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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Whit's Rant -Time to Wean The Ugly Baby


I am not one that believes George W. Bush and Dick Cheney manipulated intelligence about WMD in order to lead America into an unjust war against Saddam Hussein and I believe that politicians who make that claim are, for the most part, malicious Bush hating liars who would gladly ignore history and facts in their rabid pursuit of political power.

I also believe that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein and I do not regret the invasion and the war to remove the most oppressive tyrant in the world. Those that claim he was otherwise are either stupid, ignorant or malicious Bush and America hating liars. I realize that these are harsh words but I'll add the old cliche, "If the shoe fits, wear it."

I am not going to detail and recount what has been said countless times about the breakdown of the sanctions, the corruption of the UN, and Saddam's defiance and subterfuge after the first gulf war when he was thrown out of Kuwait but stupidly allowed to remain in power. But I will once again remind the reader of those facts of history which, after 9/11 led to the decision to remove the tyrant and lie as they might, the liars cannot alter those facts.

So, with the lies to this day continually ringing in my ears I offer this man's opinion that America, like the Brits in Basra, has done about all the good that it can do in Iraq. I am willing to give the "surge" six more months and then it will be time to wean the ugly baby that we have birthed in that God forsaken part of the world. In the meantime, no more money for reconstruction. Let the Iraqis finance that with their oil money. In six months, we should leave Iraq. If, after six months, the Sunnis and Shias still insist on their bloodbath, and I have no reason to believe they won't, so be it, we tried. Let the Arabs and Persians clean up their own dysfunctional mess, we've got our own problems.

51 comments:

  1. No one can truly believe that the present plan of action will have any affect at a price the US,in particular, is willing to pay. Iran has been the one true winner, at least for the moment. I do not believe that the Iraqi people are any better off.

    Saddam kept it together with vicious repression and intimidation. It was one formula that worked. The architects of change from outside of Iraq had no clue at what they were getting involved in. They did not listen to those that knew the territory.

    There is not much point in prolonging the inevitable.

    The underlying problem is Islam itself. The collapse will be ugly.

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  2. Whit said, In the meantime, no more money for reconstruction. Let the Iraqis finance that with their oil money

    Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, the first time they went to Congress for some money:

    Wolfowitz: "There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon." [Source: House Committee on Appropriations Hearing on a Supplemental War Regulation, 3/27/03]

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  3. The underlying problem is Islam itself.

    The more we are willing to disassemble the dominant political powers within the Islamic Empire, the better chance we will have to disassemble Islamism as a dominant culture and ideology.

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  4. Whit,
    I agree with your assessment.

    I ask this next question because I don't follow every troop plcement we have globally, but don't we still have troops in Bosnia?

    These next questions are more in the sarcastic rhetorical arena but don't we have troops in Germany,England,Taiwan,perhaps the Benelux Countries,Australia,New Zealand,South Korea,Japan,New Orleans and now some of the old countries formerly under Soviet control?
    Do we still have any in Kuwait and SArabia?
    Perhaps it would be easier ti list where we don't have troops.
    Or I could take my own advice..

    CIA FACTBOOK

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  5. GLOBAL DEPLOYMENT OF U.S. TROOPS

    Global Security

    130 Countries worldwide

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  6. But come July and August, if there is no withdrawal, no lessening in the levels of violence and the US stays on, what then, whit?

    Because it was a year ago that the Iraqi chose their Government, it had fully emerged, yet that was not enough for Mr Bush.
    He set new standards to be met, standards that are beyond the US Law.
    I guess he can.
    So, for a year now, I've thought the Mission complete, as you do now, or will in six months time.
    I see no reason to believe the Iraqi will discover compromise and reconciliation in six months, but here's to hope.

    But then what, whit.
    How many more US troops sacrificed to "save face", to obtain "Peace with Honor", if not victory, if Mr Bush soldiers on?
    For six months, for a year, until he leaves office.

