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This is from an invesment newsletter quoting Stratfor.com (as in Strategic Force, not the guy from "upon Avon"). Sorry but it requires a paid subscription.
"My good friend George Friedman, the President of Stratfor.com, has posted a very insightful essay on the dilemma facing the U.S. on the situation in Iraq. Contrary to many of the conflicting assessments by politically motivated pundits, each with their own agendas, that are put forth as "analysis," Stratfor provides reality based in-depth and logical analysis. Again, if you are in the business of managing money (someone else's or your own) where an eye to what is happening in the world is critical, or you are a student of geo-politics, or both, I strongly suggest that you stay up-to-date on the geopolitical landscape as it can have broad implications for both investment and political decision making.
"As I have said in the past, Stratfor is my main and favorite source for geo-political news and analysis. They have often been referred to in the mainstream press as a 'private CIA,' but I would say in Stratfor's defense that they seem to be more right than their government counterpart."
"When we look back through Iranian eyes, we can now see what they saw: a golden opportunity to deal the United States a blow, redefine the geopolitics of the Persian Gulf and reposition the Shia in the Muslim world. Iran had, for example, been revivifying Hezbollah in Lebanon for several months. We had seen this as a routine response to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. It is now apparent, however, that it was part of a two-pronged offensive.
"First, in Iraq, the Iranians encouraged a variety of factions to both resist the newly formed government and to strike out against the Sunnis. This created an uncontainable cycle of violence that rendered the Iraqi government impotent and the Americans irrelevant. The tempo of operations was now in the hands of those Shiite groups among which the Iranians had extensive influence -- and this included some of the leading Shiite parties, such as SCIRI.
"Second, in Lebanon, Iran encouraged Hezbollah to launch an offensive. There is debate over whether the Israelis or Hezbollah ignited the conflict in Lebanon. Part of this is ideological gibberish, but part of it concerns intention. It is clear that Hezbollah was fully deployed for combat. Its positions were manned in the south, and its rockets were ready. The capture of two Israeli soldiers was intended to trigger Israeli airstrikes, which were as predictable as sunrise, and Hezbollah was ready to fire on Haifa. Once Haifa was hit, Israel floundered in trying to deploy troops (the Golani and Givati brigades were in the south, near Gaza). This would not have been the case if the Israelis had planned for war with Hezbollah. Now, this discussion has nothing to do with who to blame for what. It has everything to do with the fact that Hezbollah was ready to fight, triggered the fight, and came out ahead because it wasn't defeated.
"The end result is that, suddenly, the Iranians held the whip hand in Iraq, had dealt Israel a psychological blow, had repositioned themselves in the Muslim world and had generally redefined the dynamics of the region. Moreover, they had moved to the threshold of redefining the geopolitics to the Persian Gulf.
"This was by far their most important achievement."
I've been saying since the time of the invasion that the Iranians were more dangerous than Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and here finally is someone else saying the same thing, and backing it up both with intel, but also with an extremely persuasive analysis of what's been going on. It explains the activity of Muqtadr bani Sadr in Iraq as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon.