There is a lot of criticism on the political right and left of the Iraq Study Group report — but all in all, the report does a very good job suggesting that Iraq’s internal problems cannot be addressed without addressing the absence of regional equilibrium.
And while there is debate about what formula might work to address the internal dynamics inside Iraq, the fact is that the American presence is one of the primary drivers of the Sunni insurgency.
Bush will offer a billion dollar jobs plan Wednesday night — small change actually given the employment problem in Iraq — in addition to an escalation of America’s troop presence focused on stabilizing Baghdad. And he has all sorts of glitzy personnel changes to announce that are really just shuffling chairs around on a sinking ship.
In this short piece that appeared in the Financial Times, Trita Parsi makes clear why it’s important to start negotiations with Iran before things fly further out of control. I don’t agree with everything in Parsi’s short essay — but his articulation of an Iran-Saudi Arabia proxy war in Iraq is chilling, and possible.
My sense so far is that the Bush plan continues to neglect the political realities in the region — and inside Iraq. And by firing General John Abizaid, he is continuing the Rumsfeld practice of elevating and rewarding those generals who agree with him and will support his broken strategy — and fire those who have been privately telling him the truth that America needs out of this mess.
For the zinger op-ed advocating a “diplomacy surge,” read General Wesley Clark’s superb piece in the Washington Post. I need to get him to do a guest blog here.
— Steve Clemons