Thursday, August 16, 2007

STATE Insider: "That the proposal for IRG sanctions appearing in both the NYTimes and WaPo tipped us that somebody doesn't like what we are doing"

From the Middle East Policy Survey, (excerpts)
"This approach is particularly pronounced in her efforts to forge a new policy in the number one issue, Iraq. State Department officials say that she, along with Defense Secretary Gates, recognize that it is inevitable that the US military profile will change over the coming months..."
"...Their (Rice & Gates) attempts to woo Sunni Arabs are not made any easier by the attitude of Iraqi Sunnis. Unwilling to accept the reality they are a minority in Iraq ["Living in a `dream palace'" is one official's felicitous phrase], the Sunnis only reinforce their Shia countrymen's sense of historical betrayal. Says one State Department expert, "On the one hand the Shia accept that the Sunnis will fight forever if they are marginalized. But, this realization is overwhelmed by the fear that if they compromise then once again they will wind up on the losing end..."
"...This leaves Secretaries Rice and Gates contemplating a policy that does not rely on the performance of Iraq's Shia dominated government..."
"...There are constraints and physical limitations on the number of people we can keep on the ground," says one senior State Department official. And this official confidently predicts that come the new year the US military will have less that 100,000 troops in Iraq. ... Many, however, are not convinced that the Vice President is "on board" for the entire new approach, especially if the current diplomatic and economic offensive against Iran continues to fall short..."
"... Even proponents of this approach admit that, in the words of one European diplomat, "The Iranians have been shaken but not deterred"

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