I'm not sure what to say. We saw what happened in Lebanon. Every fundamental reality on the ground favored Hezbollah and its affiliates, but in a colossal waste of effort the US and its regional subordinates pressured their allied parties in Lebanon to hold out for an arrangement that would limit Hezbollah's political stature. In the end, of course, Hezbollah kept its veto and the delay served no purpose at all except increasing the anxiety of those uninvolved in the process.
Here we go with Iraq:
By Col. Gary Anderson (USMC, ret.)A western-leaning regime that is "more authoritarian than we'd like", in other words an Egypt, Jordan or Saudi Arabia-like regime for Iraq. One worrying aspect is Anderson's expectation of bloodshed. Assuming Anderson's perceptions match those of the US foreign policy corps in Iraq there is an intention, and likely plans to impose Allawi on the country by force.
Best Defense west Baghdad bureau chief
What is happening in Iraq is far from American style horse-trading. Nor is this about simple sectarianism. What we will see in Iraq in the immediate future will be a naked power struggle among the three main elements in the Shiite community:
- Secular nationalists [note: he means Allawi's faction]
- Islamic nationalists [he means Sadr's faction]
- Islamic pro-Iranians [he means Maliki's faction in which he includes Chalabi]
I'm betting that one of the nationalist groups will eventually win, but that it will not be without a good deal of bloodshed. The winning party will likely be the one that the army backs, which will be the secular side, as the Iraqi army doesn't like Sadr, who is the leading Islamic nationalist. I would also bet that Chalabi ends up in exile or worse.
The result will be a regime that is more authoritarian than we will like, but it is to be hoped, western leaning.
Where the US expectation likely fails is that Sadr and Maliki fight each other, but not to a degree or in a way that would allow Allawi and the Americans to walk into power after they've defeated each other. But the expectation of violence is the type of prophecy that, if made by the Americans in Iraq, fulfills itself.
The United States is not a neutral or indifferent party in Iraq today. The United States is willing to expend substantial resources to add Iraq to the colonial structure that currently holds Egypt, Jordan and many other Middle East countries. If the United States had the means to report more votes for its favorite, Allawi, than he actually got from Iraq's people, it is not plausible that the US refused to do so. And given the long and opaque period between when the votes were cast and when they were reported, as well as the election commission's refusal to recount any of the ballots, it is very likely that the US did have the means to fabricate votes to give Allawi the "slim lead" that was reported.
I expect a coalition of what Anderson calls Islamists to retain power in Iraq, but the stubborn US insistence in attempting to install an authoritarian regime that is western-leaning will cause unnecessary time, resources and lives to be wasted.