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  7. Here you go guys.
    Four years we've been at "War" in Iraq, and guess what Iraq the Model is reporting?

    "... The government is meanwhile issuing a bunch of new orders to empower the plan; among those orders are:

    -Offices of political parties are not allowed to possess heavy weapons for defense.
    -Vehicles or buildings from which fire is opened on civilians or security forces will be confiscated
    and their inhabitants/drivers arrested.
    -The selling of petroleum products in the black market is prohibited.


    For over three years confiscating the buildings has been advocated for, but dismissed as to "harsh", not good for winning "Hearts and Minds" it was said, now the Iraqi are doing what needs to be done, without US.
    Perhaps in spite of US.

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  8. maybe that was ole bush's plan in the first place..

    let the 2 bastard childred kill each other..

    reminds me of the 80's

    hehehehehehe

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  9. "three years confiscating the buildings has been advocated for, but dismissed as to "harsh", not good for winning "Hearts and Minds" it was said, now the Iraqi are doing what needs to be done, without US."

    There is an inordinate amount of nonsense written about US decline.

    ...Could it simply be that the inner logic of ethnic decline now shapes the United States' Iraq policy, rather than social engineering DR? Civil war and partition, unpleasant as this might be for Iraq, may be good for US interests.

    A devilish thought, which is better, to have Iraqis shooting at American soldiers, or at each other? As in finance, volatility favors the player with the most options.

    A full-dress civil war in Iraq and an incipient civil war between Fatah and Hamas in Palestine promise a period of bloodshed of indefinite duration (taking away the glorious death of the jihadist-see BC post) - and America's strategic position will be stronger as a result... provided that it can neutralize Iran (but we are told by some that this is the realm of the absurd).

    If, hypothetically, the Persian Gulf were to go up in flames and the price of oil were to double, the US economy would tumble into recession. China's even more oil-sensitive economy would experience a double blow, in the form of higher energy costs and reduced exports to its major markets in the industrial world. By the same token, if Central Asia were to slide into chaos, the biggest loser would be Russia.

    In a January 7 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Edward Luttwak of the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote, "Civil wars can be especially atrocious as neighbors kill each other at close range, but they also have a purpose. They can bring lasting peace by destroying the will to fight (taking away the glorious death of the jihadist-see BC post) and by removing the motives and opportunities for further violence."

    The so-called Palestinian issue has been subsumed into the broader problem of containing Persian imperialism, and the Palestinians have been left to fend for themselves, rather like the Kurds - but without the Kurds' language, 3,000-year history, and success in creating institutions of self-rule.
    - Adapted from Spengler

    ...Struggling along, no strategic vision at all -

    The central objectives of American Capitalism in the region include:

    1) Containment of Iran.
    2) Detaching Central Asia and the Caucasus from Russian domination.
    3) Opening up the area as a major supplier of oil and gas, - in order to diversify global energy production and thereby reduce the power of oil states (Sunni Wahhabism).

    The Western Route (via Turkey): favored by Turkey, the United States, Israel, and the EU.

    February 25, 2007 -
    Turkey and Israel are acknowledging that they are once again discussing the possibility of constructing underwater pipelines from the Turkish port of Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon.

    Ceyhan is now the Mediterranean hub of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. That pipeline connects Ceyhan to Caspian Sea basin oil sources. Interestingly enough, Israel could ship the oil through pipelines to its Red Sea port of Eilat, and then load the oil back on tankers for shipment to East Africa, India, or East Asia (Japan and China). This is an interesting option for Caspian Sea oil exporters, like Azerbaijan, because it bypasses the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran often threatens to close. The pipelines don't yet exist, but the Israelis are supposed to be willing to put up the capital. Two other undersea pipelines could be constructed, one to carry natural gas and another to ship electricity. Turkey's new hydro-electric power stations are coming on line and Turkey has electricity to sell.

