Monday, September 10, 2007
Let's You And Him Fight
Ryan Crocker just made an important point about the distinct identities, cultures, histories, and languages that separate Iraq's Arab Shiites from Iran's Persian Shiites. The common refrain of American advocates of an extended force commitment is that should we leave, Iraq will become at the very least an Iranian alliy, and at worst an Iranian proxy or satellite.
I've never understood the logic behind that. While it's true that Iran would be the primary ally of Iraqi Shiites as they face off against Iraqi Sunnis, the reality is that there is no monolithic Shiite faction in Iraq. That's part of the reason that the Iraqi government is so ineffectual. In fact, the Badr Brigades and Mahdi Army are busy massacring each other, in parts of Baghdad, as well as in the South. And I don't see how Iran would be able to stop that any better than we have.
Strategically, an American withdrawal from Iraq would turn the Iraqi meltdown, complete with intra-Shiite fighting and al-Qaeda, into an Iranian problem. That doesn't seem like such a bad idea.