Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Plan to Stabilize Iraq

The following is a position paper of The Jacksonian Party.

[UPDATE: Apparently there are some folks who need some backgrounding on my views of the Middle East and don't like the various and sundry links I provide and thus go off on tangents everywhich way. So the quick and easy links to further verbiage are as follows: Creating an Army - a MUST READ; Synopsis view 21st century US armed forces; How to fight in the 21st century and why; Transformed warfare and transforming our view of it ;Why Cold War ideas on Iran will not work; Transnational Terrorims and how it evolves; How States play a part in Transnational Terrorism, but do not drive it;Iran raises curtain on Act II; What Peace in the Middle East means; The Golden Opportunity; The major faultlines driving the Middle East a MUST READ for this article; What is Lebanon to Iran?; Iran's First Foreign Legion - Hezbollah; Iran's Second Foreign Legionn -Mahdi Army; Iranian Foreign policy; Iran's First Foreign Legion Act II, phase I; Iran's First Foreign Legion's teething pains;War with Iran first view, second view; Coalescence of Barbarism; Legitimate armed political party is an oxymoron; The al Qaeda plan for Victory - a MUST READ; The Long Term Consequences of Defeat - a MUST READ; Terrorism is illegitimate war not civil crime; The strategy in Iraq - a MUST READ; Ending unreal 'Realism' - a MUST READ and priority to examine the tribal overlay in the Middle East; Post-Warism - a MUST READ and necessary to understand the underlying structural problems of the Middle East; Some reminders of how Iran operates circa 2000; James Baker and the ISG echo chamber.

And if you don't like this plan, then perhaps a Jacksonian Retreat would interest you?

So, yes, I have taken time to look at the Middle East, see the problems, trace their roots, look at historical analogies and fits, see what does and does not work in similar situations, and so on. There are quite simple driving forces in the Middle East, but there are many of them. They must be understood individually and then put into interplay which is multi-divided factionalism. A good start there is the War of the Roses and the entire Italian Peninsula circa the Medicis, plus the Spanish Revolution. For the last time the West failed and continues to do so elsewhere, the post-warism article is a chilling concept as no one wants to address complexity arising from simple causes. The complexity is in the number of things and the interactions, but not in the underlying causations. This article addresses how to use a simple set of actions to strike across those causational drives and put them to work in a different means. And do note that stability is not "Peace". The world has never known this thing called "Peace", but has been more peaceful and less peaceful over time. Keeping conflict down is a dynamic tension, not a static one, which must shift scales and magnitude continuously. This plan aims to start getting that dynamic in place and to hold some of these offshoots to account. Getting from here to there requires changing the direction of those drives away from ones that they are currently in and destructive. That requires that we *do something else*, not just pull out moldy plans and try to apply them but to understand the dynamics in the region and address they dynamics to set up a better and more self-balancing one. In conception the actual plan is extremely simple, but its outcomes are not simplistic. Simplistic plans to address complexity fail due to the complexity shifting in response to the plan. This plan addresses the shifting complexity so that it can change to a new state that is dynamically self-balancing. No one else has tried to address this nor put a map from here to there.

The commentary rules are enforced. One free criticism and THEN PUT UP YOUR OWN PLAN WHICH IS BETTER. If you cannot do that, then do not criticize those trying to build. It is 'Put up or Shut up'. Building and solutions are necessary, and criticism without either is mere destruction and self-preening. Offer better and help build or be quiet. Thus ends the update.]


Many are complaining about the fighting in Iraq and the fact that there appears to be 'no end in sight'. On two levels this is correct and on one level wrong. It is firstly correct that fighting for liberty and freedom is an ongoing and endless task. That is part of being Republic run as a representative democracy: even if the whole world came to understand and accept this, the slide into Authoritarianism and Dictatorship must be watched for and fought. And since those that purport such things have come to value their rights over yours, violence ensues as this meets resistance. Authoritarian and Dictatorial regimes offer the simplistic view of one man or one party rule being 'perfect for the times'. It is not perfect for *all* time. That must be fought as it gives rise to the end of liberty and freedom of individuals. Further, even Nations that are fully democratic can go to war and have conflict: democracy is not an antidote for the human condition, but it alleviates the worst of it. Nations will always have National needs and goals and those will be at cross-purposes to other Nations even in this conceptual perfect world of democracy.

On a second and more specific level, Iraq can only be stabilized to a relatively high percentage, even if the MNF and Iraqi Armed Forces are *perfected* and able to wipe out those currently fighting them and their leaders. Why is this the case?

1) Because the native Ba'thist insurgency has disappeared and no longer exists. This has, in actuality, escaped the attention of the MSM, most military analysts and ALL political analysts. Ba'athism hit the 'ash heap of history' in Iraq soon after the Riverine campaign ended at the border town of Tal Afar. Facing very long and tenuous supply lines, hatred by the Sunni population that was viewing them as 'just another set of thugs' and still being targeted by al Qaeda, the Shia militias, MNF and, increasingly, the New Iraqi Army, National Guard and Police, the Ba'athists have quietly shuffled off the board to Syria. They do what they can, but their adherents are either dead or fled. This is necessary to the long-term stability in Iraq and the only success of the current plan is in this sole point. In removing the Ba'athists as a 'major player' the other players now gain high and stark definition. Thus, while the actual milieu of players is decremented by one, the remaining players gain much higher visibility for each and every act they do because they are, generally, sectarian. The higher media profile now entrenches the remaining players that use the media to push their agenda of hate-filled destruction. That said the current plan is addressing this, but doing so on the much slower basis of tribes needing to realize that the current crop of players have no good end for them.

2) Now for one of the major players we have al Qaeda from Saudi Arabia infiltrating into the southern Sunni population, with their adherents being in the percentage points of that population, with an upper limit at 10% or so. And, as the Arab Sunni population is 20% and declining of the entire population that is a 2% base to draw upon and an even smaller fraction that is willing to die for al Qaeda. Foreign infiltrators still make up a good percentage of their forces, but those are being more rapidly identified and, after having attempted to put their version of Sharia law into place, the rest of the Sunnis have had it with them. The Arab Sunni tribes are joining with the Government to help put al Qaeda out of business and will, presumably, have as much chance as, say, France or Great Britain has of doing that: nil. The tribes have recognized that as splintered tribes their *say* was getting diluted and exploited by outsiders and still is, to some extent. Getting picked off piecemeal by al Qaeda and Ba'athist remnants has endangered their entire tribal structure and society. They heavily resisted the US post-invasion clean-up until they found themselves coming face to face with the New Iraqi Army. They could 'fool those dumb Americans' for awhile, but their shrewd Iraqi cousins of the Shia strain were joining up with the New Iraqi Army and Police and even the 'dumb Americans' used a hard training and indoctrination cycle to start understanding the tribes, making friends and undermining enmity. These two things forced the Sunnis into National politics and is now forcing the tribes to band together and join up with the Government to find protection. They have realized the old Franklin saw: "We can hang together or hang separately." They then started to sign up to the New Army and Police forces and were even MORE harshly targeted by al Qaeda. This is making al Qaeda unwelcome even more than previously.

