Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Be Stupid or I'll stop being Stupid

Ed Koch, a former Democratic mayor of New York City, who, along with Rudy Guiliani, lost his marbles after 9-11 when it cames to being capable of doing rational foreign policy threat assessments, has long been a supporter of the war in Iraq. Today in Real Clear Politics, he has had enough but he had to re-outline his pony plan one last time:

For well over a year, I have urged the administration to issue an ultimatum to our Muslim allies of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait, all Sunni nations and our NATO allies in Europe. Unless they joined us with boots on the ground and contributed to the ongoing cost of the war against Al Qaeda and the insurgency in both Iraq and Afghanistan, we would leave. The cost to date for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is computed at about $400 billion and currently at $12 billion a month in Iraq. The Bush administration declined to do that

I have to laugh, as this ultimatum makes almost as much sense as the Sheriff's ultimatum in Blazing Saddles. Right now the current assessment of a probable course of events if the US withdraws is not that dire for most neighboring states. The Washington Post reported earlier this week on some US Government contigency planning:

If U.S. combat forces withdraw from Iraq in the near future, three developments would be likely to unfold. Majority Shiites would drive Sunnis out of ethnically mixed areas west to Anbar province. Southern Iraq would erupt in civil war between Shiite groups. And the Kurdish north would solidify its borders and invite a U.S. troop presence there. In short, Iraq would effectively become three separate nations.

That was the conclusion reached in recent "war games" exercises conducted for the U.S. military by retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson. "I honestly don't think it will be apocalyptic," said Anderson, who has served in Iraq and now works for a major defense contractor. But "it will be ugly."

Natural spheres of influence will be drawn out with the Saudis, Jordanians and Syrians gaining influence in the Sunni Arab west, the Iranians gaining even more overt influence in the south and everyone hating on the Kurds in the north. Given that the Turkish Army is already routinely shelling the Kurds in tacit conjunction with the Iranians, not much would change. The serious and heavy fighting would be ethnic cleansing in Baghdad as the city is splitting on an East (Shi'ite)/West (Sunni) line with the Tigris in the middle, and then on the major arteries north and south of the city as the Sunni insurgencies are sitting on the supply lines into the city. Mosul and Kirkuk are the other major powderkegs.

But again, from the perspective of the near neighbors, preventing this scenario is not worth the time or the effort. Especially when you factor in the internal security threat that is Al-Queada in Iraq as a regional Sunni/Salafist Jihadi training course. If the US withdraws, AQI/ISI becomes massively weaker as both their internal enemies proceed to kick the living shit out of them, and their defining meta narrative that is used to gain foreign support falls apart.

So again, Mayor Koch, welcome to the ranks of the shrill, but your pony plan is ridiculous on its face.

No comments: