Iran is not killing Iraqis – please stop lying.

Posted by: pen Name at January 13, 2007 07:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

pen Name

Stop lying, dude! Stop being a moron!

Posted by: Winston at January 14, 2007 04:28 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Winston:

I do not lie - I am telling the truth as much as I know and understand it.

Please kindly refrain from being insulting when you hear opinions that go against you myth-informed ideas.

Posted by: pen Name at January 14, 2007 04:59 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Still, there are real risks here, not least the increased likelihood that we'll be finding ourselves pitted against the Mahdi Army in brutal urban combat in relatively short order

And that's bad, I take it? At least, in your opinion?

OK, lets take that statement at face value. US engaging the Mahdi Army is bad. Dunno why you think so, since we already kicked Sadr's ass and then foolishly let him live back in 2004:

Al-Sadr wounded in fighting: report

But anyway... what if there were no US troops in Iraq? What would bad-teeth boy do then? Follow US troops into Iran?

Oh, but wait, I can already predict the defeatist response from here! We have to finish losing in Iraq before we can lose in Iran! Right?

Says who?

And I really wish I had access to your dire predictions about the impossibility of invading Iraq in early 2003. Can't be done! We don't have enough troops! It's going to be a bloodbath! We lost... what... 150 troops killed, between crossing the border into Iraq and the Saddam statue falling?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. That doesn't mean an invasion of Iran would be easy. It also damn sure doesn't mean an invasion of Iran is impossible.

pen Name,

You are almost not even worth responding to. Iran has less than 50 fighter jets that are functional - and the bulk of those are ones the Shah bought from the US in the early 1970s. About the same number of helicopters. 1200 tanks, but they are OLD tanks. Mostly American and British. The only thing the Iranian military has going for it is the 1400 artillery pieces. That's a lot of artillery, and artillery doesn't become obsolete. That poses a danger to any military, including the US. But it's a danger that can be worked around.

As far as infantry... I can only hope for the sake of Iranian mother's that the IRI doesn't send Iranian infantry up against US forces, especially using those human wave tactics that were tried against Saddam.

Posted by: Craig at January 14, 2007 08:59 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Craig:

Iran is not planning on fighting a conventional war.

Posted by: pen Name at January 14, 2007 04:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

pen Name,

Iran is not planning on fighting a conventional war.

That's probably wise. But if that's the case then:

1) What does the military background of AJ or anyone else in government have to do with anything?

and

2) How do they plan on stopping an invasion, using asymmetrical warfare?

Posted by: Craig at January 14, 2007 07:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

About Belgravia Dispatch

Gregory Djerejian comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site. The views expressed herein are solely his own and do not represent those of any organization.


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