3) The Shia population is, itself, split into three major groupings, each consisting of multiple factions within those groups. Thus the 60% Shia majority is in no way seen as cohesive as a sectarian outlook as the splintering of Shia Islamic thinking that is based in Iraq has brought out many separatist groupings and followings who are willing to switch allegiance and be opportunists. That said they do fall into three main groups that broadly cover those intra-sect rivalries. They are as follows:

a) The followers of Iran/Khomeinist views. This is estimated to be a relative minority within the Shia population with estimates running between 10 % to 20% of the Shia population. These followers are mostly in the southeastern and Iranian border regions, with some good sized number of adherents all the way to Baghdad, where it starts to peter out badly. These are typified by the Iranian Foreign Legion of the Mahdi Army led by al Sadr, the Badr brigades, tribes aligned with their brothers in Iran and many imported followers from Iran over the porous border. Thus Iran is directly backing these groups and tribes for sectarian reasons and no love is lost between them and the majority of the Shia community over this. The simplistic view is that these folks are the *cause* of the troubles. Even in that view, however, the source of this being Iran is *not* being addressed. The current government, needing Sadrist support to come to power, has now found itself in the difficult position of having to *neutralize* the Mahdi Army and Badr Brigades. They are reluctant to do so as their government has a low probability of remaining if that support is withdrawn and trying to even *ask* for Kurdish or Sunni Arabs to *help* them may isolate the government even further from their majoritatian base.

b) The followers of al-Sistani, the 60% majority of Shias and possibly more, in Iraq. Ali al-Sistani *wants* a Federal and non-sectarian government and has been stating so since the end of the major part of the conflict against the Ba'athists in 2003. His viewpoint, privately as related by numerous authors and reporters, is that he says the Sadrists will be *taken care of*. And, all indications of the emotional phrasing of that language is on the order of a Mafia Don talking about a smaller, rival gang. These folks who follow al-Sistani, hate, with avengence, the Khomeinist schools of thought and volunteered in huge numbers during the Iran/Iraq war. The reason we have not seen mass bloodshed of 'Lancet Proportions' is due wholly and completely to this grouping that supports a secular and common Federal Government. They do, however, sit on their hands and offer INTEL and anything else that does not make them an obvious target at home and sign up for the Army and Police in droves. The followers of al-Sistani are becoming the committed Nationalists of the New Iraq and prove that day in and day out by fighting and pacifying *anyone* in those organizations, even the upstart minority followers of al-Sistani that are militant.

c) The highly secular city dwellers and remoter tribes that approach religion in a more Westernized fashion as something of 'personal belief' but not to be fought over with blood and guts on the street. This grouping makes up 20% to 30% of the remainder, with a high cross-over to al-Sistani for belief, but non-alignment with him in actions. These folks do *not* want a return of Ba'athists, view Iran with crawling skin and are also signing up for the military and police, although not in proportion to the Sistani followers as these folks have the jobs in manufacturing, banking and industry necessary to get the Nation up and running. These are the people getting heavily trained in Western Nations and have stood up a National bank and lending system, a stock exchange, a foreign currency market, are measuring employment rates and can now figure out 'sector outputs', have targeted spending on agriculture and infrastructure so as to stand up the Nation as a whole. They are joined with a scattering of non-aligned Sunni tribes and the Kurds in the north to get an entirely new power grid in place that will slowly replace the old one which was a Soviet monstrosity. Re-conversion of power plants away from their Ba'athist patchwork use of crude oil to their original capability for natural gas is a slow and ongoing concern that will take until about 2012 to complete. Once done the natural gas now vented and wasted will be used for power generation and crude oil will go to refineries. Iraq, like the US, lacks refining capability. Unlike the US they do NOT have environmental laws and will be putting up new and modern refineries in the coming years. These people are targeted as they are the *glue* holding the Nation together for this generation. The followers of al-Sistani will take that long to get educated, trained and aligned into the infrastructure of Iraq to give it a solid manufacturing foundation and some large amount of heavy industrial employment. They have seen the results of decades of living off of oil wealth in other Nations and want ZERO part of that. The overall objective is to make Iraq into a modern, manufacturing Nation with a strong natural resources segment, not a vestige industrial sector living off of the leavings of crude oil sales.

What a 'best case' scenario holds is a decade or more of 'holding action', sectarian strife, and a slow and steady push by the New Iraqi Army in a slow form of 'sectarian cleansing' against the Khomeinist followers and the minoritarian al Qaeda and Ba'athist supporters. This is a *Hamiltonian* conception that works just fine, so long as everything remains *just as it is*. Looking at the 'Defeatocrats', The Jacksonian Party reply is: fat chance of THAT happening!

So the two-levels of correctness are covered: ideologically - representative democracy is in a continuous struggle against simplistic authoritarian, theocratic, socialistic and other viewpoints that diminish human freedoms, and, on the specifics of Iraq, this is played out against two sectarian ideologies looking to make a new Empire that is global in expanse, thus quavering *there* will start that ball rolling in a harsh manner that we will live to regret and quickly.

And those bemoaning 'staying the course' are realizing that *Hamiltonian* ideas cost time, lives and money, require some sort of stability and take for-freaking-ever to get anywhere. Americans like 'faster, better, cheaper' and hate 'choose 2 out of 3'. They do go together, unfortunately.

And as the *Jeffersonians* have been wishy-washy and unable to come to terms that 'all men are created equal' and actually mean it regardless of cultural background and SAY SO, they are not helping the matter. They should be the very FIRST to denounce ANYONE using cultural bias to demean the idea of human liberty being universal as something anathema and foreign to the Nation. Too busy knitting, I guess.

Finally, those splendiferous *Wilsonians*? They got us INTO THIS MESS and will NOT clean it up! The fool and daft notion of 'International Law' the 'UN handling everything' and then undermining the Nation's foreign policy in the region since "shuttle diplomacy" all the way to the Clinton diplomacy of 'huh?' and lack of foreign policy is still reflected by that lack of 'Guiding Principle Foreign Policy' under this Administration and Condaleeza Rice is a problem directly traced to Wislonian conceptions of higher world order. Both the Wilsonian Internationalists and the Wilsonian higher order folks want the Cold War paradigms to work and are unable to cut the bonds to that conflict to address this one properly. *Wilsonians* have not been addressing the Middle East since before we were attacked by Iran in 1979 and the first response we have given that had any meaning to this latest generation of deadly Islam was in 2001!

And they, the *Hamiltonians* and the *Jeffersonians* will NOT realize that this is a deadly conflict that cannot be addressed by 'wonderful international institutions'. These three strains of US political thought are holding onto the Cold War boat anchor after the chain has been released and the anchor, itself, is now submerging quickly. This lack of conceptual space leads to defeatism and there are long term consequences to that which these practitioners of these schools of thought try to wash their hands of, although the stench of it, it still clings to them. All three of these strains of American political thought are endangering the Nation *before* we even get to the Transnational Progressivists.

The *Jacksonian* viewpoint, which is the contrary side to the other strains of thought and reviews the struggle the Nation is in within the context of the actual, real modern world, and thus offers the way out and points out the incorrectness of the other strains lacks, is that: if the game is going against you, then it is time to change the operational parameters of the game itself, and then *play harder*. Jacksonians see that the US has been at war with Islamic Fundamentalism since 1979 and with Islam, periodically, all the way back to Thomas Jefferson. Strange that Jefferson could send the US Marines to 'kick butts and take names' TWICE and modern day Jeffersonians will not stand up for the SAME.

Jacksonians have a simple but not *simplistic* view of Foreign Policy based on HONOR not on things too complex to talk about to the common man. From that I put together a very basic set of Goals on the Global War on Terrorism that depends upon the strengths of the 18th Century Republic of the United States to still EXIST as it was enshrined in writing and we still hold to that to this very day. From that conception comes the plan of enaction which uses the enemies paradigm of 'asymmetrical warfare' against them in a way that *they* cannot combat effectively. This offers a way *out* of Iraq on a National level, also, as I went over a framework for Peace in the Middle East that is wholly consistent with the Foreign Policy, Goals on the Global War on Terrorism, *and* uses a robust conception of Foreign Policy to do the one thing necessary on a National level in the Middle East. It is the thing that Our enemies have been promising and I propose to turn the tables and GIVE IT TO THEM. By changing the nature of the *idea* of what the conflict in Iraq *represents* changes the actual GOALS of that conflict and offers new means to address it in ways that fall outside the scope of Hamiltonians, Jeffersonians and Wilsonians *combined*.

What is that, pray tell?

The Jacksonian way out?

I promise you, you will not like it.







It is to widen the war and take out SYRIA using Egyptian or Jordanian or Kurdish troops in an 'Afghanistan style' light infantry attack and use US air supremacy to wipe out the forces of Syria wherever they appear. From the moment allied forces hit the ground with some US Special Forces and USAF spotters, this force will be 'Rolling Hot': it will be a continuous forward assault starting from a small entry point and racing through Syria to demolish the regime there. That took two weeks in Afghanistan and three months in Iraq. Syria is the 'weak brother' of the Middle East and a hard case of influenza would turn it over, so two weeks sounds about right, given that any forces we get for this will be MORE CAPABLE than the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. And that is not saying much, believe me.

The modern US arsenal now will decimate any pre-2006 armored force on the battlefield via the use of Sensor Fuzed Weapons. Two were used in Iraq to wipe out the 'Elite Republican Guard' counter attack that was forming up and demolish its forward component and cause the rest of it to flee. Time involved: 10 minutes. Syria may think of this in conception, but not believe it operationally. Further, if used at a storage depot, this could wipe out any organized counter-attack before it begins. If Israel can have dominance over the 'impossble' Bekaa valley, the US will have absolute air supremacy over Syria. At that point, to drive home the stakes in this Middle Eastern policy, the Kurdish areas will be given autonomy and allowed to vote on joining their Iraqi brothers and the Nation of Iraq. The rest of Syria does not get this option and may find itself land locked with the port area and northern areas handed over to Iraq.

This result does multiple things simultaneously.

First: it removes support for Hezbollah in Lebanon. It will be isolated and contained without ready means of resupply. Israel will thank us as will the people of Lebanon. Hezbollah's days there will be *numbered* without a single US soldier needing to attack them and whatever Arab or Kurd force containing them during and after the conflict.

Second: it removes the entire Ba'athist support sturcture in the Middle East and removes it from the region totally. We will see ZERO return of Ba'athist insurgents in western Iraq. It will end all operations based out of Syria against Iraq from al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Ba'athist insurgents. It will remove easy overland supply from anywhere for the insurgents in western and central Iraq.

Third: it will bring a change in the demographic structure in Iraq and move it from its current: 60% Arab Shia, 20% Arab Sunni and 20% Kurdish Sunni to one of 50-55% Arab Shia, 15% Arab Sunni and 25-30% Kurdish Sunni. Exact numbers are hard to place, but the shift to a more Kurdish moderated Iraq is one towards *stability* and *prosperity*.

Fourth: it will be the first time an overland route from the Mediterranean to the Arab Gulf will appear in centuries under a single authority. To get *that* the Kurds will be holding the key to this and must be treated as full and fair EQUALS in a Federal Iraq and respected for their hard work. By playing the *middle man* Kurds suddenly gain regional respect and Iraq will look NORTH to the Kurds for answers, not East or South for division. The Arab tribes in the region will see which way the wind of this Sandstorm from the United States is blowing and push heavily for border provinces of their brothers in Syria to be allowed to join Iraq. The hammer will have fallen hard and they will not want a set of lesser hammerings from continuing on an insurgency that cannot be *backed*. This should be pushed to further move Iraq from Shia domination to one of divided equality between the major sects and get the tribes into more properly aligned provinces towards *them*. The tribes will suddenly start to get the hard understanding of 'Limited Federal Government' and 'Reserving All Other Rights to the Provinces and the People'. This is a *good* thing.

Fifth: this will be harsh payback to Turkey. They attempted to deny the Iraq war. They have not acted in good faith as allies. They will get conniption fits over a continuous Kurdish border of Iraq to their south. They will either have to 'put up or shut up' about integrating their society and getting equality of rights and opportunities for Kurds. Because Iraqi Kurds will now be seen as offering a way *out* to prosperity and equal rights for all Citizens. Turkey will have a scant few years to cleans their political climate of ideologues and follow the footsteps of Attaturk. My guess is that if they don't they will get a real, honest to goodness Civil War with Kurdish provinces staging it and trying to get *into* Iraq.

Sixth: the entire concentration of Iraq will be towards integration and securing its only unsecured borders with Iran and Saudi Arabia. This means that heavy,new infrastructure will need to be built in the new Iraqi provinces and the rump State of Syria given some minor trade agreements for use of that infrastructure. Let this smaller Syrian State realize that its bread is buttered on one side and that side is *not* that of conflict. My guess is the people of Lebanon will begin to take pity on the Syrians if they ask for Lebanese help.

Seventh: Iran will no longer like this idea of 'Getting the Caliphate' as they will now be facing unrest in THEIR Kudish and Azeri provinces along the Iraqi border. Funny thing is: once people start to see their brothers get freedom, they soon want it for themselves. Iran should be given harsh diplomacy to rid itself of nuclear aspirations, end funding to ALL of Hezbollah and the Mahdi Army and any other bits and pieces the State Department has found of their handiwork. They will balk. They will seethe. They will threaten. They will not be given the time to do a damn thing, really.

That was *stage one*.

Stage two is something folks will like even less, I am sure. The USAF and CVN battlegroups will be given time for R&R and resupply and whatever else they need to get back into fighting form. The next al Qaeda attack in Iraq traced back to Saudi Arabia will get this little bit of news in return to the Saudi Government: you have promised for a long time to get rid of these nasty and irrational fundamentalists their exporting of their vile creed. That you have promised for some years if not decades.

You have just seen Syria.

"Where's the beef?"

They will hem. They will haw. They will be face to face with the fact that their equipment is bought from the US as is their training. They will proclaim themselves protectors of the Holy Cities. They will do many things. They will invoke diplomacy and we shall use that to demonstrate that they really do *not* treat all parts of Islam equally. The second al Qaeda attack from Saudia Arabia will get this response:

"The US will back any non-aligned, Islamic forces to secure the holy cities in Saudi Arabia for ALL MUSLIMS. No muslim will be denied entry as part of this bargain. We will need 10,000 or so troops to do this and you will get aircover from the mightiest air forces on the planet. Luckily, the US owns them completely. Administration of the Cities will be done by 'Unity Councils' and supported by foreign donations. Every single sect of Islam gets ONE VOTE on the council. Size does not matter in this. It is FAITH that matters."

I can think of at least two or three Islamic Nations with a beef against Saudi Arabia and complaints against it. Iranians will not believe this, and yet still want to send forces. Their Regular Army will be *welcomed*. Iraqis will want a say in this just to counter Iran. The question is *not* getting 10,000 troops, but how to stop from getting a whole lot MORE. Either way this goes, either the Saudis finally start harshly pulling in the Wahhabists or the actual Islamic Coalition forming up in a couple of months and the end will still be the same. al Qaeda will wholly, and completely, lose its largest funding base. al Qaeda operations, already on a shoestring, will now get razor thin. In either case this works out much, much better for the US and we will STILL not have spent any significant troops to achieve these things.

