Iraq: The Policy Dilemma
By George Friedman
U.S. President George W. Bush now has made
it clear what his policy on Iraq will be for the immediate future, certainly
until Election Day: He does not intend to change U.S. policy in any
fundamental way. U.S. troops will continue to be deployed in Iraq, they will
continue to carry out counterinsurgency operations, and they will continue to
train Iraqi troops to eventually take over the operations. It is difficult to
imagine that Bush believes there will be any military solution to the
situation in Iraq; therefore, we must try to understand his reasoning in
maintaining this position. Certainly, it is not simply a political decision.
Opinion in the United States has turned against the war, and drawing down
U.S. forces and abandoning combat operations would appear to be the
politically expedient move. Thus, if it is not politics driving him -- and
assuming that the more lurid theories on the Internet concerning Bush's
motivations are as silly as they appear -- then we have to figure out what he
Let's consider the military situation first. Bush has said
that there is no civil war in Iraq. This is in large measure a semantic
debate. In our view, it would be inaccurate to call what is going on a "civil
war" simply because that term implies a degree of coherence that simply does
not exist. Calling it a free-for-all would be more accurate. It is not simply
a conflict of Shi'i versus Sunni. The Sunnis and Shia are fighting each
other, and all of them are fighting American forces. It is not altogether
clear what the Americans are supposed to be doing.
is unlike other warfare. In other warfare, the goal is to defeat an enemy
army, and civilian casualties as a result of military operations are expected
and acceptable. With counterinsurgency operations in populated areas,
however, the goal is to distinguish the insurgents from civilians and destroy
them, with minimal civilian casualties. Counterinsurgency in populated areas
is more akin to police operations than to military operations; U.S. troops
are simultaneously engaging an enemy force while trying to protect the
population from both that force and U.S. operations. Add to this the fact
that the population is frequently friendly to the insurgents and hostile to
the Americans, and the difficulty of the undertaking becomes
Consider the following numbers. The New York Police Department
(excluding transit and park police) counts one policeman for every 216
residents. In Iraq, there is one U.S. soldier (not counting other coalition
troops) per about 185 people. Thus, numerically speaking, U.S. forces are in
a mildly better position than New York City cops -- but then, except for
occasional Saturday nights, New York cops are not facing anything like the
U.S. military is facing in Iraq. Given that the United States is facing not
one enemy but a series of enemy organizations -- many fighting each other as
well as the Americans -- and that the American goal is to defeat these while
defending the populace, it is obvious even from these very simplistic numbers
that the U.S. force simply isn't there to impose a settlement.Expectations and a Deal Unwound
A military solution to
the U.S. dilemma has not been in the cards for several years. The purpose of
military operations was to set the stage for political negotiations. But the
Americans had entered Iraq with certain expectations. For one thing, they had
believed they would simply be embraced by Iraq's Shiite population. They also
had expected the Sunnis to submit to what appeared to be overwhelming
political force. What happened was very different. First, the Shia welcomed
the fall of Saddam Hussein, but they hardly embraced the Americans -- they
sought instead to translate the U.S. victory over Hussein into a Shiite
government. Second, the Sunnis, in view of the U.S.-Shiite coalition and the
dismemberment of the Sunni-dominated Iraqi Army, saw that they were about to
be squeezed out of the political system and potentially crushed by the Shia.
They saw an insurgency -- which had been planned by Hussein -- as their only
hope of forcing a redefinition of Iraqi politics. The Americans realized that
their expectations had not been realistic.
Thus, the Americans went
through a series of political cycles. First, they sided with the Shia as they
sought to find their balance militarily facing the Sunnis. When they felt
they had traction against the Sunnis, following the capture of Hussein -- and
fearing Shiite hegemony -- they shifted toward a position between Sunnis and
Shia. As military operations were waged in the background, complex
repositioning occurred on all sides, with the Americans trying to hold the
swing position between Sunnis and Shia.
