Friday, June 23, 2006


Refocus on Iran

Austin Bay posts on a change in focus from Iraq to Iran, and references Wretchard at The Belmont Club. Bay and Wretchard both remark on recent talk of amnesty as “a new peace feeler” from the Iraqi government to Sunni holdouts. Bay quotes Wretchard’s three conclusions, with which he agrees:

The internally organized insurgency (al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Sunni insurgency) is decline. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is hurt and perhaps dying; the Sunnis are looking to throw in the towel.

Criminal gangs and ethnic militias are the rising threat. But Casey does not appear all that worried. “And if you look at where the sectarian violence is occurring, it’s occurring within about a 30-mile — 90 percent of it is occurring in about a 30- mile radius around Baghdad

Something happened “since the December elections and in the aftermath of the Samarra bombing” that made the security situation “more complex”. And that something appears to be the increasing role of Iran using the Lebanese Hezbollah and Qods to direct and support “a wide variety of groups across southern Iraq”.

Not linked by Bay, Wretchard in his post goes on to remark on the possibility of a shifting US strategic focus:

The recently announced Iraqi government peace proposal to the Sunnis was in all probability already known to both Rumsfeld and Casey when they gave this briefing. If I were to guess, and I emphasize guess, it means that the US is now in the process of shifting its strategic focus from al-Qaeda and Sunni threats to Iran.

Here’s Bay’s conclusion:

Maliki’s amnesty looks very similar to the program Allawi wanted to implement. The difference is Maliki has the political power of a democratically-elected national unity government behind him. The Sunnis holdouts have also suffered another two years of defeat. The old Sunni line in Iraq was “the Shia are sheep.” The Saddamists running the Sunni insurgency thought they could terrorize the Shia into submission. They also banked on “the Vietnam syndrome” to get the US to leave– set off bombs, rely on the global media to magnify the bombs, and slowly erode US national will.

I can only thank God our President and our Military leadership don’t make strategic, national security decisions based on polls, public opinion, or media reporting.

Bay accurately gauges the Sunni insurgency, what they were counting on as a central tenet of their strategy. Note how completely it’s failed on all fronts. The Shia reacted not with fear, or violence and reprisals, but steadiness, restraint, and no small amount of courage. So the current American Administration and its military have . The only effect that Sunni holdouts and their erstwhile Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist conspirators was the last, that of global media eroding US national will, at least as can be surmised from the recent bottoming out of the President’s poll numbers, Democratic caterwauling, or polls showing US public increasingly demoralized over the course of the war, which US and Iraqi security forces are winning handily.

Also linked by Instapundit, Blue Crab Boulevard.

(Cross-posted at Milblogs)

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