Thursday, July 9, 2009

More Attacks in Iraq? Some Things Can be Predicted in the Middle East

By Barry Rubin

Some things in the Middle East should be totally predictable. When U.S. forces pull out of Iraqi cities, of course terrorists are going to increase attacks to the highest possible level.

This is, of course, what’s happening now. In effect, the terrorists are saying that the U.S. effort didn’t work and that the Iraqi government cannot protect citizens from the revolutionary Islamist forces. It also may show that Syria, which to some extent controls the inflow of terrorists, can cause trouble so Washington better be nice to it. Sort of like the local gangsters going into a store and breaking things to ensure the flow of “protection” money.

What else is predictable? Lots of things! For example if Israel-Palestinian peace ever appeared closer to achievement (which isn’t going to happen for a long time) terrorists will increase attacks in order to destroy any possibility of success. Of course, knowing that they would be targeted for agreeing to a compromise peace is the last of many arguments that ensures Palestinian Authority leaders won’t make such an agreement.

It’s predictable that the current course of Western diplomacy won’t stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, or persuade Arab states to help in the peace process. It’s predictable that Iran getting nuclear weapons would set off a wave of Islamist recruitment and violence that could dwarf previous destruction from such operations.

A lot is predictable for those who really know the region. Of course, for those whose knowledge is superficial or just plain wrong, they will always guess wrong. If only someone was keeping score perhaps it would be possible to separate the charlatans from the authoritative.

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