Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Musing on disaster:

All Hezbollah has to do is continue to not lose, but Israel has to completely destroy Hezbollah, and until they do the Syrians are hardly likely to stop Hezbollah. As a western diplomat points out in an article in the FT: "The Syrians are being asked to connive at the destruction of their own major card. We say to the Syrians, we want you help to curb or disable Hezbollah to cough up the Israeli soldiers and implement 1559. In other words suicide." Why would they?

To be sure all of this is not going to be worked out in a matter of a few days or weeks. The stubborn insistence that the US will not put its weight behind a cease-fire until all these issues are resolved is just unconscionable, especially when you consider how many people are dying and the length of time it will take to negotiate their "durable peace."

Happy talk and repeating the same mistakes over and over:

This best-casing "strategy" the Bush administration is engaging in, is just another recipe for an even bigger debacle than the one this type of wishful thinking that got them into in Iraq. Initially, the US was hoping their "moderate" Arab allies would carry the water for them, so they wouldn't have to embarrass themselves by talking to the Syrians. But that has proven to be a mistake; Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and even Iraq's PM Nuri al-Maliki are calling for an immediate end to fighting. No one is talking about giving Israel more time to destroy Hezbollah. In fact, Saudi King Abdullah said yesterday that if this goes on much longer "there will be no other option but war" in the region.

The first place this spreading of the war is likely to start is in Iraq. While the Democrats in Congress are grandstanding over al-Maliki's luke warm support for Israel, Muqtada al-Sadr is itching to start a new uprising. While it is nice to see W. finally admit that the situation in Baghdad is "terrible," he's making another huge mistake by moving more US troops into that city. In the current atmosphere of loathing for US policy on Lebanon around the Arab world, sending large amounts of US forces into an already explosive sectarian situation in Baghdad is a potentially going to be one of the worst strategic errors since the invasion itself. The various Iraqi factions don't agree on much, but they all are united in their hatred of Israel. If W. is thinking success in Iraq is based on national unity, this is a good way to make it happen, but I don't think the outcome it going to be to his liking.


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