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December 22, 2006


So a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is emerging in Iraq, a possible predecessor to an actual war between Iran and much of the Middle East. Oh, and Merry Christmas.

Update: To quickly expand on this, Israel would probably line up with Saudi Arabia in such a conflict, though their direct involvement would be problematic for the monarchy's image. In any case, Israel will seek to stop an emergent Iran. Hezbollah, of course, will then get involved on Iran's behalf, and any sign of weakness or turmoil in the House of Saud will embolden bin Laden, who wants nothing more than to overthrow what he sees as the Westernized and corrupt rulers of the Holy Land. Let's not even get into the implications for Iraq, or oil, or American/Chinese/Russian involvement, or how this is a direct result of the Iraq War, or...

December 22, 2006 | Permalink


All I want for Christmas is a TIME MACHINE so I can go back and give Katherine Harris the flu or warn people about the dangers of the butterfly ballot!

Posted by: Andrew | Dec 22, 2006 11:21:09 AM

I'd take a Time Machine and ask Sandra Day O'Connor to come back and explain to her past self why her decision in 2000 was a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bad idea, no matter how much she wanted to retire under a Republican President.

Posted by: NonyNony | Dec 22, 2006 11:53:25 AM

Well, that does put a crimp in the whole staying in Iraq idea. Depending on how serious this is, I could be convinced that immediate withdrawl isn't such a bad idea. I am not real keen on the notion of a quick pull out, but withdrawing to the periphery seems increasingly attractive. I am not really excited about the notion of our troops in the middle of a spreading disaster. Of course, nothing we do at this point will look good. I think this has become a matter of finding the least crappy outcome and shooting for that.

Posted by: DuWayne | Dec 22, 2006 11:54:16 AM

To quickly expand on this, Israel would probably line up with Saudi Arabia in such a conflict

I'm not so sure about this. While Israel has been waging war in Iran and Syria through the proxy of Hezbolla for years, those of us with tinfoil hats tend to note certain connections in this country between certain neo-cons and Iran, which neo-cons are at least alleged to have "dual loyalties" to Israel. So either the dual loyalty allegations are completely false (and I would dismiss them as anti-Semitism, except those accused -- who are always themselves accusing people left and left of anti-Semitism -- are always trying to convince the rest of us Jews to support the GOP based on an appeal to our presumed dual loyalties ... as Alanis Morrisette would say "isn't it ironic, dontcha think?") or Israel itself is playing footsy with Iran.

While playing footsy with a country doesn't mean you won't wage a proxy war with them -- indeed, it can sometimes promote proxy wars because you cannot directly confront, even diplomatically, the country with which you're playing footsy under the table: e.g., we couldn't confront Syria about their involvement in Lebanon 'cause we're sending people to them so they can torture them for us (don't call me paranoid ... it's either that or National Petroleum Radio is spreading rumors 'cause they have a pro-Saudi tilt or something), so we let and possibly even egged on Israel fight it out with Hezbolla instead, even as such actions likely hurt Israel in the long run ... so much for Bush & CO doing what's good for Israel, eh? -- it does mean you won't confront them directly.

So I would expect Israel to neither take the Saudi nor the Iranian side per se, but probably step up its efforts (under US goading) to "crack down" on both Hamas and Hezbolla as proxies for the waring parties. Because of the cover for a crack-down, Likudnik hawk types will probably be salivating over such a war prospect (and maybe have already factored that into why they want to stay in Iraq), but instability of that sort can't be good in the long term interests of Israel as Saudi Arabia and Iran will, as history dictates that the ME tends to unite against Israel in order to diffuse internal tensions, also use Israel as a proxy for each other (which history the neo-cons have correctly identified, yet, as usual, they remain part of the problem even as they claim to be part of the solution and claim people like me are part of the problem).

