Tuesday, January 2, 2007

More fuel on Iraq's spreading flames

By W Joseph Stroupe
Asia Times

"......In the resulting chaos, which will most likely be anything but manageable, the oil-rich Sunni regimes will be at grave risk of collapse in the face of the storm waves of Shi'ite-Sunni sectarian rivalry crashing against them both from within and from without.

Every one of those Sunni regimes has a significant, mostly disaffected and increasingly restless Shi'ite population that poses a fundamental risk to the stability of the US-friendly oil-rich regimes. Those regimes, whose hold on power is already tenuous, will be forced to engage in more oppressive measures in an effort to subdue their domestic Shi'ite peoples. Such measures are most likely to fail as the Shi'ites are joined by others in their passion and outrage over the heavy-handed tactics that will increasingly be employed by the regimes' leadership to retain power.

As the endgame arrives prompted by destructive US/British policies and strategies, Iraq will almost inevitably break apart along sectarian lines as its factions vie for ascendancy. That will oblige the surrounding states of Iran, Turkey and Syria to intervene to secure their respective, and conflicting, interests. Additionally, the Sunni Arab states will also intervene on behalf of their Sunni brethren in Iraq.

As the US and Britain work to instigate the return to a regional balance of power by implementing their last-ditch strategies and policies, they will instead bring on the full-blown arrival of the Middle East endgame in which something other than the regionwide stalemate they envisage will be the result. One of the region's sectarian factions will win the game, thereby rising to ascendancy across the region.

Not a restoration of a balance of power, but rather a further chaotic tipping of the balance toward one faction will be the most likely result of the implementation of their strategies. The Bush and Blair administrations are not known for their ability to conceive truly brilliant strategies and wisely implement them on the ground - hence the impending exhibition of their latest foreign-policy "talents" in the Middle East should be more than sufficient cause for alarm. "

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