The US will be seen as an 'honest broker' willing to support Islam and yet also cleanse it of radicalism. If Iran does NOT support this, it will be seen wholly and completely out for power ALONE without religious intent. The rest of Islam will be united in opening the Cities freely to ALL people of their faith without discrimination.

This is known as 'pulling the rug out from under the enemy'.

What is even better is that this offers a way out and a way UP for the Middle East. Iran, will either have to open up and HELP, in which case their people will get first hand knowledge of how the US operates and realize the insanity of going after us militarily and start to work hard on a new regime OR it will close up and become an immediate threat realizing that its existence is being threatened without a single shot being fired at it. It will lash out, in that case. And find the US Forces that have been stabilizing Iraq have already been shifting to counter them. The moment they *do* a two pronged attack from the southwest and northeast out of Afghanistan by US forces will put Iran out of operation in three weeks or so. Maybe even three or four months. Definitely not long as the regime is 'one deep' and are facing the hard demographics of their population coming to loathe them.

And who gets to run Iran while it recovers?

Simple: Afghanistan and Iraq.

There has to be some localized anti-terror cleanup in any event, and with US oversight, these two new democracies can help Iranians rebuild their Nation and understand how democracy *works* after having *hands on* experience. It would be a dissonance hear throughout the Middle East as the US would execute operations, but the control and oversight of what needs to be done would be jointly decided upon by Iraqis, Afghanis, a provisional Iranian council and the US. We can hold veto, but how to get this done is up to THEM, not US.

This does *not* eliminate the threat of Transnational Terrorism! Yes, all that fighting, dying, expenditure of capital and the original threat is still around. But, it will make the climate harshly more intolerant OF IT. And then, the third part of this plan, really ongoing from as soon as possible, is to actually exectue the Larger Goals on the Global War on Terrorism and start involving US Citizens and companies to hunt down and deprive these enemies of their goods, and their lives if need be. All that while securing banking and shipping and putting up border *defenses* that are *lethal*.

The concept for this war is to get a dialogue started within Islam by calling their bluff of being a "Religion of Peace". Jacksonians will help the Arab world clean up the mess of Syria and then enjoin the entirety of Islam to send REPRESENTATIVES to Mecca to hash out exactly WHAT ISLAM STANDS FOR. And while that takes a few *decades* the Middle East will find that its central Nations now have a dual ring of Democracies to deal with that it cannot ignore. The center of that ring is Israel. The first arm of that ring while be an expanded Iraq that cuts the Middle East in TWO. The final ring is staring in Afghanistan and causing a shift of thought there, so as to stabilize Central Asia. But that cannot be done until Islam hashes out just what, exactly, it IS. By putting the Holy Cities into the hands of ALL Muslims a new State is created that will be defended by them ALL. If they cannot find commonality and accommodation they will begin wiping each other out while the US sits on the sidelines. And if they can find commonality, then their unity will allow them to actually begin *purging* radical Islamic beliefs. Or unite them behind it, which will then, definitively, make them the "Religion of Empire". And with the US standing in the wings, that will last for a very, very, very short period of time.

Is this a good way forward? It is forward, goodness is for history to decide.

Wonderful? No.

Better than any damn thing that anyone else has thought of? Yup.

Put up or shut up. The 'same old, same old' is going to get us killed.

You wanted a new way forward to *stabilize* Iraq? Well, you now HAVE ONE.

A real live, honest to goodness plan.

A Jacksonian Plan.

So we can get this nonsense in the Middle East done with for good and all, and get the fighting down to the pesonal level. Because these terrorists don't DESERVE death at the hands of Our Armed Forces. Terrorists sully the concept of Armies and Nations. They need more personal retribution.

From Citizens that see profit in their hides.

That is what they *deserve*.

From We the People.

9 comments:

Steel Turman said...

Oh you had it all right until allowing Afghanistan and Iraq to run Iran.

Iranians are mostly Persians and a different race.

They speak another language.

The Afghani are tribal thugs and warlords.

The Iraqis will not be in a postion to run anything but their mouths for a good while without our assisstance.

If Iran is to be run, let it be run by the 70% of population that is now under the age of 25.

With help from, and I want to choke on my *&^%$# tongue for saying this, the UN.

It will be a fairly easy task. The young there are very savvy and fast learners and the European weenies will leap at the chance to participate.

We will be nearby, much as a nurturing mother, watching our little hatchlings fledge.

Let the Syrians learn to speak Yiddish.

How's that work for ya?

Nice damned post BTW. You're on the roll.

A Jacksonian said...

Steel - My thanks!

There is one simple reason to put Afghanistan and Iraq in charge of Iran: they all hate each other's guts and yet they will all be involved in running Mecca.

Yes, there is a bit of knife twisting there, to be sure.... but I really couldn't think of a better way to make just about everyone in Europe be quiet about an 'American Empire' while simultaneously making the Middle East realize that they really ARE holding the bag and that if they do not figure out a way to address their problems, then they will be at each other's throats while Indonesia goes on to become the 'Leading Light of Islam'.

Call it a 'Dynamic Tension Environment with a Harsh Feedback Loop'.

Any way you cut it, it is a good start on things.

RJ Schwarz said...

Really enjoyed it until Phase 2. I just don't see the plan for Mecca working. Nobody but the US has the logistics to send any force to Mecca and the US can't possibly provide the logistics involved without being a huge target.

It would be much better to suggest that the Shia-Arab sections of Saudi Arabia and Iran join the enlarged Federation of Iraq. The Shia-Arab areas are where the oil is after all so the Saudi King's will listen.

With fear of Kurds and Shia-Arabs breaking lose the Iranians would be in a tough spot. If the US added a bit of help to the Baluchi in the East Iran and Azerbi in the NorthWest Iran would be looking mighty Persian without the US actually putting any military in the way. That would be phase three, another Northern Alliance style campaign with special forces and airpower helping the various independence movements combined with Iraqi troops in the West securing the ground if things looked right.

The Dog said...

hey, great idea. now go enlist. sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Your plan is based on several numerous assumptions and contains a multitude of flaws.

First, it assumes Egypt, Jordan or the Kurds would be willing and able to front enough troops to launch a war against Syria-- I doubt that such an effort could be organized, especially considering America's present disfavor in the Middle East.

It also assumes that surrounding nations such as Iran and Turkey wouldn't get involved in order to protect Syria. It also assumes that groups such as Hezbollah wouldn't launch retaliatory attacks against targets in Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel in response to such an assault.

Also, you're assuming that the Syrian Kurds would be willing to join Iraq as a whole, instead of simply joining Iraq's Kurds to establish a separate Kurdistan. Also, if such a state were to be formed, it would fase significant opposition and attacks from surrounding nations and Islamic groups.

In addition, you assume that Hezbollah needs Syrian support (and Syrian support only) to operate, and that they couldn't either find another sponsor or become self-financing (such as the Iraqi insurgency has). Also, it assumes that, despite the fact that Hezbollah is routinely elected to Lebanon's legislature, that the Lebanese people would be grateful if they were eliminated. Again, you also don't consider Hezbollah launching retaliatory attacks against surrounding countries in response to an assult on Syria.

Even with a 5-10% increase in the Kurdish population and a 5-10% decrease in the Shiite and a 5% decrease in the Sunni population, the Kurds would still be greatly outnumbered and still face a large amount of resistance to their independence. Unless you are willing to commit US forces to protecting the Kurds, it's likely they will face a genocide attempt from surrounding powers and groups. They will not be looked towards as a source of stability and prosperity-- to believe so shows a grave misunderstanding of how the Kurds are perceived in the Middle East.