The process of creating a
government for Iraq was encapsulated in this multi-sided maneuvering. By
spring 2006, the Sunnis appeared to have committed themselves to the
political process. And in June
with the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the announcement that
the United States would reduce its force
in Iraq by two brigades, the stage seemed to be set for a
political resolution that would create a Shiite-dominated coalition that
included Sunnis and Kurds. It appeared to be a done deal -- and then the deal
The first sign of the collapse was a sudden
outbreak of fighting among Shia
the Basra region. We assumed that this was political positioning among Shiite
factions as they prepared for a political settlement. Then Abdel Aziz
al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq
(SCIRI), traveled to Tehran, and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army commenced an
offensive. Shiite death squads struck out at Sunni populations, and Sunni
insurgents struck back. From nearly having a political accommodation, the
situation in Iraq fell completely apart.
The key was Iran. The
Iranians had always wanted an Iraqi satellite state, as protection against
another Iraq-Iran war. That was a basic national security concept for them.
In order to have this, the Iranians needed an overwhelmingly Shiite-dominated
government in Baghdad, and to have overwhelming control of the Shia. It
seemed to us that there could be a Shiite-dominated government but not an
overwhelmingly Shiite government. In other words, Iraq could be neutral
toward, but not a satellite of, Iran. In our view, Iraq's leading Shia --
fearing a civil war and also being wary of domination by Iran -- would accept
We may have been correct on the sentiment of leading
Shia, but we were wrong about Iran's intentions. Tehran did not see a neutral
Iraq as being either in Iran's interests or necessary. Clearly, the Iranians
did not trust a neutral Iraq still under American occupation to remain
neutral. Second -- and this is the most important -- they saw the Americans
as militarily weak and incapable of either containing a civil war in Iraq or
of taking significant military action against Iran. In other words, the
Iranians didn't like the deal they had been offered, they felt that they
could do better, and they felt that the time had come to strike.A
When we look back through Iranian eyes, we
can now see what they saw: a golden opportunity to deal the United States a
blow, redefine the geopolitics of the Persian Gulf and reposition the Shia in
the Muslim world. Iran had, for example, been revivifying Hezbollah in
Lebanon for several months. We had seen this as a routine response to the
withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. It is now apparent, however, that
it was part of a two-pronged offensive.
First, in Iraq, the Iranians
encouraged a variety of factions to both resist the newly formed government
and to strike out against the Sunnis. This created an uncontainable cycle of
violence that rendered the Iraqi government impotent and the Americans
irrelevant. The tempo of operations was now in the hands of those Shiite
groups among which the Iranians had extensive influence -- and this included
some of the leading Shiite parties, such as SCIRI.
Second, in Lebanon,
Iran encouraged Hezbollah to launch an offensive. There is debate over
whether the Israelis or Hezbollah ignited the conflict in Lebanon. Part of
this is ideological gibberish, but part of it concerns intention. It is clear
that Hezbollah was fully deployed for combat. Its positions were manned in
the south, and its rockets were ready. The capture of two Israeli soldiers
was intended to trigger Israeli airstrikes, which were as predictable as
sunrise, and Hezbollah was ready to fire on Haifa. Once Haifa was hit, Israel
floundered in trying to deploy troops (the Golani and Givati brigades were in
the south, near Gaza). This would not have been the case if the Israelis had
planned for war with Hezbollah. Now, this discussion has nothing to do with
who to blame for what. It has everything to do with the fact that Hezbollah
was ready to fight, triggered the fight, and came out ahead because it wasn't
The end result is that, suddenly, the Iranians held the whip
hand in Iraq, had dealt Israel a psychological blow, had repositioned
themselves in the Muslim world and had generally redefined the dynamics of
the region. Moreover, they had moved to the threshold of redefining the
geopolitics to the Persian Gulf.
