Tag Archives: middle east

David Petreaus, Commander-in-Chief (Central Command)

This is incredibly good news — only promoting General Petreaus to CINCEUCOM (where he would have overseen NATO operations in Afghanistan) would be comparable:

The Associated Press: Gen. Petraeus named as next commander of Mideast command
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press has learned that Gen. David Petraeus, the four-star general who has been leading troops in Iraq, has been tapped to become the next commander of U.S. Central Command.

If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace Navy Adm. William Fallon, who stepped down in March.

Taking Petraeus’ position as the senior commander in Iraq would be Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, who had until recently been serving as Petraeus’ deputy.

Completing the Counter-Insurgency cycle in Iraq is incredibly important — and Petreaus is just the man to do it.

Toward a New, Democratic Middle East

Barnett, T.P.M. (2006). Treating Iran as a logical swing asset. Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. January 10, 2007. Available online: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2007/01/treating_iran_as_logical_swing.html.

Tom Barnett gets it!:

Great piece by Luttwak exploring how sometimes (in Iraq) we need to be pro-Shiia and not be afraid of making Sunni states nervous and sometimes (in Lebanon vis-a-vis Syria) we need to be pro-Sunni and not worry about making Shiia leaders (Syria, Iran) nervous.

Now, where Luttwak doesn’t go is where I’m dying to go: play Iran more as a scary balancer. The more we dialogue (none yet) with Iran on Iraq, the more we freak the Saudis and the easier it becomes to splinter Syria because we’re basically playing prisoner’s dilemma with both Damascus and Iran–as in, who’s gonna bite first because we’ll go harder on the other next.

I agree completely, and back in August I wrote that a Shia Iraq and a Sunni Syria are exactly what we need.

A Democratic Middle East

Keep the Big Bang moving. Support Democracy in the Middle East. Support a Shia Iraq, and a Sunni Syria.

A New Middle East, Part I: Our Vanquished Enemies

The Big Bang spreads . . . the rough way,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 7 October 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002427.html (from tdaxp).

President’s Radio Address,” by George Bush, White House Radio, 19 August 2006, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/08/20060819.html.

As George Bush assumed power in January 2001, the Middle East was in a dire state. The al-Qaeda backed Taliban government ruled Afghanistan, while the noxious rule of the Arab Nationalist-Secularist governments (some in uneasy league with America, others opposed) ruled Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria. If al Qaeda was a rapist, doing damage quickly and violently, the Nationalist-Secularists were parents with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. While al Qaeda was more mindlessly violent, the National-Secularists had been disastrous for their states, rolling back the traditional governments and traditional societies that once existed in those lands. The National-Secularists, from the Ba’ath, to Fatah, to the rest, were politically and intellectually bankrupt.


Red = National-Secularist, Green = Shia, Yellow = Tribal, Black = al Qaeda, Blue = Globalist

Since then the situation has changed for the better. In three states the National-Secularists have been driven out: by the US military in Iraq, by the people in Palestine, and by a combination of internal factions and external pressure in Lebanon. And Afghanistan, of course, was liberated in Operational Enduring Freedom.


Red = National-Secularist, Green = Shia, Yellow = Tribal, Blue-Geen = Contested between Iran and Globalist, Blue = Globalist, Purple = Muslim Brothers

That these places are unstable is not proof that Bush’s plan is failing, but that it is working. As the President recently said

It is no coincidence that two nations that are building free societies in the heart of the Middle East, Lebanon and Iraq, are also the scenes of the most violent terrorist activity.

The same is true, of course, when Palestine, where the Muslim Brother’s local branch, Hamas, is squeezed between a justly hostile Israeli and unjustly hostile National-Secularist dead-enders.

If we are to judge the Global War on Terrorism by the standards of Thomas Barnett:

In the end, what will have to change for all this violence in the Middle East to stop is not our withdrawal, but political reform in the region. Keeping this fight suppressed, or having it exported to our shores like it was on 9/11 is certainly a safer route for the local authoritarian regimes. Then again, I think 9/11 put us past caring about those regimes’ stability like we used to.

Bush basically runs a race with Osama: who can destabilize the region’s regimes first? Both sides want change, but only one wants to replace the current autocracies with a religious dictatorship. What Bush wants solves the problem. What Osama wants merely extends it.

Then we are clearly winning this Long War. We destabilized Afghanistan, throwing al Qaeda out of their only State. We destabilized National-Secularist Iraq, and now contend with Iran (not al Qaeda) in seeing which of us has the most influence in that State. We destabilize National-Secularist Lebanon, and now content with Iran (not al Qaeda) in seeing which of us has the most influence in that State.

In this New Middle East we are building, we will have to be careful. We will have to deal wisely with the new regional indigenous hegemon, Iran. But we will not have to fear al Qaeda or the National-Secularists. They will be killed. That is why we can leave Iraq now.


A New Middle East, a tdaxp series
A New Middle East 1: Our Vanquished Enemies
A New Middle East 2: Iran
A New Middle East 3: Israel
A New Middle East 4: Islam is the Answer

Chinese Pilgrims

PM Sharon met with Chinese Deputy Prime Minister,” Prime Minister’s Office, http://www.pmo.gov.il/nr/exeres/10B5BBC7-0AB7-4189-966A-725029058D8D.htm, 28 December 2004.

China ready to take on more active role in Mideast politics,” by Mahmoud Al Abed , Jordan Times, http://www.jordantimes.com/fri/homenews/homenews5.htm, 7 January 2005 (from Democratic Underground).

At the beginning of the meting, which was held in an excellent atmosphere, the Chinese Deputy Prime Minister invited Prime Minister Sharon to visit China in order to further improve bilateral relations. He said that bilateral relations have greatly improved since Prime Minister Sharon took office.

and

AMMAN — China is ready to take on a more active role in Middle East politics and enhance partnership with the region, including Jordan, Chinese Ambassador to Amman Luo Xingwu announced on Thursday.

At a press conference yesterday, the envoy said Beijing has put forward four-point initiative for peace in the Middle East.

The move was taken after Chinese Deputy Prime Minister and State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan’s Dec.26-29 visit to Palestine and Israel, where he met senior officials from both sides.

In the initiative, China urges trust-building measures between the Palestinians and the Israelis, a halt to attacks against Israeli civilians, facilitation of smooth Palestinian elections and respect for the ensuing Palestinian government, the resumption of peace talks, and an improvement in the living conditions of the Palestinian people.

Excellent. China needs stable economies to trade with. China needs oil, but it also needs stable Middle East allies. Increasing the connectivity between Israel and China helps both nations, and encourages other governments on the road to progress.

It encourages the Arab states in other ways too. The Chinese have little compunction about killing Muslims when the times call for it.

Welcome, friends.