You also talk about uniting the region under one power, but you are assuming that all of those regions would agree to be governed by one authority, or could even agree to such an authority. What says there wouldn't be insurgent groups formed from the remains of Syria or Lebanon? Who says that you won't just end up with a larger Iraq?

You give the Kurds extensive power, but many groups in the region will not accept a Kurdish authority--especially not nations such as Iran and Turkey, who have Kurdish populations and who worry about the potential for Kurdish secession.

In addition, you also assume that the separate Islamic factions will accept equality, even though their population sizes are varying-- something tells me the Sunnis are not going to accept having as much power as the Kurds or the Shiia. They will simply argue that they deserve more representation since they have a larger population, and your thin argument about faith will not quell them. In addition, you undermine your own talk about equality by giving a disproporationate amount of power to the Kurds-- doing so will breed resentment amongst the non-Kurdish groups.

You also assume Turkey, faced with the potential for Kurdish secession, will somehow erase centuries of ethnic divisions and conflicts and suddenly become a free and equal society. It's far more likely they will dispatch their military to destroy the Kurdish uprising-- and, in the event that happens, what is to be done? Should Turkey be invaded and liberated as well? Should their Kurds be allowed to secede against the wishes of the Turkish people? And how do you enforce such a mission-- do you commit American troops, or do you somehow miraculously convince Egypt and Jordan to commit soldiers to fight their fellow Muslims?

You also assume Syria will ask Lebanon for help, and that Lebanon will be willing to take part in this project. There is a liklier chance that there would be a Syrian insurgency, and though the Lebanese government may be happy Hezbollah is gone (if, that is, you can destroy them, which is highly questionable) the Lebanese people (who, as I said, routinely vote for Hezbollah) wouldn't be. Syria and Lebanon could end up working together-- as an insurgency meant to restore their national sovereignty.

Also, you assume that all of this warfare and the redrawing of borders will calm Iran instead of inflaming them-- it is more likely that such an endeavor will galvinize Iran, that they will engage in a massive military buildup and an increase in nuclear weapons production while the conflict rages-- they'll simply put down their Kurds as well rather than deal with a Kurdish uprising. And you're assuming Iran will respond to harsh diplomacy at all. In fact, you don't propose any alternate solution in case Iran takes a hard line stance instead of going along with all of this.

Furthermore, you're assuming there will be al-Qaeda in Iraq (even though only a small part of the insurgency is al-Qaeda) and that those attacks can be traced directly to Saudi Arabia. If a connection between the two was so simple to forge, they wouldn't be considered our allies in the War on Terror, would they?

You said it yourself-- their equipment and training are American-made. They will put up a formidable military defense, possibly with the likes of Iran and Turkey assisting. You're also assuming (and this is a huge leap here) that you can find unaligned Islamic groups willing to secure the holy cities (and fight the Saudi Arabian military, which may have backing from Iran and other nations) to do the dirty work for you. Again, even if this unrealistic long-shot idea works, you're assuming the militias who take over the holy cities will cede them to your coucils-- what if they want to govern them themselves and refuse to cede? What if this idea-- empowering militias-- simply leads to a Saudi Arabian civil war that spreads back into Iraq and to the region? And what if these separate groups just don't want to be represented equally, since their populations are not equal in size? And if Iran and Iraq get into this--partially to rival one another, you say-- what is to say they won't end up fighting each other over control of the holy cities?

You're assuming, much as the US did before Iraq, that these wars will be cut and dry-- that we can defeat these nation's militaries quickly and cleanly like we did Iraq (despite the fact that Iraq's military languished under sanctions for a decade, while Saudi Arabia has received military hardware and training from the US) and that there won't be any resistance or insurgencies. You're assuming the countries you defeat won't lapse into a civil war, and that civil war won't spread to surrounding nations. You're assuming that Islamic nations, distrustful of the US, will come to see us as an "honest broker" even after we destroy their countries and rob them of their sovereignty; you assume that promises of "equality" will paper over all their present disputes with the US. You're assuming these groups will even accept equality.

And you're assuming that, faced with imminent defeat, these nations won't simply destroy their own oil infrastructures just to spite the west. If Iran, Turkey, Syria, etc. face all-out war with the US or our proxies, who says they won't manipulate the oil markets and oil revenues to cripple the western economies? Since this plan threatens all of those nations at once, there is a chance you could end up with no oil revenue from any of these nations, which is something the US and the rest of the west could not afford, economically.

You also assume that Iran will accept being run by Iraq and Afghanistan, despite their cultural and ethnic differences. Afghanistan is presently a weak central government and a collection of warlords running various provinces, while Iraq is presently a mess (and your plan does not guarantee the end to the insurgency or the success of democracy). Even assuming both nations are willing and able to run Iran, Iran and Afghanistan are culturally different. You could end up with an Iranian insurgency as well, which could end up getting funding from nations such as Russia and China (who are presently allied with Iran and would not look to kindly on the US redrawing the middle east entirely).

You assume this will create a culture intolerant of terrorism-- it is more likely this plan will destabilize the region, eliminating governments and replacing them with power-brokers and warlords such as Moqtada Al-Sadr. It is likely you will plunge the region into chaos and have to deal with multiple insurgencies from multiple nations. And you assume that those who end up in control of the region and the holy cities won't be radical islamists themselves-- likely, since you call on islamic groups to secure the holy cities themselves.

And, if your plan doesn't work, what do you propose? We just let everyone kill each other and stand on the sidelines, because nobody will have a problem with the US destroying the Middle East and fostering a massive, regional genocide. This isn't better than anything anyone has thought up-- this is a messy, over-the-top plan that makes the same mistakes the plan for Iraq did. It assumes how people will react to unpredictable, unprecedented events. It assumes that militaries can be put down quickly and no insurgency will rise up to replace them. It assumes governments will react favorably, instead of with hostility, to such a plan. It assumes international opinion, as well as major players like Russia and China, will not intervene to stop this. And it assumes that various Islamic groups will put equality ahead of their own self-interest.

Messy. Unrealistic. Over-the-top. Presumptive. And, overall, stupid. This would be a great plan if you wanted to start the next World War and see the US be reduced to a third-world power.

And, by the way, Jackson would be spinning in his grave in response to this bullshit. How dare you call yourself by his name while propagating this shameless nonsense.

A Jacksonian said...

rj schwarz - I do like your add-on! It offers a good solution on the longer-term ethnic stabilization of the region. Basically, a Greater Iraq that has a good admixture of Kurds forces the Arabs to learn to 'play nice', which they currently don't... to get that you need to give the Kurds a decent population base and something to bargain with, which a port on the Med. gets them.

The reason I look to Mecca is to redirect the entirety of Islam back to it by letting them know that they can remove the Wahabbi hold on the Holy Cities... with US help and IF they can cooperate to be the 'Religion of Peace'. The question is: what can Iran or al Qaeda or any other radical Islamic group DO if Mecca is held by all of Islam? And since all of Islam is there, it then gives a central grievance place for the West to ask them to reform. Nicely ask them. Don't mind the US troops nearby.

Because the very first thing that Islam will have to do is to actually record and categorize ALL OF ISLAM. That begins the Codification Process and once All of Islam is together and *must* work together to keep the Holy Cities going, then they have few choices left but to figure out a way to do so... or crumble to dust as the 'Religion of Peace'.

Would Iran or al Qaeda dare target the Holy Cities? I would like to find out... and let Islam know exactly what those groups think of their religion which they supposedly adhere to.

the dog - Suggest you read this and learn that not everyone can enlist. Learn manners and do not throw aspersions around by assuming everyone is hale, hearty and leading anywhere near a full life.