    As far as the USA is concerned -

    1) A step toward export of hydrocarbons from the Caspian resources to the Western markets in order to decrease the degree of dependence on the Persian Gulf oil (Sunni Wahhabism).
    2) Denies Iran oil and gas pipelines of the Caspian region in order to block the expansion of Iran's influence and any financial gains
    3) Reduction of the degree of Russian influence on Caspian countries

    Goodnight.

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  10. Don't be mistaken, democracy is indeed a strategic goal for the region.

    Why?

    The religion of the dollar thrives in democracy and open markets.

    Iyad Jamal Al-Din: "Democracy is the religion of the dollar and serves its global interests. This dollar has a spirited life - it is dear, honorable, and loveable. It gets vexed real quickly, get it? Dollar has a religion. The religion of the dollar is democracy. This applies to the entire world, because the dollar cannot thrive in dictatorial countries, but only in democracies. For the sake of their global economy, [the Americans] establish democracy.

    annuit coeptis

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  11. Go out and buy your Hyundai! There's a supply glut!

    "U.S. sales are falling far more than we expected due to a currency-related problem, heightening the inventory concern," said a senior official at Hyundai Motor, who asked not to be named.

    The official said Hyundai Motor would soon take "a certain measure" to lower the inventory level in the U.S.

    In January, Hyundai Motor sold 27,721 units in the U.S., down 8.2 percent from a year earlier and the lowest monthly sales in two years.


    Weaker Yen

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  12. Inconvenient Truth...fuck me. No tv here. So did Gore throw his hat in the race?

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  13. Well, elijah, if the US now favors a partitioned Iraq, it cames after four years of policy failure.

    A unified Iraq was and still is the Public Policy, the one US troops are dying for. If that Policy is a fraud, the troops sacrificed in a dishonest cause.

    We could have created the internal Iraqi strife at any time, simply by withdrawing to the mega-bases.
    No, if the US has moved to sectarian violence and civil war in Iraq to achieve a new set of Goals, it is only due to failures in achieving the previous Goals.

    Or Mr Bush and Team have behaved criminally, which I do not believe to be the case.

    The Koreans are getting smacked by the weak yen, no longer having a monetary advantage over Japan.

    No sense maintaining a strong currency in the new world order

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  14. d'Rat,

    What was the purpose in trying to keep Iraq "unified"?

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  15. Just a little trivia: Korean cars are the most selling cars in Israel. That's because Jews like to drive Mercedes. :)

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  16. I think the striped pants crew is afraid of the entire Region unraveling if the map begins to be redrawn.

    The President bought into the need for stability & realism, after he had started the Democratic Revolution.

    It what trish refers to as the basic premise of the Policy, that there is an Arabia filled with Arabs, just wanting the chance to be Americans.

    Mr Bush has position the US in a tight spot.

    To win the War in Iraq the US has to empowered the radical Shia Mohammedans that control the Government. A real loss in the War on Terror.

    But if the War in Iraq does not end with empowering the Shia dominated Government, then the US loses the War in Iraq. Whether now or in two years, but when Iraqi War ends, the War on Terror, the two now joined at the hip, will end with it.

    It'll be 9-10-01 all over again.
    Police chases and probable cause.

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  17. With Iraq’s oil wealth concentrated in the Kurdish north and the Shi’ite south, the division of oil is a key factor in communal tensions.

    Once dominant Sunni Arabs, now the backbone of the insurgency, fear that an unfair deal will cut them off from billions of dollars in revenues.

    Washington is also pushing for changing debaathification, a law passed by a US occupation authority shortly after the invasion and which fired tens of thousands of Baath party members, many of them Sunnis, from public employment.


    Little Hope

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  18. "Arabia" is not filled with Arabs. Stability & realism will come when the US learns to apply this knowledge, by way of a democratic revolution.

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  19. If there is a Regional sectarian war, Sunni vs Shia, with the US standing by.

    Likely all the negatives to the world economy previously mentioned will prevail.

