Wednesday, December 06, 2006

We've Been Talking (w/Iran and Syria) We've Been Talking (w/Iran and Syria)

WSJ: We've Been Talking: It's a myth that the U.S. hasn't already engaged Syria and Iran points out that the problem with Iran and Syria is not that the U.S. hasn't been talking to these countries, but rather that they have their own agendas, that include both high level talks to show their national importance and backing Islamic terrorism.

I think that part of the problem is that what we should be saying to them is not the type of stuff that can be said openly. Rather, the real threat to Iran is that the Sunni Arab world, led by Saudi Arabia, intervenes in Iraq to protect the beleagured Sunni Arabs there. There are a lot more Sunnis in the world than there are Shiites, and the Sunnis, thanks to a lot of petro-dollars, probably are better armed too. Should these countries intervene, the losers are likely to be Shiites worldwide, and Iran in particular. Iran can partly defuse the situation by reining in the Iraqi Shiite militias, esp. the ones that it has supported over the years. Then, time is on its side, as the remaining Iraqi Sunni Arabs are pushed out of the country or into defensible enclaves.

Within Iraq, Syria would seem to have much less influence than Iran. But it does have some control over the infiltration of foreign born Sunni terrorists into Iraq. On the other side, it is exceedingly vulnerable, with a minority quasi-Shiite government, caught between the Americans in Irag to the East and in the Mediterranean to the West, and Israel to the South-west. I have always thought that some hot persuit of al Qaeda that accidently strayed into Syria from Anbar Province would get the message across fairly quickly. Syria seems more amenable to this sort of persuasion than do the Mad Mullahs in Iran.


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