A Jacksonian said...

Left click - First - The US may just withhold its current Foreign Policy payments to Egypt and/or Jordan. Somehow in excess of $2 Billion per year is a great incentive to get off of one's butt. To the Kurds this would be a great incentive TO get their brothers freed. There is punishment for *not* helping, and economic is a good first start.

Second - Iran will do precisely what? Or Turkey? There is no love lost between Turkey and Syria as witness the harboring of PKK/Turkey and other radicals that head to Syria. Turkey would kiss all chances of getting help from the US on *anything* and its NATO membership good-bye. They are one of the few Nations that NEED a stable Iraq and an end to the Kurdish problem. This helps to slowly address both of those. And Iran? Please, specifics. Will they suddenly mobilize their Army to protect a Nation they have not openly allied with? Or would this finally force that Alliance into the open? Please, specifics. Describe highland mountain warfare and the effects of large militaries moving into them. Specifics please. Concentrate on the USSR, British Empire and any Nation trying to push a large Army into such a region. Afghanistan is the wasteland of large armies... and counter-insurgency is different from what is going on there, how? Iran has not the manpower nor trustworthy forces to do an outward attack into Afghanistan, Iraq or much of anyplace. They spend money on toys and Hezbollah. And who would be attacking Israel? Describe in detail how effective Hezbollah is as a fighting force as their current and past operations in terrorism have been blunted by Israel.

Third - The Kurds ARE Islamic. The greatest fear of the Arabs is a United Kurdistan with a Port free of its Arab hinderances. Iraqi Arabs suddenly have a choice between squabbling or an Independent Kurdistan. Their choice.

Fourth - The Iraqi insurgency is, by and large, Foreign sponsored via Syria, Iran and KSA al Qaeda. The insurgency is multi-part and not a coherent whole... which is why they are fighting. Syria is a main supply conduit for Hezbollah and quite a bit of the Anbar insurgents, even if it is in the 'blind eye' towards al Qaeda form of support. A large number of the Western insurgents are foreign, and with the tribes now 25-6 against them, they are having a hard time holding on. Any loss of supply lines for money, arms & ammo, or for people is a severe blow, especially to al Qaeda. Do re-read the section on the demographic breakout of the insurgency. Hezbollah-Lebanon retreats TO SYRIA. Nasrallah retreated to Syria. His forces retreated back through the Bekaa and got cut off there by Israel. If they had indigenous support they would have headed to Beirut. They did not. As for Hezbollah as a political party, I suggest you make a list of all popular armed political parties and then the result of their coming to power. That should give you an idea of the legitimacy of being armed as a 'political party'.

Fifth - Here is how the rebalancing works: The number of Sunnis increase as the number of Sunni Kurds increase. The Arab proportion of the population shifts as the Kurdish proportion rises. Sunni Arabs retain their size as a population but lose in proportion as Arabs but gain in proportion as number of Sunnis. There is no need to 'protect the Kurds', they know how to do that on their own. They are the most feared people of the region, and they have long memories on the Kurds and see that they are capable in the present day while Iraqi Arabs are working hard to play 'catch up'. The Kurds currently have the most progressive society in the Middle East and the aim is to get Iraq more like *that* society in economic outlook. The Kurds can do that. Pushing it on Arab populations from the West will not work. They may hate the Kurds but they fear them even more, and the disdain they have is one that is backed by the understanding that Arab greatness started with Kurds.

Sixth - Insurgent groups no longer having outside supply lines is a losing proposition for said groups. They then need to find wider appeal and somehow terrorism just doesn't get you there. None of these terrorist organizations has seen fit to raise a flag, put on uniforms and declare what they will protect. They are not a few fishes swimming in a school of same, they are sharks in amongst fishes and are easily seen by the blood they leave behind them. Beyond that...A large Iraq? Sounds good and all for it!

Seventh - Yes, Turkey and Iran already have Kurdish problems. They need to be reminded of such. Repeatedly. Sincerely. And with high wishes they would treat them better. Welcome to the world of power diplomacy.

Eighth - The Kurds are Sunni. suggest you re-think this proposition in regards to ethnicity, tribes, and religious breakouts. The Sunni Arabs remain Sunni. Arabs lose out in proportion, but the Shia lose the most as their grip on full power now heads into the more democratically dynamic 55% range. They will have problem piecing together a coalition without Sunnis, and the largest group of Sunnis are Kurds. Suggest that the Arab Sunnis start to think of themselves as something other than ex-rulers and start to play another game called 'Kingmaker'. You might want to read up on the term... a fascinating concept in multi-factional Nations.

Ninth - Turkey has a problem in that the 'Virtue Party' is funded by Iran and that Syrian funded PKK operate from Syria and that Iran also funds other break-away groups. I do not depend on Turkey to turn democratic overnight. I expect their Army will be quite busy internally with the 'Virtue Party', PKK and other insurgent groups and having some problems decided which is worse: Iranian backed insurgents in Ankara or Kurish backed ones in the far south... who, as you pointed out, are different ethnically from them. My argument on Islam is that it is highly inter-factionalized beyond mere Sunni and Shia outlooks, as witness the Sufi and Alawite minorities near them. Islam has a problem and it is as much a problem in Turkey as it is in Iraq, save that the bloodletting is lower and the bombings less frequent. Iran can try to do something in its Kurdish regions, but that will cause a decoherence of that area as the Azeris will fear repression more and support the Kurds. Suddenly Iran has a multi-ethnic problem of asserting Persian dominance over Kurds and Azeris. That, in case you haven't guessed it, is something that Iran really does not want to do. They do not want to see the Northwest of Iran dissolve out from under them due to their own activities. You might want to re-think this entire repression and action idea from Iran in that area.

Tenth - I am rebalancing the Middle East according to the Treaties signed right after WWI. The US will honor those treaties as it was a participant in that World War. Turkey abrogated those almost immediately and dissolved Kurdistan. The Kurds rememeber that. Thus, to give justice to those promises, the Kurds must get a fair say in some society and not be repressed by each of them in turn. They are not getting a Majority in Iraq, but a larger share of the resultant Nation so as to properly put forth that Iraq cannot be an Arab dominated affair and must be multi-ethnic by having a strong, second ethnic group that cannot be instantly marginalized by the other ethnicity. Try understanding the concept of 'Kingmaker'. You posit that the Kurds are hated, how will this change that?

Eleventh - A Syrian insurgency supported by? They are already up to their ears in debt to Russia and a few other Nations. They have a paltry cash flow situation depending upon a few natural resources like phosphorus. This is not what you would call a 'vigorous Nation' but one that plays its cards shrewdly as it has no interior capability to do much of anything. You may also note that Hezbollah gets 20% or LESS of the vote in Lebanon. Review 'legitimate armed political parties' and how they come to power and ask about how you view what 'legitimacy' as.

Twelth - On Iran: they would have to start almost from scratch on a military build-up as they have not been refreshing their normaly army for decades. They supply Hezbollah BETTER than their Revolutionary/Special Guards, not to speak of their religious police, the Basij. In point of fact Hezbollah is better trained than the Revolutionary/Special Guards as Hezbollah can actually fight for awhile as an immobile army. Do note the demographics in Iraq and my article on Creating an Army. Then let me know how effective an military treated as sub-humans will be. Then tell me who they will be sent against in 5 or 6 years. Iran vice its NorthWest I have addressed. Now, given that a multi-ethnic, all-Islam force is proposed to actually remove the Wahabbi control of them and put all of Islam in power, tell me exactly what Iran will do when it is confronted with *that*. Will it join such a force to have a say? Or will it declare itself to be the sole guide to Islam? Enquiring minds want to know, but my guess is that they will actually divide heavily in their REGIME which is one deep. That is a religious divide which will topple the regime because it poses a question to which there is no military or terrorist answer within Islam. It is the 'put up or shut up' question of Islam. They will find it impossible to get a military force there directly *without* outside aid... and they can always just send clerics after it is all over, but then they are stuck with *that* and having not taken part in opening the Holy Cities.