    No good to come of that.
    Not for the Kissinger/ Baker/ Rice school of international relations and fees.
    Not for King Saud or Prince Bandar

    Not for many folk at all.

    But no one wants the Iranian debate, not in the US Congress, anyway.

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  20. Pre 9/11/01 mentality, don't think so.

    "we are not united as a people and are not willing to fight this to a successful conclusion."

    Events are fluid; numerous Iranian actions could cause a paradigm shift.
    BC 1/13/2007 08:46:00 PM

    The following would result in your paradigm shift:
    3) IEDs in the U.S.
    BC 2/25/2007 06:38:00 AM

    White House drill tests response to IED attack
    February 25, 2007
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Dozens of high-level officials joined in a White House drill yesterday to see how the government would respond if several cities were attacked simultaneously by the type of roadside bombs used against American troops in Iraq.

    White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend presided over the three-hour exercise that brought the government's highest-level homeland security officials to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. All Cabinet agencies were represented by their secretaries or other high-ranking officials, with about 90 participants, said Scott Stanzel, a White House spokesman.

    2/25/2007 08:36:00 PM

    How would Murtha and Pelosi respond?

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  21. That, I think, has been trish's point.
    Those charting the course have no idea of the local seas.

    allen posted Ms Rice's and the US position on the Palistinian people, all yearning to breathe free in a spirt of peace and reconciliation. If only given the chance, just like the Iraqi people.

    As long as that is the premise of US policy, and it still seems to be, we'll get more of the same.

    Slow failure.

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  22. It's the sands under the sea. The sea that the US wishes to chart thru is nothing more than Jihadi taqqiya, waves of lies in a sea of lies.

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  23. re: Murtha and Pelosi

    Re-deploy to Okinawa.

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  24. There have been a rash of Mohammedan attacks in the US, the perps arrested and dropped into a memory hole.

    Industrial fires and train wrecks seem to be running rampent lately.

    In my youth I was witness to a disinformation project, concerning the downing of two US aircraft in Panama, 1981. The offical, public report was a fraud.
    A misinformation campaign.

    Watch the news, it is rehashed Government press releases and news conferences. No one breaches the subject, not even the possibility or probabilities of a domestic terror campaign, while we could be in the midst of one.

    A case of you showed me yours, I'll show you mine. Privately, without fanfare, to start. If it's Iran and HB. If it is, at all.

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  25. As good a spot as anywhere.

    As long as the mega-bases and their airstrips are secure.
    With prepositioned equipment, the troops could be there in 18 hours, from anywhere in the world.

    By Boeing.

    Okinawa as good a Kuwait, maybe better.

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  26. Discussions about the democratic deficit in the Muslim world tend to conflate Sunnis and Shias as culturally homogeneous groups. Nuances about diversity within Islam only come up related to the regional variation in practices and political institutions (e.g. Middle Eastern Islam, North African Islam, South Asian Islam, Central Asian Islam, and Southeast Asian Islam).

    ...

    Masoumeh Ebtekar, the first female vice president of Iran under the reformist former President Muhammad Khatami, recently remarked that Shia gains through electoral means in Iraq will "encourage us (Iran) to open up, since we see a different example of governance but with similar mentality that is also Shiite" (2005, 58). This sentiment is echoed by the prominent Iranian dissident intellectual Abdol Karim Soroush's thinking that as the Shia majority in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq comes to power, there will be a shift in "the overall balance among Shiites toward democratic legitimacy and away from the idea of clerical rule we see in Iran" (2004a).

    ...

    Shia theology and mass-level religious and social practice might favor democratic tendencies. What about Shia elites and their basic political orientations over type of governance?


    Shia Democracy

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  27. d'Rat,

    That's the wrong strategy: You wanting to fly over, when you should be submerged and unseen under.

