Custom Search

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fantasy, Games and Politics of the ISG

Quite a few of the ISG's recommendations will end up where they belong, the trashcan, as well they should. Iraqi's President clearly states that he sees this
study group's recommendations as "dangerous" and he is right....they are.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has sharply criticized the U.S. bi-partisan Iraq Study Group recommendations for changing U.S. strategy in Iraq.

Mr. Talabani, an Iraqi Kurd, told journalists in Baghdad Sunday the report is unfair and unjust. He said it contains what he called "dangerous articles that undermine the sovereignty of Iraq and its constitution."

Let us take a look at these recommendations.

RECOMMENDATION 5: The Support Group should consist of Iraq and all the states bordering Iraq, including Iran and Syria; the key regional states, including Egypt and the Gulf
States; the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; the European Union; and, of course, Iraq itself.

Other countries—for instance, Germany, Japan and South Korea—that might be willing to contribute to resolving political, diplomatic, and security problems affecting Iraq could also become members.

This recommendation is addressed in the Chicago Sun Times. Says it well, but it brings me to my pet peeve of a recommendation, which is #9.

RECOMMENDATION 9: Under the aegis of the New Diplomatic Offensive and the Support Group, the United States should engage directly with Iran and Syria in order to try to obtain their commitment to constructive policies toward Iraq and other regional issues. In engaging Syria and Iran, the United States should consider incentives, as well as disincentives, in seeking constructive results.

Engaging with Iran and Syria, yes, by all means lets engage with the very people who are supplying the arms to the Shia militias. Engage with those that are doing their very best to create more chaos in Iraq to force us to deal with them... have we, as a country, learned nothing about appeasement and where it gets us? Just look at North Korea... appeasement does not work.

Then later in the report, still under the recomendation #9 it states:

Our limited contacts with Iran’s government lead us to believe that its leaders are likely to say they will not participate in diplomatic efforts to support stability in Iraq. They attribute this reluctance to their belief that the United States seeks regime change in Iran.

Nevertheless, as one of Iraq’s neighbors Iran should be asked to assume its responsibility to participate in the Support Group. An Iranian refusal to do so would demonstrate to Iraq and the rest of the world Iran’s rejectionist attitude and approach, which could lead to its isolation. Further, Iran’s refusal to cooperate on this matter would diminish its prospects of engaging with the United States in the broader dialogue it seeks.

In case the doddering old fools have missed it, Iran is already in isolation over their nuclear ambitions, the "world" already sees this as is witnessed by our discussions on how to sanction Iran within the UN and using Iraq to get into a mind game with Iran is not exactly a suggestion one can take seriously.

RECOMMENDATION 10: The issue of Iran’s nuclear programs should continue to be dealt with by the United Nations Security Council and its five permanent members (i.e., the

United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China) plus Germany.

HELLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOO....... again, the simplistic mindset and naive suggestions of recommendation #9 is completely negated by recommendation #10. To put it simply for the old folks, to implement #10 is to negate #9, because Iran will NOT help with Iraq, especially if the UN continues with #10. To even make those two recommendations, one after the other is complete fantasy on the ISG's part.

RECOMMENDATION 11: Diplomatic efforts within the Support Group should seek to persuade Iran that it should take specific steps to improve the situation in Iraq.

Among steps Iran could usefully take are the following:

• Iran should stem the flow of equipment, technology, and training to any group resorting to violence in Iraq.
• Iran should make clear its support for the territorial integrity of Iraq as a unified state, as well as its respect for the sovereignty of Iraq and its government.
• Iran can use its influence, especially over Shia groups in Iraq, to encourage national reconciliation.
• Iran can also, in the right circumstances, help in the economic reconstruction of Iraq.

The UN and the whole international community cannot get Iran to suspend the enrichment program, so what makes these political gurus think that Iran can be persuaded to stop arming the militias in Iraq and to actually help?

That is tantamount to thinking one could "negotiate" with Hitler.

Ridiculous. Naive. Fantasy. Stupidity.

RECOMMENDATION 12: The United States and the Support Group should encourage and persuade Syria of the merit of such contributions as the following:

• Syria can control its border with Iraq to the maximum extent possible and work together with Iraqis on joint patrols on the border. Doing so will help stem the flow of funding, insurgents, and terrorists in and out of Iraq.
• Syria can establish hotlines to exchange information with the Iraqis.
• Syria can increase its political and economic cooperation with Iraq.

Syria will do exactly as Iran tells them to, so this also is redundant.

Which brings me to my next point. Blaming Israel for everything that goes wrong in this world.

The Wider Regional Context

The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria, and President Bush’s June 2002 commitment
to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. This commitment must include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians (those who accept Israel’s right to exist), and particularly Syria—which is the principal transit point for shipments of weapons to Hezbollah, and which supports radical Palestinian groups.

Tell me how Israel and the conflict between them and the Palenstinians caused 9/11, caused Saddam when in control of Iraq, to become a state that sponsors terror and brought us to Iraq? Is al-Qaeda's hatred toward the US also to be blamed on Israel? Where has this idea that every situation in the world is somehow connected to Israel?

I suppose next we are going to blame Darfur on the Arab-Israeli conflict too.


RECOMMENDATION 15: Concerning Syria, some elements of that negotiated peace should be:
• Syria’s full adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 of August 2006, which provides the framework for Lebanon to regain sovereign control over its territory.
• Syria’s full cooperation with all investigations into political assassinations in Lebanon, especially those of Rafik Hariri and Pierre Gemayel.
• A verifiable cessation of Syrian aid to Hezbollah and the use of Syrian territory for transshipment of Iranian weapons and aid to Hezbollah. (This step would do much to solve Israel’s problem with Hezbollah.)
• Syria’s use of its influence with Hamas and Hezbollah for the release of the captured Israeli Defense Force soldiers.
• A verifiable cessation of Syrian efforts to undermine the democratically elected government of Lebanon.
• A verifiable cessation of arms shipments from or transiting through Syria for Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups.
• A Syrian commitment to help obtain from Hamas an acknowledgment of Israel’s right to exist.
• Greater Syrian efforts to seal its border with Iraq.

Nothing needs to be said here, all one has to do is simply look at Lebanon right now to understand that Syria will not cooperate with ANY of the ISG's fantasies.

Recommendations not dealing with Iran, Syria and Israel will be talked about in another post.

Others discussing this:
Amy Proctor does a wonderful analysis of the ISG report.
Townhall Blog.
Boston Herald.
Jules Crittenden has a good roundup of reactions.
Faultline USA has an excellent piece on the ISG report also.