July 28, 2004

More Reckless Unilateralism

In talks with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Saudi Arabia today proposed the creation of an Islamic force to help stabilize Iraq and potentially someday replace at least some of the U.S.-led military coalition, according to senior Arab diplomats here...

...Although no countries have signed on, a senior Saudi official suggested that Pakistan, Malaysia, Algeria, Bangladesh and Morocco are among strong possibilities. But no countries on Iraq's borders, including Saudi Arabia or Jordan, which already offered troops, would be included.

--from a Robin Wright piece in the WaPo.

At first, I cringed. The Saudis?

A, er, neighboring country?

But then I read the follow on graf quoted above detailing some of the countries in play. Good picks, all told. Now, as T.S. Eliot used to say, between the idea and the reality...falls the shadow. The "shadow", of course, being whether Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Algiers, Dhaka and/or Rabat would really ante up troops for the Iraq effort.

But does anyone seriously believe Kerry's election would change the dynamic re: said countries willingness to do so? Would his much ballyhooed "tougher" stance with the Saudis (likely as fictitious as his earlier rumblings about bringing adult supervision to the Holy Land) do the trick instead?!? No, the Saudis (who would probably be funding a large part of these deployments) would then become more reticent to cooperate, wouldn't they?

And would Kerry's victory mean that Jacques (he of the 800 troops in Afghanistan) and Gerard (approx 2,000) would suddenly send in big batallions to Fallujah too? You know, just for kicks!

Of course not. My point? I've yet to hear (aside from vague talk about "respect" and how strength and wisdom are not opposing values) what the Democratic alternative is on its approach to the war on terror.

Coming soon, how the Democratic platform's foreign policy stances are basically cribbed from presently existing Republican policies in both of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by Gregory at July 28, 2004 10:12 PM

I voted for Al Gore in 2000, and I was a little surprised by my visceral reaction against his speech on Monday night.

So I read the transcript just now. My reaction was correct. That was an AWFUL speech. Really, really awful.

Two points:

1. I don't want Mr. Kerry to "focus" on al Qaeda and Usama bin Laden. I want him to DESTROY al Qaeda and KILL Usama bin Laden.

2. Mr. Gore, I voted for you, and a plurarity of voters voted for you, but you lost the Electoral College vote, which in our admittedly antiquated system means that you lost the election. GET OVER IT, and keep your resentment and rage to yourself.

Posted by: Arjun at July 29, 2004 01:08 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Are all these Saudi troops gonna bunk up at the new Idn Taymiyah Mosque or the Mother of All Villages Mosque down the street?

Posted by: praktike at July 29, 2004 01:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There is an interesting set of possibilities that arises:

On the one hand, imagine that the al-Q/Iraqi insurgents target the Saudis. Given their relatively poor training and track record (unless these are Saudi Nat'l Guard units that are going, the Saudi army, from all accounts, just ain't that good), would the Saudis w/draw the troops after casualties?

Or are they going to try to make common-cause w/ the Sauids, in which case, this will produce one heckuva problem in US-Saudi relations? Not to mention, upon their return, the Saudi monarchy would have to deal with the problem of armed Saudis w/ even more recent anti-Saudi sentiments?

Not to say this is what the Admin has in mind (I very much doubt that), just that this is a potential poison-pill if ever there was one.

Posted by: Dean at July 29, 2004 04:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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