December 22, 2003


Will Iraq survive the Iraqi resistance?
(SPENGLER, 12/22/03, Asia Times)

If well-planned and executed strikes against coalition forces continue at November's pace, Washington's moment of triumph will fade into a crisis of policy.

"Crisis of policy" is the appropriate term, rather than "strategic crisis". This is not Vietnam, where the Vietnamese communists enjoyed the protection of a nuclear superpower. Iraq has no such friends. The concept of Iraq as such - a nation protected by a superpower - may be the eventual victim of the success of the Iraqi resistance. That would imply a revolution in American policy towards the Middle East. [...]

Angelo Codevilla began the article cited above with the following observation: "Iraq was not a good idea in the first place. American and British Wilsonians decided to recreate something like the Babylon empire: Sunni Mesopotamian Arabs from the Baghdad area would rule over vastly more numerous southern Shi'ite Arabs, and Arabophobe Kurds. Why the ruled should accept such an arrangement was never made clear." To frustrate the Iraqi resistance, eliminate Iraq itself, Codevilla implies.

That is the logical response of American policy to the unexpected success of Iraqi resistance. Plans have been floating about for years to create a separate Shi'ite state in the south, hand the west of Iraq over to the Hashemites of Jordan, maintain a semi-autonomous Kurdish zone and leave a rump state around Baghdad to become a killing zone for counterinsurgency.

Setting aside for the moment the question of whether those strikes have been effective, why should the Shi'a--who are more numerous even in Baghdad--cede the central region to their Sunni oppressors rather than get rid of them?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 22, 2003 9:41 AM

Always curious how Jordan is consistently touted as a mature, legitimate, and stable country. While everything in this region is relative, to be sure, Jordan is about as artificial as they come. Its only saving grace is that it has only two real rival groups, Palestinians, who are the majority, and the Bedouin who pledge loyalty to the Hashemite dynasty, of which Abdullah (the current ruler's great-grandfather) was installed by the same British who installed his brother Feisal in Iraq (this following Feisal's initially failed reign in Syria, where he was first installed by the British before being driven out by the Syrians).

In any event, while Jordan's relative stability is in Israel's interest, an interest that Israel has been very anxious to protect (despite strident anti-Israeli agitation in that country by some groups), it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the Hashemite Kingdom to potentially destabilize itself by swallowing more territory, even if it is relatively unoccupied Western Iraq, and exposing itself, more than it absolutely has to do, as an American "stooge," with everything that that represents.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at December 22, 2003 10:53 AM

Because they're outnumbered Islamwide by three or four to one and sometimes compromise is the prudent course?

Islam has had several doctrinal wars and they have been brutal.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 22, 2003 3:13 PM


Yes, but now they'll have us as an ally if they so choose.

Posted by: oj at December 22, 2003 4:06 PM

Not me, they won't.

As you know, I think their political acumen is close to zero, so I'm not contending they actually are thinking far enough ahead to wonder whether antagonizing several hundred million bloodthirsty idiots might be a bad idea. But I think it would be prudent to consider it.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 23, 2003 1:52 AM