Saturday, November 27, 2004

Playing A Deep Game

Now, this is an interesting take on the US strategy in the Middle East, and it makes a lot of sense. (hat tip: Professor Bainbridge and Instapundit), Frank Devine in The Australian:

WHY are we in Iraq? It is not, as some ranters claim, because George Bush is stupid and bloodthirsty and John Howard a spineless crawler. Nor is it because the US has regressed to Wilsonian imperialism.

For those seriously interested in the question I recommend a seriously interesting new book, America's Secret War by George Friedman. Friedman is founder of Stratfor, a private, subscription-financed global intelligence service, which I find consistently well-informed. Friedman writes of the struggle in Iraq in relentlessly Realpolitik terms.

Although the US believed Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, the WMDs were ultimately "a cover for a much deeper game". The big game began with the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan and the US enlisting the assistance of Saudi Arabia in backing the Afghan resistance. The Saudis provided financing and guerilla fighters. They influenced other Islamic countries to send guerillas.

You have to read the entire article to find out how the US has successfully stalemated Saudi Arabia's plan to establish a new Caliphate and blocked the jihadists from implementing it using terror as its weapon.

So the US struck [Iraq], with consequences unfolding nightly on our TV screens. Friedman believes the US-jihadist war hangs in the balance. However, the measured actions of the US during the past three years, including its strong military presence in the Middle East, have caused significant moderation of the position on global jihad of Saudi Arabia and other Muslim regimes.
The strategy of the jihadists has stalled: "Not a single regime has fallen to
al-Qa'ida ... There is no rising in the Islamic street. [There has been] complete failure of al-Qa'ida to generate the political response they were seeking ... At this point the US is winning ... The war goes on.

Meanwhile, there are more signs that the US is winning, as the Zarqawi Network Appeals for Help in the First Signals of Defeat:(hat tip: Jim O)

Islamic sources said that for the first time in more than a year the Tawhid and Jihad group led by Al Zarqawi appears to have lost control over many of its insurgents in the Sunni Triangle.

The sources said Iraqi and U.S. assaults on major insurgency strongholds in such cities as Baghdad, Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi and Samara have resulted in heavy insurgency casualties and a break in the command and control structure.

Over the last few days, Al Zarqawi supporters have appealed for help from Al Qaida and related groups. The sources said Al Qaida's allies, including the Salafist Brigade for Combat and Call, have sought to increase recruitment of Muslim volunteers to fight the coalition.

The Internet has also reflected the growing concern that Islamic insurgents would be routed in Iraq. A message posted on an Islamic website appealed for help from Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority.

Taken together, these two articles paint a picture of a strategy that is working in Iraq, and in the Middle East. The Bush Administration is playing a deep game that requires patience, determination, steady leadership, and sacrifice on the part of our professional military. It is a game that we cannot afford to lose--for the sake of our children who will have to pay the consequences if we fail in constraining or eliminating Islamofascism now.

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