Thirteenth - I do not consider KSA to be an Ally on the War on Terror. Suggest you re-think this proposition.

Fourteenth - Suggest you read above on KSA as an Army. Interesting thing about American teaching in the Arab culture: it gets heavily diluted and underapplied. There is a difference between equipment and use of same. Also note that KSA does not have stealth technology nor the SFW nor a host of other things. It is a tiny armed force compared to any other regime. It is the most competent of Arab regimes, which is not saying much.

Fifteenth - Lets say we can field some forces from Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq... tell me how these Nations cohere as a dictatorial force. Details, please. Do tell me how this highly mixed force both ethnically and from different parts of Islam will 'take over' the Holy Cities and cohere as a single Nation. Describe in exacting and loving detail how well they all get along. It is so highly multi-ethnic and multi-faction that the basic of Islam as something they mouth is the only thing keeping them together. They might want to examine that. And any power play by ONE is seen as a threat to all of Islam. As for KSA, let them fight. If they let such a force walk in, then tell me how they are seen as effective. If they actually agree to help, peacefully, then that is all to the good. And if they want to control the Cities as now, you are back at 'fight'. Who said anything about 'empowering militias'? I am calling for National Army units from Nations that are all or highly Islamic to send forces. National military units. You know? Accountable to the laws of war and such? If they go 'renegade' you have a Nation to hold accountable. Do tell how something like that above listing will suddenly have renegade members seeking to establish control. This is empowering Nations to act on behalf of their Religion. Not militias to act on behalf of themselves. Again, rethink multi-factional history and how they either cohere over time or decay. I would suggest Switzerland, Germany, the UK and Spain as points in one direction and The Balkans in the other. I worry about the Balkans most. The Middle East needs something to coalesce around and Islam appears to be about the only thing left on the menu. I would prefer it happen as a multi-National affair. That is much preferable to Empire or to doing *nothing* and have the Balkans writ large from Sinai to India. From Empty Quarter to Russia. The West never gave the Balkans anything to cohere around and look at it.

Sixteenth - Please recheck force sizes in Afghanistan and capability and then the addition of a few spotters and US airpower. Then check Iraq for same. Syria has not done an upgrade of their military hardware since the early 1990's and the end of the USSR. They have no major weapons systems purchases for tanks, aircraft or vehicles. KSA is a small force, and its airforce is probably the best of the lot. Now, count each US CVN Battlegroup as a separate air force. Describe the top 10 airforces on the planet. The Saudi Airforce will not even get off the ground, if it is lucky. No tank made before 2003 can withstand the SFW which operates over a wide area, such as those used in tank mobility combat. If you disperse tanks enough so that they are not prone by and large to a couple of sFWs, then they are no longer an integrated, interlocking combat force. KSA has never demonstrated combined arms. Ever. No Arab military force ever has as more than just a dog-and-pony-show operation. There is no cohesiveness to those forces. Suggest you contact some US military trainers who have actually *trained* KSA military. Do not be impressed by weapons: Poland had a tiny and coherent force that knew what it was doing and was only supposed to last a week or so against Germany. It lasted three months because they had dependable units and had a military that treated them as humans. After the Officer Corps in KSA, you do not have that and the Officers themselves are factionalied by tribe and religion.

Seventeenth - Syria doesn't have much infrastructure to destroy. Outside of their cities, that is. If they want to destroy their own cities, that is fine, as the US will not be rebuilding them. Ditto KSA. Or any Nation that goes against the US. Luckily, this plan does not call for that, save if Iran gets suddenly stupid or faces regime factionation. That can be handled as it would no longer be a coherent Nation bent on Empire, but factions fighting each other for control. The US becomes an 'honest broker' by sticking to its WORD. Not by paying off people. We will have kept the word of the West for WWI and our word on what would happen in Syria. The world may not overmuch like that. But the US will be seen as doing exactly as it said it would do and not a single thing more. This is not overpromising sweetness and honey and light. From what I have read of Arab history they really do respect a force and Nation that does only what it says. They may not love them, but respect? Oh, yes. As for oil? They can destroy the current infrastructure. And then not have it. Mind you against KSA we are *not* saying that the US will take over, only that the Holy Cities will be run by a Multi-National coalition of all of Islam. Those Cities do not sit on much in the way of oil wells or refineries. Syria's oil system is miniscule and they import ten times more than they export. And if KSA destroys its wells, then perhaps the US should invest more in Canada. Maybe those wonderful algae systems and make DeBeers heavily rich. If Iran wants to destroy its works, it will do so only after ATTACKING. I really don't see how one can postulate their regime surviving this either demographically, economically or with respects to religion. It is a multi-lateral, non-military attack that cannot be responded to in a traditional fashion and hits directly at the foundations of their regime without lifting a finger against them. Something will give there and either it will lash out or collapse. Care to help it one way or another?

Eighteenth - Afghanistan is a weak collection of warlords, the majority of which have disarmed, disbanded their militaries and sent the to be integrated with the National military. They now have another word. Governor. Those supporting the Taliban have been having a tough go of it. Turns out they have not been militarily effective, which is why they turn to terrorism. It is, perhaps, a bit on the weak side in a Federal view, but what of it? So is the UK. Canada isn't so good at the strong federalism game. So, given that Afghanistan is a warrior culture that respects good fighters and hates cowards, do tell me how they will decohere as a Nation. Especially against outsiders. Again, use past history as a guide to their cultural reactions. Iran I rather expect *will* dissolve in one form or another, most likely starting at the NorthWest and NorthEast and North. That will start to leave Persians and the current regime is already in dire straights internally as it has no follow on leadership. If they attack 'outwards' they will end up with an army not much enamoured of fighting for it. Attacking directly is a later resort for Iran, but the direct faultlines running through it will also need to shift. There are no sure things there, to be sure, but a destabilized and disintegrating Iran is actually better than what is there now, especially if it is direct *inwards* and not *outwards*. And as you bring up different ethnicities and cultures, do, please, do the cross-analysis between culture, religion, ethnicity, lines of education and Great Culture. It is an interesting mosaic considering all the divisions within the varigated sects of Islam. But if it needs be invasion then why NOT let the neighbors run Iran? So many think that is a good idea for Iraq... And for the oil... instead of rebuilding infrastructure there, why not do it in a 'friendly Nation'? Canada comes to mind. If KSA does not go ballistic and realizes that it can *still* have its oil but not the heart of Islam, will they destroy the source of their wealth? Or dissolve into Civil War? And how WILL that multi-National Islamic force see that? On Iran, much depends on what happens there, but they do not have the time to play 'the long game' and this suddenly compresses their mid-term game into the extremely short 'full court press' in which they don't get much court left to press back from. Realize that the base of this plan is military, but plays on the full spread of problems in the Middle East. The right pushes and just staying where we are is enough to get this done. But if Iran or KSA dissolves into Civil War, then the oil wells are the Prizes. Do tell which you prefer: decades of endless terrorism paid for with oil wealth, or a diminution of that wealth and a global recession lasting 5 years or so. Probably less given the knowledge of the geological structures the West has in those areas. As for Russia and China doing something: you mean they don't now? Suggest you check the 'buyers list' for Syria and Iran. It is short. Throw in France and you have something like 99% of it. KSA will seek help from them... how, exactly? Specifics, please.

