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July 21, 2006

Meanwhile in Iraq

Gloom descends on Iraqi leaders as civil war looms.  That's the headline for a Reuters New story on Iraq today by Mariam Karouny.  "Iraqi leaders have all but given up on holding the country together and, just two months after forming a national unity government, talk in private of "black days" of civil war ahead."

Signalling a dramatic abandonment of the U.S.-backed project for Iraq, there is even talk among them of pre-empting the worst bloodshed by agreeing to an east-west division of Baghdad into Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim zones, senior officials told Reuters.  According to Reuters, senior politicians are close to giving up on preserving Iraq in its present form.   

It looks like a slide to civil war, one we in this country will probably not notice for awhile, given the distractions of the Israeli-Hesbollah conflict.  Our troops are apparently keeping a lid on the violence, hard as that is to imagine with 100 civilians dying a day now. 

Another article yesterday in Reuters reported 6000 civilian deaths in two months, according to statistics released by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).  "Insurgent, militia and terrorist attacks continued unabated in many parts of Iraq, especially in Baghdad and in the central and western regions."  And more from the same article

The Ministry of Health says that more than 50,000 people have been killed "in a brutal way" since April 2003. "All these bodies were unrecognisable and suffered serious torture," says Safa'a Yehia, senior official in the Ministry of Heath. "What is more shocking is that this included women and children. We have reached a serious deterioration in conditions and instead of an improvement of this sectarian violence, the death toll is rising without control."

So what now?  I had thought even two months ago that there was still room for a massive Marshall Plan for Iraq involving withdrawal of US forces and establishment of an international peace plan, paid for my the US.  Essentially reparations. Not that this administration would ever have done something so sane.  But, heh. . . Now I'm afraid we don't even have that option.

Digby and Poputonian, writing at Hullabaloo, one of the best blogs on the Internet, have kept focus on the Iraq situation.  Poputonian goes back to an op-ed piece from 2005 (sorry no attribution that I can find) by E.W. Chamberlain III, a retired Army colonel that is chilling.  The piece is called "Prediction".  In the article, he accurately calls the slide into civil war we are seeing now.

Washington doesn't differentiate between the religious sects in Iraq, nor does it understand that the concept of a state called "Iraq" was arbitrarily devised by the British and the French in the Balfour Declaration at the end of World War I as those two victors divided the spoils of war.

People in Iraq and Iran are Shiite first, and Iraqis and Iranians second.

Indeed, I heard a piece on NPR in the last day or two where someone said that Bush senior knew NOTHING about the Shias and Sunnis and their hostilities to one another - and this was during the first Gulf War.  The author predicted the obvious wins by the Shia majority and says that is not democracy as we know it.  In fact, he said that Shia clerics would never allow anything resembling democracy in Iraq.  He assumes, however, that it would become sufficient cover for US withdrawal.  Then Chamberlain widens out the consequences:

Probably even before the U.S. withdraws, the "democratically elected" Shiite government in Iraq will be aligned rapidly with Iran and will receive open and massive support. The Saudi Arabian government will continue to support the Sunni insurgency, as it does today, but the support will become open.

The Sunni insurgency eventually will lose as the full weight of a Shiite Iraq and a Shiite Iran overwhelms it. Numbers alone, coupled with a real war of attrition that does not discriminate between combatants and noncombatants or follow any rules of engagement, will result in horrific casualties and defeat.

This will not be the kinder, gentler, American way of war. This will be an Old Testament conflict with no quarter given.

It is hard to see what ruse we will use to leave Iraq but leave it we must.  Then, the prediction becomes truly terrifying:

The remnants of the Sunni insurgency will flee to Saudi Arabia. There they will foment discord because the Saudi royal family did not do enough and allowed the Sunnis to be defeated in Iraq. The royal family will be overthrown in a violent revolution in Saudi Arabia led by Sunni clerics who long have chafed under the pro-Western rule of the House of Saud. The Sunni clerics will emerge as the dominant power in Saudi Arabia. Americans and all other Westerners will be killed or, at best, ejected from Saudi Arabia, which has enough native petrochemical engineers and knowledgeable oil field workers, and can find other non-Westerners to run the oil fields. No Westerner need apply.

Of course, we need not fear another attack here at home from Osama bin Laden as all this occurs, because he will have fulfilled his fatwa. The only thing bin Laden ever said he was after was to remove the Westerners from Saudi Arabia, the Land of the Holy Places. This will be done when the clerics assume control of Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden will win the war on terrorism by achieving his goals with our unwitting help.

Predictions are just that - predictions, not fact.  But it is, nevertheless, a troubling and possible one.  A Saudi Arabia truly run by the Wahhabi clerics is unnerving at best.

Posted by Lynn Allen on July 21, 2006 at 10:33 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink

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