Thursday, January 04, 2007

Greg Djerejian on Kurdistan, ISG, and the aftermath of Iraq

Nothing new here, but the language is wonderful. If brevity is the soul of wit, this is a jewel. I missed a great deal for not having linked BD earlier.

Again, all this is no longer about "victory", but containing the damage from what could yet prove the biggest blunder in U.S. foreign policy history (if it isn't already). And sure, let's call containing the worst spill-over, if this team is capable of it, "success", if that makes POTUS happier. But let's keep focused now on realistic goals, not Alice in Wonderland stuff, OK? And yes, this means we won't be presiding over some glorious trinity of Shi'a, Sunni and Kurdish "moderates" singing kumbaya simply because we "surge" into Baghdad--whilst slaying the Iranian Beast for good
measure on our off hours. Indeed, any surge, it it comes to that, must be viewed not as some Grand Push to Victory, but a way to provide critical breathing space for intensive diplomatic and political efforts to somehow allow for an imperfect settlement to be broached that avoids A) a massive, full-blown civil war in Iraq, and B) major interventions in Iraq by regional players like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey.

Our goal in Iraq, put simply, is to douse the raging fire our hubris and ineptitude set alight, as best and cleverly and forcefully (given our limited resources) that we can, hoping and praying our efforts at damage control can make some difference at this advanced hour, and keeping in mind we're stuck with a national security team that has distinguished itself by its manifold blunders.

Important to keep in mind, as well, the reason the ISG is recommending a massive region-wide diplomatic crisis management effort involving Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, Riyadh, Cairo, Teheran, and Amman among other capitals, is because the region is in such a state of brewing chaos that any sources of further instability and conflict must be ameliorated to keep the regional temperature under control, wherever and however possible. Yes, the situation is this bad.

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