Nineteenth - I call on Islamic and Islamic supporting Nations to run the Holy Cities. As for Balkanizing the Middle East, I do have some news for you: it is nearly there anyways with nothing to work *towards*. Until you give the Middle East something that they can *do* you will have this current problem forevermore. Even if Islam falls in upon itself that will break-up the entire thing and show that Islam cannot be used as a cohesive religion to the World and to the followers of Islam. Are they a religion of peace that can live with the rest of the world and ITSELF or not? You assume that I am taking a non-National view on this, and I am not. In each case I put forth something that People can work towards as something higher than themselves. For Iraq it is monetary and then coming to terms with its ethnic divides and cultural faultlines. For the region it is coming to terms with itself and Islam and reconciling the modern teachings of the radical Islamists and their outlook as a varigated religion that is global. They can work towards a cohesive religion... or admit that it is not a binding power without force applied to it. Their choice as followers. That decision will help us all, in the end.

Twentieth - Well, if Islam really is that barbaric so as to not even be able to agree on what it is... do you really want to save it? Or do you want to continue on and have our children and theirs have to live with an increasing amount of terror in the world due to offshoots of a religion that are using temporary wealth to attempt to gain Empire? This plan leaves Islam and all of its adherants, even the hot-heads, together in the same boat. And it is not *genocide* as no *race* is being targeted in any of this. It is Islam and I do suggest you get it out of your head that Islam is all Arab or even all Middle East. For ground forces do tell exactly how many will be needed to fight against a KSA held in check and decimated by US airpower, without touching a single bit of holy ground or the oil wells or infrastructure. And if the hide in the Holy Cities... tells you alot about KSA and all of Islam will see that.

The world as we have it is already messy, sorry to break the news to you. The current pathways by those seeking Empire will make it far worse than even a huge, regional civil war. That said, as Iraq goes, so goes the Middle East due to its geographic position. Stability by re-balancing it would be a huge step in that direction.

And as for Jackson, do remember the various wars he fought in and his attitudes. You might be more than a bit shocked on how he saw those who were native to the land. He is the one who sent the first US ship to circumnavigate the globe. To visit some pirates. He is the same man who fought in duels. In one of them his opponent shot into the air, expecting the same. Jackson shot him, killed him so the story goes. Yes, do tell me how Jackson saw war, saw peoples and saw honor. Please.

But he also knew you build by giving something to people to work towards and accomplish but never finish.

Now put up your own plan.

Work towards something better using my mistakes as a starting point. Just remember, I do not consider them to *be* mistakes. And have just explained WHY.

A Hermit said...

Well I don't have time to deal with all of this, but I'll point out a couple of glaring flaws in your plan; first of all the fact that the Kurds are also Sunnis is totally irrelevant as history shows us that ethnicity trumps religion every time. The Germans and the French are both Christian peoples; that didn't stop them from killing each other by the millions in two world wars...

Secondly, the idea that there is some way of "starving" the insurgency in Iraq by cutting off outside support is just wishful thinking (like most of your plan) since it is apparently mostly self sufficient already.

"rebalancing the Middle East according to the Treaties signed right after WWI" is an obvious non-starter. One of the great sources of conflict in the region (as in other post-colonial regions) is the frankly boneheaded carving up of territory by the "great Powers" in ways guaranteed to create conflict. Surely we can do better!

American conventional military capability has been badly degraded by the Iraq occupation, and in any case that debacle clearly illustrates the folly of assuming that conventional military dominance equals ultimate victory. (As if the French experience in Algeria, the Russians in Afghanistan the Israelis in Lebanon and the French Americans in Vietnam didn't make that clear enough already...)

Imagining that expanding the disaster by trying to effect "regime change" in Iran and Syria is simply moronic. What in the Iraqi misadventure leads you to believe that a similar approach (regardless of whose troops you used to do the dirty work) would produce better results elsewhere?! Like it or not the current Iranian and Syrian regimes are going to have to be negotiated with. This is not an impossible task; someone once said that nations have interests, not friends, and it is not in either of those nations interest to see a failed state in Iraq.

As for putting up a better plan, I won't pretend to have any comprehensive answers. In my opinion there are no good plans here; the whole adventure was ill-advised from the start, destined to end in some sort of disaster and all the grand plans, strategies and hopeful assumptions are useless at this point. All that can be done now is for America to get out as quickly as an orderly withdrawal is possible, beg for forgiveness form the international community, and especially the Arab world, and try to work with the international community to mitigate the damage. Your plan just looks like more of the same grandiose, delusional thinking that created this mess in the first place. Please stop it.

A Jacksonian said...

hermit - The Balkans are the answer to doing that, save that this will be about 5 orders of magnitude worse. Doing nothing and asking for it to stop does not work against those set on Empire. Iran and Syria have nothing to gain from negotiation, and Iran is on a hard course towards demographic revolution that will see that Natiion splinter, or see nuclear nightfall in the Middle East. Running didn't work so well the last time, and brought us more and more deadly attacks to our soil.

That enemy was civilized and recognized Nation States as Sovereign entities. These groups do not, be they in charge in Iran or dispersed as a Transnational Terror organization.

WWI was the cause of this and you are right that ethnic background does trump religion. Which is why this plan puts *that* into play.

As to the military side: the troops are pretty well fed up with defeatism at home as they know, on the ground, that this can be won there, if it is not lost at home.

The days of yore when scampering away and expecting oceans to protect you are over. When Hezbollah agents are caught in the US dealing with illegal drug gangs in Mexico and the Triads out of Asia, we definitely have a problem. You cannot run from this.

You cannot ask forgiveness.

Those days are over and have been for some years now.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Time to give up the 20th and figure out how to recover from the mistakes of it and set them right. Running from tyrants and those seeking an end to liberty has never worked.

When do you stop running?

The butcher has already come calling for downpayments.

If not now, when?

The world has grown small and it is time to adjust to that little fact.

Do note that the criminal activities you cite that demonstrate self-support of the insurgents requires a broker able to sell those things for them. That is Syria. It goes away with this plan. Jordan has very limited means and increasing criminality for them means a sudden and sharp decay into chaos. Trying to trek tankers of oil to KSA is a non-starter. Ditto to Turkey through Kurdish territory. Iran is already paying for the insurgency near them. Those doing such things to support terrorism can be tried and are being tried on a weekly basis by their tens in Baghdad and thorughout Iraq *now*.

Kidnap and ransom is the mafia sort of deal, save that terrorists often don't behave in a way the old mafioso did, making payment no sure thing to recovery.

I see the US Armed Forces committed to the fight, given the best equipment and training on the planet. Iraq, historically, is a back alley brawl as wars go. The re-enlistment rate demonstrates commitment by the voluntary forces to the fight.

The lack of similar commitment on the homefront spells the end of commitment to Nation and to individual liberty. Because this group of enemies has thought up of a fine way to continue this fight forevermore or until they win.

Or until we up the cost to them to the point where they give up their fight.

When will you pay this butcher?

Or shall we appease them and 'give Empire a chance' in the Middle East?

The few lives taken for Iraq *now* are nothing compared to what will come afterwards. Pay now while it is cheap and we can start to end this and maybe, just maybe, not hand this to our children as a losing fight. Pay later and they shall lose this fight because we lost heart in it.

And liberty.

And freedom.

If we do not put an end to it, it will put an end to us.

We did not start this fight.

But we sure as hell must end it.