This was by far their most important
achievement.A New Look at the Region
At this point,
except for the United States, Iran has by far the most powerful military
force in the Persian Gulf. This has nothing to do with its nuclear
capability, which is still years away from realization. Its ground forces are
simply more numerous and more capable than all the forces of the Arabian
Peninsula combined. There is another aspect to this: The countries of the
Arabian Peninsula are governed by Sunnis, but many are home to substantial
Shiite populations as well. Between the Iranian military and the possibility
of unrest among Shia in the region, the situation in Saudi Arabia and the
rest of the Peninsula is uneasy, to say the least. The rise of Hezbollah well
might psychologically empower the generally quiescent Shia to become more
assertive. This is one of the reasons that the Saudis were so angry at
Hezbollah, and why they now are so anxious over events in Iraq.
Iraq were to break into three regions, the southern region would be Shiite --
and the Iranians clearly believe that they could dominate southern Iraq. This
not only would give them control of the Basra oil fields, but also would
theoretically open the road to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. From a strictly
military point of view, and not including the Shiite insurgencies at all,
Iran could move far down the western littoral of the Persian Gulf if American
forces were absent. Put another way, there would be a possibility that the
Iranians could seize control of the bulk of the region's oil reserves. They
could do the same thing if Iraq were to be united as an Iranian satellite,
but that would be far more difficult to achieve and would require active U.S.
cooperation in withdrawing.
We can now see why Bush cannot begin
withdrawing forces. If he did that, the entire region would destabilize. The
countries of the Arabian Peninsula, seeing the withdrawal, would realize that
the Iranians were now the dominant power. Shia in the Gulf region might act,
or they might simply wait until the Americans had withdrawn and the Iranians
arrived. Israel, shaken to the core by its fight with Hezbollah, would have
neither the force nor the inclination to act. Therefore, the United States
has little choice, from Bush's perspective, but to remain in Iraq.
Iranians undoubtedly anticipated this response. They have planned carefully.
They are therefore shifting their rhetoric somewhat to be more accommodating.
They understand that to get the United States out of Iraq -- and out of
Kuwait --they will have to engage in a complex set of negotiations. They will
promise anything -- but in the end, they will be the largest military force
in the region, and nothing else matters. Ultimately, they are counting on the
Americans to be sufficiently exhausted by their experience of Iraq to
rationalize their withdrawal -- leaving, as in Vietnam, a graceful interval
for what follows. Options
Iran will do everything it
can, of course, to assure that the Americans are as exhausted as possible.
The Iranians have no incentive to allow the chaos to wind down, until at
least a political settlement with the United States is achieved. The United
States cannot permit Iranian hegemony over the Persian Gulf, nor can it
sustain its forces in Iraq indefinitely under these circumstances.
The United States has four choices, apart from the status
1. Reach a political accommodation that cedes the status of
regional hegemon to Iran, and withdraw from Iraq.
2. Withdraw forces
from Iraq and maintain a presence in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- something the
Saudis would hate but would have little choice about -- while remembering
that an American military presence is highly offensive to many Muslims and
was a significant factor in the rise of al Qaeda.
counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and redeploy its forces in the south
(west of Kuwait), to block any Iranian moves in the region.
that Iran relies solely on its psychological pre-eminence to force a regional
realignment and, thus, use Sunni proxies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in
attempts to outmaneuver Tehran.
None of these are attractive choices.
Each cedes much of Iraq to Shiite and Iranian power and represents some
degree of a psychological defeat for the United States, or else rests on a
risky assumption. While No. 3 might be the most attractive, it would leave
U.S. forces in highly exposed, dangerous and difficult-to-sustain postures.
Iran has set a clever trap, and the United States has walked into it.
Rather than a functioning government in Iraq, it has chaos and a triumphant
Shiite community. The Americans cannot contain the chaos, and they cannot
simply withdraw. Therefore, we can understand why Bush insists on holding his
position indefinitely. He has been maneuvered in such a manner that he -- or
a successor -- has no real alternatives.