Of course, whispering in the ears of the Likudnik hawks and goading them on are people who don't at all care about the long term interests of Israel -- fundies trying to bring on armegeddon -- the Likudniks view these fundies as tools and are happy to have their "support" and don't realize the degree to which they are adopting the desired approaches of the fundies and being tools themselves.

Of course the larger issue is when Iran and Al Qaeda types will step up some sort of proxy war for influence in Saudi Arabia (Iran would love to see some more freedoms for Saudi Arabia's oppressed Shi'ite community -- where are the neo-cons on this freedom not being spread?).

Posted by: DAS | Dec 22, 2006 12:03:19 PM

I'm most alarmed by the stories that one of the major purposes of escalation of US forces in Iraq is to confront and take down the Shia militia that Muktada al Sadr deploys in Baghdad and points south. The Shia in Iraq are clearly split: as Sadr is very anti-Iran, and the Badr brigades (and SCIRI) are pro-Iran.

If we ignite a intra-sectarian battle between the Shia, the US forces would likely become targets and our ability to re-supply them via the highways from Baghdad and Kuwait/Basra would be in jeopardy (unless we engaged in massive anti-population bombing).

Having to fight our way out of Iraq is the worst possible situation we could be in militarily and politically.

Every bit of US influence should be applied instead into damping a potential Shia/Sunni conflagration. We can't do that if we pick sides in any manner, including picking a side in the Shia/Shia power struggle.

If Bush enters the US into the Iraqi partisan struggle, then indeed we need impeachment of Bush/Cheney ASAP. Our military forces and our remaining reputation as a world power could be destroyed if a massive civilian/militia force in Iraq rises up against us. Can you imagine the Green Zone being starved out by huge surrounding civilian/militia crowds and our supply lines cut by massive attacks against convoys? We couldn't even keep our tanks and humvees running if that were to occur, since all the gas/oil is brought up from Kuwait/Basra to all of the US forces, including the Green Zone.

Even worse, just imagine several brigades of US forces being cut down by overwhelming attacks by Iraqis.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Dec 22, 2006 1:45:17 PM

"Even worse, just imagine several brigades of US forces being cut down by overwhelming attacks by Iraqis."

Iraqis have long memories, and I am sure remember Townsend in Kut very well. Funny. "Real men think logistics"
Cut off the Kuwait-Basra-Najaf lines, the Baghdad airport road, snipers-mortars-etc, and the Greenzone with live broadcasts and cell-phones becomes a President's worst nightmare.

All England followed the attempts to reinforce and feed the starving soldiers in Kut.

A broader war is inconceivably bad, which means likely.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 22, 2006 2:35:25 PM

You mean the 1300-year-old conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites is all W.'s fault? We are going to have to set the time machine back much further than Nov. 2000.


Happy Holidays

Posted by: Chuck | Dec 22, 2006 8:02:24 PM

If I had a time machine I think I'd go back to the Garden of Eden and cut down the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. That was probably in Iraq somewhere.

Posted by: Sanpete | Dec 22, 2006 8:08:18 PM

Of course I'd probably just get shot in the airport.

Posted by: Sanpete | Dec 22, 2006 8:09:21 PM

chuck - did you even read the article? Another year of coal for you.

Posted by: Kris K. | Dec 23, 2006 4:37:23 AM

"Depending on how serious this is, I could be convinced that immediate withdrawl isn't such a bad idea."

I agree. As Americans, we should stay on our side of the world and MIND OUR OWN BUSINESS. Don't we have enough going on between our borders? Why should we allow more of our young men an women to kill themselves over what is turning out to be an increasingly self destructive patch of sand? Oil? If that's the case, then what's Alaska for?

I'm so sick of people who think that America should be the savior of the world just because we have the wealth and the manpower to reach out to countries in turmoil. When has this cavalier attitude ever paid off? Really?

Our troops belong at home, where they can be safe and protected, not out in a foreign bunker getting their appendages blown off by some suicidal fanatic.

Posted by: perelandra29 | Jan 4, 2007 12:11:35 PM

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