by paul spencer
Thu Sep 6th, 2007 at 12:41:08 AM EST
Of course, Bush was actually ensconced at the Al-Asad Air Force Base, an "island" fortress with some 12 miles of desert moat on all sides. In the new Iraq strategy, though, this will be the main base of U.S. operations in southwest Asia for at least the remainder of the Bush regime. As I have diaried Oil and the new Sunni alliance with the U.S. and updated The Developing Situation in Iraq, I think that we have embarked on a two- or three-state (if Kurdistan is allowed to survive) solution to the national problem, formerly known as Iraq.
To summarize the previous diaries: Iraqi Sunni and Shi'a warriors are proxies in the competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran (respectively) for regional - and sectarian - domination. The U.S. now agrees with Saudi Arabia that the idea of nationhood for Iraq is not achievable. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have reason to believe that the most productive petroleum deposits probably lie, undiscovered, under the sands of western Iraq - the home of the Saudi's Sunni brethren. The line of U.S. forts from the western Kurdish region to the air base in Basrah province, running through Baghdad, will be the demarcation line between Sunni and Shi'a regions.
The recent "quiet" in Al Anbar is due to Saudi influence on the Sunni tribal chieftains in this western region. (As a related benefit of this influence, the "surge" in Baghdad was partly implemented by reduction in ground forces in the western regions. The reduction in numbers of U.S. troops and in the aggressiveness of U.S. operations there - other than in Fallujah - created conditions for the Sunni population to feel an improvement in their situation, making them more amenable to this new plan.)
Ayad Allawi is being promoted as a new leader for a new government. He - or some other U.S./Saudi creature - will oversee a federal solution, where the regions will be far more autonomous than envisioned in the past national scheme. The line of demarcation will become a "frontline" for U.S. forces to defend the Sunni west from the Shi'a east. Attacks from the east will then be treated as Iranian provocations and will serve as justification for major missile and bombing attacks on Iran.
In the context of a `genuine' frontline, this rationale will work once again, both with respect to the morale of the armed forces and - maybe - of the support of the U.S. population. The relatively secure western region can then be explored, and the oil fields will be developed. At that point Syria can be easily separated from Iranian influence: the pipeline system in Syria will be augmented to take on western Iraq oil, and Syria will bank the toll fees.
Militarily, the situation becomes an ideal 20th century warfare scenario: a secure rear area, overwhelming firepower on a hair-trigger frontier, and logistical support and major airpower centered at the most secure base in the region - the air base that Bush just visited. Giving up on a national solution ends the Viet Nam analogy; the only fish swimming in the desert seas will be "friendlies" - any non-native species will soon be extinct. There will be woe unto the seventh generation of anyone caught sabotaging any device related to an oil facility. In fact, forget the idea of a second generation, let alone a seventh.
OK - this diary does not add much to my previous, related articles. It was more prompted by the graphic nature of Bush' visit to the new military nerve center for U.S. meddling and mayhem in the area. It will be interesting to see what part the "Biden plan" may play in next week's reports, testimonies, debates, and general bushwah. If partition is not effectively the main strategy by the end of September, I propose that they will roll it out within the next Friedman Unit - after the Democrats roll over again.