Для интересующихся, вот еще почитать интересно может будет. (реакции некоторых--не верю!, враньё от начала до конца!, они все буржуи!, и т.д.--заранее известны, можно их и не постить)
The War in Iraq: Redefining and Refocusing
March 05, 2004 1617 GMT
The war that began Sept. 11, 2001, has entered a new phase. The war in Iraq is reshaping itself — and that is redefining the broader war. There are two aspects of this. The rate at which the United States is incurring casualties in Iraq has declined dramatically during the past month. One American died on March 2; the last American deaths before that occurred Feb. 19. The tempo of attacks on U.S. forces has declined, although not as dramatically as the number of casualties. This indicates that the guerrilla forces focused on U.S. troops have declined in both number and quality.
The primary focus of guerrilla operations no longer seems to be U.S. forces. The focus appears to be on Iraqis who collaborate with the United States, and, more generally, on the Shiite community. The Shia did not rise against the U.S. occupation and have worked with the United States to facilitate a transfer of power that will make them the dominant force in Iraq — reflecting the fact that the Shia are 60 percent of the population. Attacks on the Shia were signaled early last month when a CD-ROM written by top al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was captured by U.S. forces. The document on the CD-ROM indicated a change in strategy, at least by the jihadist guerrilla faction, away from the United States and toward the Shiite community.
The synchronized attacks on Shiite shrines in Baghdad and Karbala that killed at least 170 people and injured hundreds more on March 2 — Ashoura, a major religious occasion in Shiite Islam — manifested this shift.
The guerrilla movement is split between the remnants of the Baathist government and foreign jihadists who entered Iraq to fight the United States. The two factions are different ideologically and operationally. Ideologically, the Baathists are secular and the jihadists are religious. Operationally, the Baathists have focused on what might be called conventional guerrilla warfare, concentrating on small-unit engagements with American forces. The jihadists engage more in classical militant operations against softer targets, in particular using suicide bombers.
Since December 2003, we have been noting a decline in Baathist operational capabilities. The decline has not been a straight line down by any means, but it is now an undeniable reality. They are certainly not what they were during the Ramadan offensive in November 2003. Indeed, that offensive will probably be regarded as their high-water mark. As the Baathist capabilities have contracted, the relative significance of the jihadists has increased. It appears that their numbers have risen, but that might well be an illusion created by the decline of the Baathists.
The leader of the jihadists appears to be al-Zarqawi, who has made a fundamental strategic decision. First, it is clear that he does not believe that the United States can be defeated by a guerrilla war. Although that might have appeared conceivable during the summer and fall of 2003, the failure of the Baathist offensive, the redeployment of U.S. forces, the improvement in U.S. intelligence and shifts in U.S. tactics have made American forces impervious to guerrilla attacks. In effect, the United States has won that campaign, and al-Zarqawi knows it.
Following from this first point, al-Zarqawi appears to have reached a second conclusion: The primary cause of the failure of the guerrilla war lies with Iraq's Shiite community. Had the Shia acted in concert with the Sunnis, the U.S. position in Iraq would have become untenable last fall. The guerrilla war in the Sunni Triangle — coupled with an intifada in the Shiite regions — would have made continued American occupation of Iraq impossible. If the United States had not withdrawn, it would have had to pull its forces back into small, well-defended enclaves with minimal control over the countryside. The situation would have resembled Afghanistan.
Al-Zarqawi's analysis of what would have happened had there been a violent uprising south of Baghdad is not at all unreasonable. The United States did not have sufficient forces to suppress a nationwide insurrection, nor did its political requirements permit using an Israeli model for confronting an intifada and a guerrilla war. The consequences of a Shiite rising would have presented a grave problem for the United States.
The rising did not occur, and — from al-Zarqawi's point of view — this has redefined the war. For him, the problem is not the Americans. They could have been defeated if the Shia had only played the appropriate role. But the Shia did not play their role, and thereby saved the Americans. Therefore, the Shia are the real enemy. In effect, the traditional fault line in the Islamic world between Sunni and Shia has opened up. To be more precise, the jihadists now see the key to victory in Iraq as being a war against the Shia that either shatters them, or — ideally — forces them to change course and fall in behind the jihadists. If that were to happen, the United States would be defeated.
It is not at all clear that al-Zarqawi can succeed in his mission. His support within the Iraqi Sunni community is not overwhelming, particularly among Sunni leaders. Moreover, the assumption that the Sunnis could win a showdown with the Shia is doubtful. Finally, the United States is still in Iraq and clearly is siding with the Shia against the jihadists. The jihadists can launch the kinds of attacks they did this week, but the net result is not likely to be either capitulation by the Shia or a change of course. The likely result will be that al-Zarqawi will find himself trapped between the Sunni elite, the Shia and the United States — a very tough place to be. Al-Zarqawi is not going to win his point in Iraq.
Iran and the Islamic World
Still, his analysis applies to the broader Islamic world. The Iraqi Shia did not rise against the Americans for two reasons. First, they did not want to do anything that might result in a Sunni government in Iraq. They had their fill of that under Saddam Hussein. Second — and this is more important — the Iranians who had helped organize and define the Iraqi Shiite community had their own strategic interests. Iran wanted Iraq either neutralized or turned into a protectorate of Iran. Iraq was Iran's historical enemy, and the American problems in Iraq gave the Iranians the opportunity they needed to redefine the geopolitical status of Iraq — a fundamental national interest for Iran.
The Iranians were more concerned with pursuing their national interests than their ideological and religious principles. They were confronted with the choice of siding with their Islamic — albeit Sunni — brothers and driving the United States out of Iraq, or siding with the United States against the Sunnis. They decided to side with the United States. Their national interest superseded their religious interests, or possibly they felt so estranged from the Sunnis that they did not see a common religious bond. Either way, the Iranians decided it was in their interest not to drive the Americans out.
