"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it."-Winston S. Churchill

"The wandering scholars were bound by no lasting loyalties, were attached by no sentiment of patriotism to the states they served and were not restricted by any feeling of ancient chivalry. They proposed and carried out schemes of the blackest treachery."-C.P. Fitzgerald.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Bombs in Baghdad, etc. 

Sullivan has a good take on the bombing in Baghdad yesterday. In addition, it is worth looking at this piece in today's London Times, by Rosemary Righter.

My take is rather simple. The Americans are too good in the field for the Jihadi to actually confront and defeat. I suspect that the Bin Ladenists and their local Ba'athist allies have lost a lot of experienced leadership cadre over the last several months. Thus, the emphasis on soft targets (such as the Al Rashid Hotel and the ICRC headquarters).

I suspect that the Americans will counter on a political level by purchasing the loyalties of local sheiks in the Sunni heartland while maintaining cordial monetary and political relations with the Shi'a and the Kurds. The Sunnis are a small minority, I know, but they had a stake in the regime, and there are enough of them to cause terrible problems down the line. The danger is not that America will be defeated. Far from it. Rather, the Americans will eventually begin drawing down forces next year having done their best to get Iraq jump-started. In the wake of our withdrawl, we could become witness to a sectarian conflict such as Iraq has not seen. There is no way the Kurds and the Shi'a will passively sit by as the Sunni's come to power again under yet another strongman.

In the interim, we will have to muddle through. We will suffer bombings and assassinations now and again, but there is little else that can be done until the Iraqis elect a government in which they have both a say and a stake.

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