There is one counter to
this: a massive American buildup, including a major buildup of ground forces
that requires a large expansion of the Army, geared for the invasion of Iran
and destruction of its military force. The idea that this could readily be
done through air power has evaporated, we would think, with the Israeli air
force's failure in Lebanon. An invasion of Iran would be enormously
expensive, take a very long time and create a problem of occupation that
would dwarf the problem faced in Iraq. But it is the other option. It would
stabilize the geopolitics of the Arabian Peninsula and drain American
military power for a generation.
Sometimes there are no good choices.
For the United States, the options are to negotiate a settlement that is
acceptable to Iran and live with the consequences, raise a massive army and
invade Iran, or live in the current twilight world between Iranian hegemony
and war with Iran. Bush appears to be choosing an indecisive twilight. Given
the options, it is understandable why.
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- The escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq and its root causes
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What Time Of Year Is It The Warmest?
Topic: Global Warming
I want you to take a GOOD look at the following graph.
Now Children that little graph is "Earth Ice over the last 750,000 years."
See where we are now? In an INTER-glacial cycle, close to the end of an average interglacial cycle to be exact.
Approximately every 100,000 years Earth's climate warms up temporarily. These warm periods, called interglacial periods, appear to last approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years before regressing back to a cold ice age climate. At year 18,000 and counting our current interglacial vacation from the Ice Age is much nearer it's end than it's beginning.
Take a GOOD look at that graph. It shows Climatic CYCLES. That is how Nature works, not Linear but in Cycles. This a phenomenon that is found time and time again in Nature, not just in Weather or Climate.
There has been much comment in the News about Global Warming. Oddly enough it is by the same groups that were commenting a generation ago about Global Cooling.
What we are witnessing is BAD Science, Political Science, Junk Science, Propaganda if you will to develop hysteria and establish political and economic control of the general population.
Science deals with DATA, not just Computer Models that can be tweaked with different assumptions to derive desired results.
It is getting Warmer? Yes and it has done so before.
Example of regional variations in surface air temperature for the last 1000 years, estimated from a variety of sources, including temperature-sensitive tree growth indices and written records of various kinds, largely from western Europe and eastern North America. Shown are changes in regional temperature in ? C, from the baseline value for 1900. Compiled by R. S. Bradley and J. A. Eddy based on J. T. Houghton et al., Climate Change: The IPCC Assessment, Cambridge UniversityPress, Cambridge, 1990 and published in EarthQuest, vol 5, no 1, 1991. Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record
Earth's climate was in a cool period from A.D. 1400 to about A.D. 1860, dubbed the "Little Ice Age." This period was characterized by harsh winters, shorter growing seasons, and a drier climate. The decline in global temperatures was a modest 1/2? C, but the effects of this global cooling cycle were more pronounced in the higher latitudes. The Little Ice Age has been blamed for a host of human suffering including crop failures like the "Irish Potato Famine" and the demise of the medieval Viking colonies in Greenland.
Today we enjoy global temperatures which have warmed back to levels of the so called "Medieval Warm Period," which existed from approximately A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1350
So yes we HAVE seen global warming trends before and I note that the last one PREDATES the Industrial Age and the use of Fossil Fuels.
That was not the only time either. The following graph is the last 18,000 years of THIS Interglacial Cycle.
The idea that man-made pollution is responsible for global warming is not supported by historical fact. The period known as the Holocene Maximum is a good example-- so-named because it was the hottest period in human history. The interesting thing is this period occurred approximately 7500 to 4000 years B.P. (before present)-- long before human's invented industrial pollution.
CO2 in our atmosphere has been increasing steadily for the last 18,000 years-- long before humans invented smokestacks ( Figure 1). Unless you count campfires and intestinal gas, man played no role in the pre-industrial increases.
