Sunday, March 30, 2008

.....on Maliki's Motives

"Serving Patriot" on Maliki's Motives, via SicSemperTyrannis, and this in the LATimes, here ("In Iraq, U.S. caught in middle of Shiite rivalry")
"....You noted to arbogast: "Maliki may have started this on his own trying to strengthen his own hand for the Autumn elections." Methinks there is a lot to this line of thought. Maliki, along with all the other Iraqi "patriots" in the Green Zone, must read the tea leaves as well as we do back home. Irrespective of November's winner, the US cannot sustain its current level of commitment in "Mess"-opatamia. Its army is breaking down and wheels will really begin to fly off by the end of 2008. So, there is no time like the present (and maximum strength) to drag your partner's army into an effort to knock off your chief rival and *his* army. No doubt we were and remain surprised by the obvious -- Maliki acting in his own self-interest -- but, we are yet again surprised by Iraqi actions, and probably not for the last time... Maliki knows he'll be left to the mobs in the near future. While holding off the Sunni and Kurds may be possible with the support of his co-religionists, he cannot do so while simultaneously fighting Sadrists (nationalists) for control of the key prizes (Baghdad, Basra and southern oil). As much as we vastly underestimate White House stupidity and arrogance, I think we also vastly underestimate Sadr's game, his power among the dispossessed Shi'i, and his appeal to Arab Shi'ism (vice Persian). I'm sure the Iranians support both sides of the Shi'i split in Iraq - mainly to keep their most feared foe divided and non-threatening. But, when push comes to shove, I think they will cut off Sadr's support in favor of their buddies in the SCIRI/Badr/Dawa groups. (Then again, in a country like Iraq where hundreds of thousands of small arms, light weapons and explosives are "missing," how decisive will the lack of direct Iranian support be?) Its an intriguing four way game:
1- Sadr wants all foreign occupiers out and Iraq for (Shi'i) Iraqis,
2- Iran wants quiet and influence on its western border, strategic depth from the hated Sunni and Jewish enemies and a bridge to their long lost cousins in Southern Lebanon (tweaking America along the way is like whipped cream on the sundae),
3- US desperate to extricate itself from their Iraqi tar-baby while simultaneously weakening the ascendant Persians (whose rise is fueled by continued its own ground presence and blinkered search for “victory” in the hunt for global jihadists!), and
4-Maliki, whose neck is stretched if/when he's left to his own devices by this American (overlord) protectors. No wonder the British want out so bad. It’s a race for the last lifeboat and those left on deck face some mighty cold waters..."

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