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  28. Dateline, 15 minutes ago:
    Palestine issue mandatory for a peaceful Middle-East: Musharraf
    Monday February 26, 2007 (0934 PST)

    ISLAMABAD: President General Pervez Musharraf has stressed on a just and immediate solution to the Palestine issue, mandatory for a conducive peace in the Middle East region.
    While exchanging views with like-minded foreign ministers of the Islamic World, he said that keeping in view the problems and challenges facing the Ummah, the Muslim world would have to forge a cohesive and harmonious relationship between itself.

    The meeting included such luminaries as OIC secretary general, Akmaluddin Ihsanoglu, and Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, and focused on the discussion about the latest issues of Palestine and Iraq, besides the urgent matter of Iran's nuclear programme.


    The Sunni Bloc is forming up, even as we watch.

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  29. "I am willing to give the 'surge' six more months and then it will be time to wean the ugly baby that we have birthed in that God forsaken part of the world."

    Is you is or is you ain't my baby
    The way you're actin' lately makes me doubt
    You's is still my baby, baby
    Seems my flame in your heart's done gone out

    [...]

    Is you is or is you ain't my baby
    Maybe baby's found somebody new
    Or is my baby still my baby true

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  30. I made that argument, myself, sam. That democratic success, freedon and liberty in Iraq would flow into Iran, helping to destabilize it.

    That the Rial is the currency of choice in Basra, weakens the argument to a great degree. mostly the influence has flowed West, rather than East, at least to date.

    Hard to argue that any civilized society would want to emulate Baghdad.

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  31. The Sunni Bloc is forming up, even as we watch.

    Really. To me it looks as little more than deflection.

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  32. American intelligence officials have made an assessment that senior Qaeda leaders in Pakistan have re-established significant control over their global network and are training operatives in some of the camps for strikes on Western targets.

    One American official familiar with intelligence reports about Pakistan said intelligence agencies had established “clear linkages” between the Qaeda camps and the plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights that was thwarted last August. American analysts said the recent trials of terrorism suspects in Britain showed that some defendants had been trained in Pakistan.

    American officials say one reason General Musharraf agreed to pull government troops back to their barracks in North Waziristan and allow tribal leaders greater control over security was to give him time to rebuild his intelligence network in the border region gradually.


    Bush to Warn Pakistan

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  33. Arguments and discussions that were on the cutting edge, back in '04 and becoming a bit dated in '05, while the situation of the ground, in DC and Baghdad has changed greatly since than.
    Now that it is 2007.

    The Iraqi Shia radicals that found sanctuary in Iran, after the Bush backstab in '91, are mow the Iraqi Government. They were not in that position in '04 or '05.

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  34. Could be, but I think it could be the setup to deploy Pakis into the Region, fronting for the Sauds.

    Moving the Sunni Nuclear Knight to defend the King.

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  35. "Hard to argue that any civilized society would want to emulate Baghdad."

    There were some great interviews a few months back (obscure television channel) with reformists in Syria, who all expressed dismay that democratization in Iraq had given democracy a bad name among Syrians.

    "There is not much point in prolonging the inevitable."

    Ah, but the AQ-ists and others will (again) call us pussies.

    Withdrawing even marginally to megabases and just sitting there will do much the same.

    How are you going to deal with that?

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  36. Seymour Hersh
    He says elijah is right, we are instigating a sectarian divide, that I'm right, that the Iranian gains were unforeseen and constitute a grave setback.

    Any way he's on top of Prince Bandar and the like.

    The Saudis are driven by their fear that Iran could tilt the balance of power not only in the region but within their own country. Saudi Arabia has a significant Shiite minority in its Eastern Province, a region of major oil fields; sectarian tensions are high in the province. The royal family believes that Iranian operatives, working with local Shiites, have been behind many terrorist attacks inside the kingdom, according to Vali Nasr. “Today, the only army capable of containing Iran”—the Iraqi Army—“has been destroyed by the United States. You’re now dealing with an Iran that could be nuclear-capable and has a standing army of four hundred and fifty thousand soldiers.” (Saudi Arabia has seventy-five thousand troops in its standing army.)