As illustrated in this chart of Ice Core data from the Soviet Station Vostok in Antarctica, CO2 concentrations in earth's atmosphere move with temperature. Both temperatures and CO2 have been steadily increasing for 18,000 years. Ignoring these 18,000 years of data "global warming activists" contend recent increases in atmospheric CO2 are unnatural and are the result of only 200 years or so of human pollution causing a runaway greenhouse effect.
Incidentally, earth's temperature and CO2 levels today have reached levels similar to a previous interglacial cycle of 120,000 - 140,000 years ago. From beginning to end this cycle lasted about 20,000 years. This is known as the Eemian Interglacial Period and the earth returned to a full-fledged ice age immediately afterward
Now maybe all this talk of Ice Volume, Interglacial Cycles is confusing. But there ARE weather cycles we are all familiar with the Seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. We have seen the Seasons come and go. We are all familiar with that Natural Cycle.
Let us do a small thought experiment.
Suppose there were a world exactly like ours, with a Race much like ours but their Life Cycles were 100,00
times more rapid, there days and night came 100,000 times more rapidly BUT their year was the same length as ours and their Seasons progressed the same.
100,000 years to 1 year, 4000 generations, each month would be about 9,000 of their years less than 400 generations. Each month would be about the same length of time as our Historical Era.
The Scientists of this Civilization have for sometime noticed an alarming trend, Their World is getting WARMER. Left unchecked Life on their planet will become extinct.
They determine the cause is the release of Carbon Dioxide into their atmosphere by the use of Fossil Fuels.
The only solution is to De-Industrialize their Civilization. That will require a reduction of their population by about 90%, because a Pre-Industrial Society can only support that number.
They will instituted Draconian Population Controls, tests will be run and only the top 10% will be allowed to reproduce, the remainder of their population will be sterilized.
The Cost will be worth it, their Race, indeed ALL of Life on their Planet will be spare the impending inevitable Doom.
Of course from our viewpoint they are WRONG. The warming trend will NOT increase Linearly, In fact in a few of their Centuries it will become COLDER.
It may become so Cold that their new Civilization will not survive, and their Society will collapse into small bands of Hunter Gatherers.
That is because they were only looking at a small part of a Natural Cycle and assumed incorrectly that trend would continue in the same direction.
Sounds preposterous? Well Big Lizards in Ya Fallow?
informs us that:
Extree, extree, read all about it! Now "global warming" makes glaciers grow bigger...!
Global warming could be causing some glaciers to grow, a new study claims.
Researchers at Newcastle University looked at temperature trends in the western Himalaya over the past century.
They found warmer winters and cooler summers, combined with more snow and rainfall, could be causing some mountain glaciers to increase in size.
Buster Block at InMuscatine in Scientist Predicts Global Cooling
United Press International - NewsTrack - Russian scientist predicts global cooling:
A Russian scientist predicts a period of global cooling in coming decades, followed by a warmer interval.
Khabibullo Abdusamatov expects a repeat of the period known as the Little Ice Age. During the 16th century, the Baltic Sea froze so hard that hotels were built on the ice for people crossing the sea in coaches.
The Little Ice Age is believed to have contributed to the end of the Norse colony in Greenland, which was founded during an interval of much warmer weather
So the next time you read or hear hysterical pronunciations that Global Warming, excuse me Climate Change, is facing us with impending Doom, ask yourself, "What time of the Year is it the warmest?"
Hint it is now August and in the Northern Hemisphere this means September, October, November and December will be what?
So hot that Life as we know it will be threatened?
PS If you liked this post, you will LOVE Global Warming For Dummies
and Hurricane Fables
Begru?en Sie Leser vom JB-Netz: Blog dir einen,
Der Mythos der Globalen Erwarmung
wenn Sie diese Website, ich reccomend
Gerade sollten ubersetzen mussen, klicken auf die deutsche Fahne, und die Version Ihrer Sprache der Seite wird heraufkommen. Entschuldigen Sie bitte irgendwelche Grammatik-Fehler, Computerubersetzungen sind nutzlich, aber alles andere als vollkommen.
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***Junk Science Linked to