Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How bad could it get?

Tony Blankley looks into his crystal ball and sees the future after the US pulls out of Iraq. I agree with his analysis of where it will lead.
But if, as it is hard to imagine otherwise, our departure from Iraq yields civil war, chaos, war lordism and terrorist safe havens — it is very likely that Iran will lurch in to harvest their advantages, Turkey will send in its army to stop an independent Kurdistan and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the other Sunni states will be sucked in to fend off Shi'ite Iran's hegemony. In that nightmare maelstrom, the 20 million barrels a day of oil shipped from the Persian Gulf — and the world economy with it — will be in daily risk of being cut off.
However, I'm not certain that Iran will welcome the chaos on its borders. I think Iran is much happier with the current state of play - the US taking a pounding while it struggles to prevent all out civil war - than with what might happen if the US 'bugged out' in the morning.

At a minimum Iran would have a refugee crisis inside its borders. A worst case scenario would see Iran drawn in to defend the Shiite population and confronting Saudi, Jordanian and possibly Egyptian military forces drawn in to defend the Sunni minority. All the while, Al Qaeda will be carving out a niche for itself and Syria would either tear itself apart or be compelled to side with the Sunni defenders against Iran. Turkey might even roll in from the north.

No, I suspect Iran would be none-too-keen on an all-out civil war in Iraq. Indeed, that might be the US's best bargaining chip right now.