    Nasr went on, “The Saudis have considerable financial means, and have deep relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis”—Sunni extremists who view Shiites as apostates. “The last time Iran was a threat, the Saudis were able to mobilize the worst kinds of Islamic radicals. Once you get them out of the box, you can’t put them back.”

    The Saudi royal family has been, by turns, both a sponsor and a target of Sunni extremists, who object to the corruption and decadence among the family’s myriad princes. The princes are gambling that they will not be overthrown as long as they continue to support religious schools and charities linked to the extremists. The Administration’s new strategy is heavily dependent on this bargain.


    The Pakis get the Administration out of the bind. They are acceptable and better than the Brotherhood, at least on TV.

    The Sauds are not all that competent, against an external threat. The Pakis would be, it'd not take that many, 25 or 30,000 a strong tripwire. The US would sign off. The Israeli as well.

    Any way Seymour is worth an entire thread or even two

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  37. We know from the philosophers that a true statement is true without regard to the reliability or sagacity of the person who utters it. We have it on good authority that the truth shall set us free.

    David Geffen spoke truth to Maureen Dowd last week. And he may have triggered a series of events that will set the Democratic party free from its Clinton captivity.

    Here is what the Hollywood mogul told the New York Times gossip columnist:

    ...


    You Go, Geffen!

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  38. If it were me, trish, I outlined that Plan two years ago.
    Escalate in Warizistan to cover the Iraqi draw down.

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  39. Jan 27, 2007

    But there are other nuances, too.
    .
    ...It appears that the US has broached with Pakistan the issue of "help and assistance" in respect of its standoff with Iran. At any rate, the timing of Musharraf's tour of the pro-American Sunni Arab capitals Riyadh, Cairo and Amman last weekend was important. The hurriedly arranged tour followed consultations of the US secretaries of state and defense in Riyadh.

    In a rare gesture, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia personally received Musharraf at the airport at Riyadh. Also, a grateful Saudi king conferred on Musharraf the "King Abdul Aziz Prize", Saudi Arabia's highest award. For some obscure reason, Musharraf has become the first-ever Pakistani leader to receive such an honor.

    Equally, Pakistan and NATO seem to have finalized their agreement establishing an institutionalized framework of cooperation. NATO and the US have been pressing Musharraf for early conclusion of such an agreement. But Pakistan has been dragging its feet. Without doubt, Washington will appreciate that Musharraf has once again braved potentially vehement domestic opposition to deliver on a key US demand.

    Formal NATO-Pakistan cooperation is bound to impact on the "war on terror" in Afghanistan. As the NATO spokesman succinctly put it, Pakistan will henceforth become "part of the solution". The million-dollar question for regional powers is whether the Taliban also will become "part of the solution".

    At the same time, emerging ties with Pakistan will enable NATO to begin to reduce its dependence on Russian airspace (and Russian goodwill) for ferrying supplies for troops in Afghanistan. Not only that: at a time when Israel's formal admission to NATO is under active discussion, NATO will have already established a foothold on the Persian Gulf region's eastern periphery. Most important, the configuration works to the great advantage of the US in the event of an outbreak of military hostilities against Iran, which borders Pakistan.

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  40. Sunday's meeting is supposed to lay the groundwork for a summit of Muslim leaders to be held in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. No dates have been announced for that meeting.

    On Friday, Musharraf spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who supported Musharraf's initiative, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan news agency reported.

    Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led war against terrorism, has no diplomatic ties with, Israel and supports a separate state for Palestinians with Jerusalem as its capital.