In the broader Islamic context, Iran is aligning with the United States. This makes the U.S. position in the region impregnable — or as close to it as possible. It also means that Saudi Arabia, some of whose key subjects had been instrumental in financing al Qaeda without significant interference from the Saudi state, is now in very deep trouble. Regardless of antipathy between the jihadists, including al Qaeda, and the Saudi government, Saudi Arabia's problems affect them.
If the Islamic world is going to be torn by Sunni-Shiite strife, then it needs to be remembered that, while the Shia are a small minority in the Islamic world taken as a whole, they are a powerful force — and represent the majority population — in the Persian Gulf. For example, the Saudi oil fields are in a Shiite-dominated region of Saudi Arabia. The entente between the United States and Iran makes Iran enormously powerful in the Persian Gulf region, both as the most powerful indigenous military force and because of its ties to Shia throughout the region. As Iranian domination of Iraq increases through a Shiite government there, Saudi vulnerability increases dramatically.
In any generalized conflict between Sunnis and Shia, the Saudis are vulnerable to both direct military action from Iran and indirect subversion from their own Shiite population. Facing an internal challenge from jihadists, the Saudis can quickly find themselves trapped between the conservatives and the Iranian-backed Shia. The conservatives might decide that the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia is of less importance than the purification of the House of Saud, while the Iranians might view the rise of a more extremist government in Riyadh as worth the price of dominating Saudi oil fields. In other words, the Sunni-Shiite confrontation could dramatically redraw the map of the region.
The United States is, of course, the catalyst for all of this. Its original intention was the unilateral governance of Iraq. The guerrilla war created a dependency on the Shiites — and on Iran — that runs counter to the original plan. At the same time, the Iranian decision to underwrite U.S. presence in Iraq in exchange for a long-term strategic advantage did more than simply save the day for the Americans. It set in motion a potential conflict between Sunnis and Shia that has two possible benefits. The first is to divert the attention of jihadists from the United States to the Shia. The second is to increase pressure on Saudi Arabia even further, forcing the Saudis to look again to the United States as the guarantor of their national security.
Obviously, neither Sunnis nor Shia want the United States to reap the rewards of their conflict. Sunni and Shiite leaders in Iraq have worked vigorously in the past few days to present a united front against al-Zarqawi. In the broader war, a letter from al Qaeda, which appears to be authentic, stated that al Qaeda was neither involved in the bombings of Shia in Iraq, nor did it approve of them. On the other hand, the letter did refer to the Shia as infidels, which drives home the point: Al Qaeda does not want to benefit the United States, but its hostility toward the Shia runs deep. A confrontation with the Shia, in the end, could prove irresistible.
We have long discussed the growing U.S.-Iranian entente. Now that it is here, it has generated the inevitable jihadist response. The most important question in the next few weeks will be whether the jihadist attacks on the Shia in Iraq — and elsewhere, such as in Pakistan and Lebanon — will resonate among the Sunni masses. At the moment, it does not seem to be working, but the situation is volatile. Moreover, the Sunnis in Iraq might not respond, but if Sunnis in other countries do respond and begin attacking Shia, the conflict could spread dramatically and quickly.
The U.S. Dilemma
There are two problems for the United States. The first is that its dependency on the Iranians and the Shia could rapidly trap them in unpleasant ways. The United States could quickly become hostage to Iranian geopolitical dreams. Second, it follows that the United States must work quickly to establish a balance of power in the region. The traditional balance is between Iran and Iraq. Whatever was promised Iran, if the Iraqi Shia can be convinced that they have a national interest separate from their religious interests, Iraq could become a counterweight. There is tension between An Najaf, the seat of Iraqi Shia, and Qom, Iran's religious capital. It is not clear that that tension is enough to hang a strategy on, but the United States must find a way to contain Iranian ambitions before the solution becomes the problem.
If the United States is going to be the counterweight, then it needs a geographical base to build on. Iraq can serve as a base only if there is a broader regional framework into which it is integrated. That means that two countries become vital to the United States again: Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The Turks, in the end, have too many common interests with the United States not to cooperate. It is the Saudis who become the real focus of attention.
The Saudis have consistently miscalculated since Sept. 11. As a result, they are moving into their worst nightmare: a domestic insurrection, rising Shiite power and a hostile United States. From the standpoint of Riyadh, things can't get much worse. The Saudis have three choices. They can ally with the jihadists, and face the United States and Iran together — not a good idea. They can try to make a deal with Iran and face the jihadists and the Americans — an even worse idea. Or they can turn back to the United States and use American power to crush the jihadists at home and serve as a shield against Iran — not a great choice, but the best of a bad lot. It is the choice they will have to make.
That will mean the Saudis not only will shut down all financial support for al Qaeda, but also will give the United States direct access to Saudi intelligence files — without exception — and access to Saudi nationals who are working with al Qaeda. That will be the American price for any deal. If the Saudis make that deal, al Qaeda will become much more visible to the United States globally. It will mean the United States is likely to be in a position to liquidate al Qaeda.
In the end, the United States can turn lemons into lemonade. Having miscalculated on the guerrilla war and having been forced to rely on the Shia and the Iranians, the United States — if it is both nimble and implacable — can wind up running the table. We are in a new phase of the war, and eyes are now turning back to the original target: Saudi Arabia.
Рецидивист под пристальным оком спецнадзора.
(для трижды уважаемой администрации: всё вышесказанное--сугубо моё личное скромное субьективное ХО, ни в коей мере не претендуещее на правду в последней инстанции, и основанное исключительно на моем индивидуальном восприятии.)