Saturday, November 24, 2007
Back in January, we excerpted from a Stratfor analysis that identified Iran as the real target of the surge. It is worth reading again in light of all that has transpired since. Then go read Richard Fernandez at the Belmont Club, who had this to say yesterday:
Even if the US never takes any military action against Iran the creation of a new and modern Iraqi Army, well supplied with artillery and logistics (as appears to be the case) will create a threat in being for the Ayatollahs. From a situation in which the Teheran could contemplate virtually annexing southern Iraq (as would have occurred if the US had admitted defeat in early 2007 and left) the Ayatolahs now face the prospect of having to maintain large permanent standing forces on their border with Iraq. Nor is this all. If most US ground forces are freed up by the Real Surge the Iranians will suddenly face the prospect of dangerous mobile US reserve. All in all it would be a nightmarish burden for Teheran to shoulder.
Does this mean war in the Middle East? Ironically the Real Surge may actually reduce the prospect of war considerably, while at the same time improving the prospects for the peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem. While it is possible that Iran, watching its window of opportunity closing, may become suddenly reckless and launch an all-out attack to destabilize Iraq, it is probably too late for banzai measures. The odds are that Iran has been strategically beaten, first by the American Surge and worse, by the follow-on Iraqi resurgence.
Doves -- virtually all of whom have opposed the Petraeus strategy in Iraq -- usually argue that even if Iran is developing nuclear weapons and destabilizing its neighbors, it can be contained and deterred. Maybe. It depends how much the leadership craves martyrdom. But if the mullahs can be contained and deterred, does it not seem likely that the successful resurrection of the Iraqi army -- only possible because of the American "surge" -- will be an essential part of that strategy?
Indeed...is not the anchor of any policy of deterrence a credible force? If that force were not in Iraq (in the form of mostly Americans now, and hopefully...increasingly...Iraqis) where would it be? Is that better or worse for us? For Iran? Stabilizing to the region or de-stabilizing?
Meanwhile, an article by Seth Robson in tomorrow's Stars and Stripes indicates the insurgents may have a supply problem in Iraq:
"U.S. soldiers are reporting finding more and more roadside bombs packed with homemade explosives instead of artillery rounds, indicating that Iraqi insurgents may be be running out of military-grade ammunition."
There is no substitute for victory and IMO Petraeus is the key to the whole thing. Here's a good pic of Gen. Petraeus on FreeFrankWarner. My enthusiasm for the man is only checked by the fact that US Grant was supposedly a bad president.
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