To win the War. If I were Olmert

If I were Olmert, I’d be rushing to Washington and begging Bush to get the hell out of Iraq. Why?

To start with, Israel is fighting Hezbollah, supported by both Syria and Iran. But this is only a battle. Does anyone see a favourable outcome for Israel? What about the big picture, the war with Israeli hating Arabs on a majority of its borders for decades?

Now we know that Sunni Arabs outside of Iraq are moving in from Syria to support the Sunni insurgency. We also know that Iran, a Shiite country is supporting the attrocities by the Shite Al Sadr against Sunnis. In fact I learned that Sunnis and Shiites don’t look upon each other favourably any where else at all, except in Lebanon. Why? Because they are allies in their war against Israelis.

Syria and Iran are colluding right now to support the Shiite Hezbollah (Which needs Sunni Syria to connect by land with Iran), but if the US leaves Iraq right now, pronto, there would be such a power vacuum, that a war between Syria and Iran would be a near certainty. Divide and conquer.

Does anyone think that Bush will be successful and leave Iraq as a stable country? Didn’t think so. Better let the middle east Sunnis and Shiites fight it out right now and get some resolution before either of these countries manage to go nuclear.

I’m having trouble seeing the connection, myself. The roots of Israel/Lebanon/Syria/Iran go back much further than U.S./Iraq.

I have to agree, though, that I’d rather see Arabs (well, Muslims, since Iran isn’t particularly Arabic) fighting each other then provoking Israelis, who can fight extremely well but not in a manner that’ll inspire any widespread support.

I wrote about my favourite plan to end the war here. Add to that Israeli setting up trade schools for Arab women (which was met with derision by people claiming the teachers and students would just be massacred, which I took to be a pretty bleak statement about Arabs).

Let me be sure I’ve got this right. We pull out of Iraq right now! and this will ensure that Iran and Syria fall upon each other like ravening wolves? And this is a good thing because it will mean a Final Solution. I mean, a final solution? To the whole Shiite/Sunni thingy?

Gotta say, this is some pretty cold realpolitik, like Dr. Evil channeling Kissinger. I don’t think I’d approve even if I didn’t think it was harebrained. What doth it profit a man to gain the whole Middle East if he lose his soul?

Well, maybe it’s okay because they’re so inefficient at it. Barring use of nukes, none of the Arab nations have the wherewithal to engage in high-tech industrialized slaughter, nor sufficiently well-trained, equipped and motivated armies to participate in an effective invasion (it would quickly degenerate into scattered rape and pillage, with young men and boys thrown casually into the meat-grinder to die by the thousands). Iraq arguably had the best Arabic army in the world in 1980, but couldn’t get anywhere against Iran. If a large fraternal war broke out in the region, they’d do a lot of damage, make a lot of noise, but accomplish very little. I wouldn’t expect any one group to emerge dominant anytime soon. There’d just be a whole lotta people killed for no real reason.

Israel, by comparison, is one stone-cold professional. They take territory and keep it, giving it back only after many empty promises from the former owners and the U.N. It’s unfortunately just as futile.

There was a time, of course, when the invaders would force the conquered to swear loyalty and pay tribute, or else get put to the sword. Israel, like all civilized nations, doesn’t even say that any more, while the Arabs just love pre-industrial rhetoric. Thing is, you can’t really fight pre-industrial wars anymore, which is what I get the impression the OP had in mind.

Have Syria and Iran even so much as growled at each other lately?

I’d say the first thing you should do is take a look at a map of the region.

Syria shares no borders with Iran. The stuff that is being funnelled through Syria from Iran is already coming through a third country or by sea. The most likely third country is Iraq. Abandoning Iraq does not automatically lead to some sort of war between Syria and Iran. It could, of course, but history is filled with examples of people who thought that setting two sides of a revolution against each other would end in victory for the “neutral” party. (Ask any good czarists how playing the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks against each other worked out.)

And, of course, if Syria and Iran went to war, the battles would be fought in Iraq, so the survivors would have a generational hatred for the West for abandoning them.

My guess is that Syria has supported Hezbollah for no more far-sighted reason than to keep Lebanon disrupted. It has been over 32 years since Israel’s neighbors actually went to war against Israel. Israel has working relationships with Jordan and Egypt and covert relationships with Saudi Arabia. It even had a decade’s worth of negotiations with Syria. (And you will note that Syria has been careful to do nothing openly in the current conflict.) Similarly, the religious leadership of Iran needs to keep waving the red shirt of “Israel” in front of the populace in an attempt to keep them distracted from the reforms and democracy toward which the population keeps lurching. Giving them the excuse of a shooting war so that they can claim that they “have always been at war with Eurasia” will serve only to delay the inevitable (if not soon enough for our liking) overthrow of the ayatollahs.

The people who still insist that Israel can be destoyed are the marginal players in Palestine (Sunni Hamas) and Lebanon (Shiite Hezbollah), not the nations who realize that any genuine attempt to destroy Israel would result in massive costs and destruction to their own fragile economies.
Taking actions that would result in open warfare (particularly in a “neutral” country such as Iraq) would not only be counterproductive, it would be a serious breach of ethics.

Syria wouldn’t fight Iran… It can’t fight Iran. It’s military has been in decline for the past decade and a half - the Syrian government has given up on paying for a respectable military. All it could do is fund the Sunni militias in Iraq and give up all hope of ever being on anybody’s good side.

The two sides of the Iraqi revolution are already fighting each other. The coalition appears to be unable to break up the fight. The only victory the coalition could possibly achieve is saving their own lives by getting the hell out.

I’m sorry, i don’t really follow you but it occurs to me that the Russion imperial government should have fled before it was to late. That is my recomendation for the present Iraqi government and the coalition forces.

It seems to me that the tyrant Sadam isn’t getting much press anymore. He is basically forgotten. Not much hatred there anymore. Bush I abandoned the Iraqi Shiites after Gulf I. The first day Bush II entered Bagdad the Americans were greeted fairly warmly. Arab generational hatred appears to be reserved for the Israelis whom they would love to be abandoned by.

My proposal merely allows the various players in the middle east to solve their own problems. It would do Israel good to have Syria and Iran distracted. Has any good ever come out of the presence of western military forces in the middle east?