    Up-coming meeting

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  41. elijah's thesis is in agreement with what the Leader of HB says:
    Nasrallah said he believed that President Bush’s goal was “the drawing of a new map for the region. They want the partition of Iraq. Iraq is not on the edge of a civil war—there is a civil war. There is ethnic and sectarian cleansing. The daily killing and displacement which is taking place in Iraq aims at achieving three Iraqi parts, which will be sectarian and ethnically pure as a prelude to the partition of Iraq. Within one or two years at the most, there will be total Sunni areas, total Shiite areas, and total Kurdish areas. Even in Baghdad, there is a fear that it might be divided into two areas, one Sunni and one Shiite.”

    He went on, “I can say that President Bush is lying when he says he does not want Iraq to be partitioned. All the facts occurring now on the ground make you swear he is dragging Iraq to partition. And a day will come when he will say, ‘I cannot do anything, since the Iraqis want the partition of their country and I honor the wishes of the people of Iraq.’ ”

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  42. "Escalate in Warizistan to cover the Iraqi draw down."

    Good idea, but the wherewithall's not there for Waziristan.

    You could recommit simply to Afghanistan but with possibly indifferent results.

    It's just not looking good.

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  43. "Formal NATO-Pakistan cooperation is bound to impact on the 'war on terror' in Afghanistan. As the NATO spokesman succinctly put it, Pakistan will henceforth become 'part of the solution'."

    We have a long relationship with the Pakistanis. It's nothing new.

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  44. We could pull folk out of Iraq, while hitting the Taliban from the air.
    All the while the Pakis reinforce the King. Semi perfect symmetry.

    I agree that there is not much where with all to advance that line, but it's what I'd do.

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  45. The irony is that Afghanistan is being put to use as a launch pad by the US for sponsoring terrorism directed against Iran, when the raison d'etre of the US occupation of Afghanistan during the past five years has been for the stated purpose of fighting a "war on terrorism".

    ...In other words, the "war on terror" in Afghanistan has come full circle. A few things stand out. First, as Bush pithily summed up, Musharraf "is an ally in this war on terror and it's in our interest to support him in fighting the extremists".

    The restoration of democracy in Pakistan will have to wait.

    Second, the US and NATO military occupation of Afghanistan is for the long haul. The specter of al-Qaeda's resurgence is sufficient to justify it.

    Third, the US military presence in the Central Asian region will also continue for the foreseeable future, no matter what Russia or China feels about it (see Kaplan Imperial Grunts-relationship between GWOT and China strategy).

    Fourth, regional powers must appreciate that it is the United States that stands between them and the deluge of Islamic extremism. They must therefore cooperate with the US (and NATO) and trust Washington to represent their best interests in the devilishly obscure Pakistani tribal areas.

    Finally, this is a long-term ideological struggle - freedom and democracy versus extremism and obscurantism.

    And wherever there is "democracy deficit" - be it oil-rich Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan - the US has a right to intervene (see EB - Sun Feb 25, 08:57:00 PM EST).

    Meanwhile, what does Tehran do about the Zahedan incident? Does it retaliate against NATO in Afghanistan? Should it hold Musharraf accountable for the covert US operations staged from Pakistani soil? In chess, this is called a classic zugzwang - having to choose between two bad options.

    And if Musharraf falls, India enters the stage.

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  46. "...but it's what I'd do."

    I know. But it's not what we'll do.

    They'll keep their sanctuary until they pull out another successful attack on the U.S. And if I were them, I wouldn't bother.

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  47. The irony is that Afghanistan is being put to use as a launch pad by the US for sponsoring terrorism directed against Iran, when the raison d'etre of the US occupation of Afghanistan during the past five years has been for the stated purpose of fighting a "war on terrorism".

    - elijah

    The irony is that you never needed Iraq.

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  48. "The irony is that you never needed Iraq."

    - No Iraq
    - No sectarian divide
    - No ability to attack Iran
    - No period of bloodshed of indefinite duration consuming the Sunni and Shia caliphate

    "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we endeavor to deceive."

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  49. "No ability to attack Iran"

    Mmmm.

    'Night, elijah.

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  50. War is a matter of deception

    By way of deception, thou shalt do war

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