Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I now understand why Bush can't leave Iraq

Long neglected blog. The last few weeks with finishing the last work for my MFA program semester, plus getting my manuscripts in the mail to my readers, and preparing for Thanksgiving, have all been one big blur.

But an op-ed in the Washington Post by some Saudi government guy has piqued my interest. He talked about what's at stake for the Saudis in Iraq, and spoke of "promises" made by both Prince Abdullah to President Bush, and vice versa.

Apparently, Abdullah warned Bush that invading Iraq would create more problems than it would solve (duh). And Abdullah has also since told Bush that he's holding back forces within Saudi society that want to go to the aid of Sunnis in Iraq--as long as the U.S. remains in Iraq, Abdullah will keep these forces at bay. But should the U.S. withdraw . . . .

So now the President's bizarre obstinacy about not withdrawing from Iraq (and Dick Cheney's weird Thanksgiving weekend visit to Saudi Arabia) are starting to make some kind of sense--or at least have a context. Why haven't any people who know a lot more than I do about politics and diplomacy been reporting about the U.S. - Saudi issues relative to Iraq?

I mean, the whole thing makes a lot of sense. Bush is strongly tied to Prince Abdullah. He had dinner with him, or with the Saudi envoy, the day after 9/11. Of course he would talk to Abdullah about invading Iraq. So the President is completely certain that we'll go in and things will be rosy--Iraqis freed from oppression, democracy set up, etc. Abdullah basically winces, chides Bushie, telling him it's a fool's errand, that he doesn't understand the complicated politics of the region (complicated still further by religious factions), etc., etc. Bush still makes his case. Abdullah says, well, fine then--as long as the U.S. stays in until Iraq is stable--because if it doesn't, Saudi Arabia, as the religious authority and center of the Sunni Muslims, will have to protect the Sunni population in Iraq. And if Saudi Arabia gets involved in Iraq, then Iran will be forced to enter the conflict to protect the Shias (Iran being the religious center and authority of the Shia Muslims). And then there will be Islamic Civil War, a conflict to end all conflicts. Basically a world war.

No wonder Bush is so adamant about not withdrawing from Iraq, or even acting like we're going to. He's made a promise to the Saudis, back when it was easy to make such promises, that, of course, the U.S. wouldn't pull out of Iraq until it was stabilized. But Bush thought it would be a cake walk. It's so great making promises when you think everything is going to be easy.

And now Bush knows what's next if we leave: an Islamic civil war, which will relatively quickly turn into a worldwide conflict, given the worldwide spread of Isalm. You think it's the Sunnis and the Shias having problems just in Iraq? It's not just Iraq--there are pockets of Shias everywhere in the world--but just pockets. Sunnis are the majority. Does anyone really want to see mass and worldwide slaughter of the Shias? It would be nice if our President had the guts to be honest with the Congress and with all of us, and let us know what the stakes really are--stakes that are so high precisely because of his ill-advised and unwarranted actions. If he hadn't been such a naive airhead, no one would be facing this.

This isn't really about the U.S. presence in Iraq--this is about the Sunni Muslims finally having a chance to wipe out the Shia holy places in Iraq once and for all. It's about drawing Iran into a world war--a country that now has or is well on its way to developing nuclear weapons. It's about whatever the Saudis have for weapons--IDK. It's about the Sunnis being able to wipe the Shias off the map forever, thereby establishing the true identity of Islam. This has nothing to do with us (except for us opening the door to it)--this is about World War III, a world war in which we are neither the main players nor the saviors, we're just the bystanders about to get swept up into a worldwide conflagration fueled not by political ideology, but about religious identity.

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