Sunday, July 03, 2005
Egypt's Ambassador to Iraq Kidnapped
Egypt's first ambassador to post-Saddam Iraq was kidnapped. It is clear that the terrorists want to send a message to all Arab countries telling them not to send envoys to Shia/Kurds dominated Iraq.
Now it is very clear that the insurgents are very well connected, very well financed, and they can carry out almost any operation that hits their imagination. Besides, it is very clear that they do enjoy considerable support among Iraq's Sunni population. You want to know why? Well, imagine that in 1920 blacks took over Alabama and the KKK started a terror campaign against the new rulers of the state. I am sure many whites would at least silently support what the KKK were doing even if they didn't engage in the violence themselves. Suddenly the KKK will became the "spokesperson" or the "defenders" of the whites and those who fight for their place in Alabama. This is the reason why those Sunni politicians, who just like their fellow Shia/Kurds entered Iraqi politics on a US tank, are now calling the terrorists as "resistance". They know that many fellow Sunnis (who will give them their votes) believe that the terrorists are "resistance" who are fighting the US and the Shias/Kurds who benefited the most from post-Saddam Iraq. Just go to BBC forum and read the comments coming from Iraq, Sunnis are from Mars, Shias/Kurds are from Venus.
Something tells me that the ambassador will be released unharmed just like the Egyptian diplomat who was also kidnapped a year ago. Egypt has a strong intelligence system, I bet they know a Sheikh in Cairo who knows a Sheikh in Demascus who is in contact with the Saddamists in Syria who are supporting a Sheikh in Baghdad who knows the terrorists.
The way forward cannot be different from the below 3 options:
1. Sunnification. This is what's happening now. Talking to the Sunnis and their "resistance" to bring them in. However, some might agree to lay down their arms, others might continue killing until they extract new demands, and others will never lay down arms because they believe they are currently having the upper hand and the thought of sharing Iraq is an impossibility. Sadamists might agree to talk, hardcore Islamists will fight till their death, yet removing the Sadamists from the equation will be a huge step forward.
2. Fight till they're defeated and couple that with political action. This is the route taken by Israel in the intifada. Fight fight fight, kill Sheikh Yassen, kill Rantisi, build a huge wall, yet still get out from Gaza. The political action taken by Israel is taken while Hamas and Co. are deeply hurt from the assassination of a number of their most notable leaders, even those who are in Syria. Hamas & Co. cannot feel victorious the way Hezbollah felt when Ehud Barak pulled out from Lebanon.
This option would require at least 350,000 more US boots and of course that's an impossible decision for Bush to take.
3. Civil War. Withdraw coalition forces, arm the Kurdish and Shia militia to the teeth, and sit back and watch a civil war unfolds over a 5 years time span. Let the civil war dictate the realities on the group a la what happened in Lebanon. If this option was adopted, we can kiss the Iraqi enterprise goodbye.
I go for the first option. The other 2 options are dreadful. The first option is very slow and extremely painful as we're witnessing now, yet its the only logical option. In other words, there is nothing else that could be done besides what is being done now. May be greedy Shias/Kurds should offer more concessions or more pressure added on Syria, but I don’t see anything else to be done. Withdrawing US troops is an impossibility and adding to their current levels is an impossibility as well.