Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Iraq in Israel's Strategic Vision

There's not much discussion about Iraq in relation to Israel's efforts in Lebanon. Why the silence?

All of the talk among the neo-cons is about taking the war in Lebanon to Syria and Iran. The pretext for further attacks would Syria and Iran's support for Hezbollah, but Israel may have a larger strategic objective, i.e. knocking out all of the other Shiite centers of power before Iraq comes on line.

If Iraq ever stabilizes, the Iraqis will be the keystone of a Shiite crescent that includes Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the oil rich eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Given that Iraq is becoming such a fervently religious state, the Iraqis will become a danger to Israel as soon as they start pumping oil at full capacity. Like Iran, the Iraqis can build up their own military capacity, finance terror groups, and pump up the anti-Israeli rhetoric enough. In league with Iran, the Iraqis can keep the Israelis under pressure from a variety of angles. None of this would be enough to pose a real threat to Israel, but it would be enough to keep the Israelis from feeling secure.

In this light, it may be that the ultimate goal of the Israelis is start a general Middle East war in the hope of getting the U. S. to overthrow the governments in Tehran and Damascus. It would be a long shot on the part of the Israelis, but there is little doubt that the Bush administration is dumb enough to fall for it.

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