Monday, April 3, 2006

Time to bail, but...

Juan Cole on the deteriorating situation in Iraq.

Spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Immigration Sattar Nawruz maintains that 1,000 Iraqis are being displaced from their homes every day, and that 40,000 have been displaced since the bombing of the Askariyah Shrine in Samarra on Feb. 22. That is a rate of 365,000 a year, or a million persons displaced over three years if it is kept up. I initially greeted these enormous figures with some skepticism, but I'm beginning to think that there is something to them, and that a sea change has occurred in Iraq, which has moved further toward full-scale civil war.

Just what we need in this situation -- more Iraqis than ever are packing heat. And, , the FT reprints an LA Times piece by Megan Stack saying, they are forming ever more neighborhood militias to counter the Shiite ones. I saw this sort of thing happen in Lebanon in the mid-1970s. The subsequent fighting went on for a decade and a half.

Peter N. Kirstein argues for a complete and total and immediate US withdrawal from Iraq. That would be fine with me, but only if somebody can help provice stability to the place. It isn't just going to be all right. Iraq is not Vietnam, where there was a clear nationalist-Communist force that was relatively popular and could take over everywhere. It is more like Lebanon or the Balkans. Nor is it like Vietnam in the sense that its falling apart would have few international consequences. The neighbors could be drawn into a new regional war (a proxy war between Wahhabi Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran is possible). And if the oil installations and pipelines in the Gulf started being bombed, the world economy could go into a tailspin. I do agree with Kirstein that Cheney's nightmare of a terrorist al-Qaeda mini-state in Anbar province is impossible. Iran, Turkey, Syria and Jordan would not put up with it, and they are powerful enough to put paid to any such thing in their neighborhood

Much more and many good comments.

It gives me a great idea! If we can re-direct all our illegal immigrants to Iraq...Win-win!

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