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February 07, 2006


Fabius Maximus

This article is one of the most frightening I have read in a long time.

Except for the last part. I discount the odds of a general uprising against us. If the Shiite and Kurd leaders want us out, the Gov't can order us out and we're gone.


A slightly longer-range signal: Bob Dylan is in the studio this week, recording a new album, presumably slated for fall release.

His last album (Love and Theft) came out on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

John Robb

My gut is telling me that there will be another attack on the US this year. A couple dirty bombs? NYC, LA, and Washington? It would radically undermine the US creditworthyness (which could create a financial meltdown), send US politics into tumroil, and cause the US to engage in even more international adventurism. In total, a recipe for disaster. 3/11.


Considering that the relatively small-scale and "unprofessional" Sadrist uprising in the summer of 2004 put enormous pressure on the logistics chain from Kuwait, I doubt that it would require a "general" uprising to seriously compromise the US position in Iraq. Good intelligence, good planning, some decent stand-off anti-armour weaponry and MANPADS would make a big difference to the military balance that currently prevails.

Sadr has already stated quite explicitly that any attack on Iran will elicit a violent response, and I'm sure that we can add the Badr brigades, IH and whatever resources the Iranians have pre-positioned for this eventuality into the party mix as well.

FWIW, I would take issue with two of Lind's assumptions in this. Firstly, Israeli policy is, and always has been, to get the US to take military action against Iran. In the end, try to define what "success" would constitute ( in and of itself highly problematic ), and then try to evaluate the conventional military means required to achieve it. Israel cannot use nukes, for example, without wiping out the fairly large Iranian Jewish population in the process - and no Israeli government is going to want to be the largest mass killer of Jews since Hitler.

Secondly, Lind is getting trapped into the "size matters" approach of assuming that AQ must be planning something on the scale of 9/11. I suspect that this is a highly dubious way of defining "success". I don't think anyone would consider the Madrid and London bombings as "failures" because they only caused a few hundred fatalities in total.

Thirdly, I suspect that the Iranians have gamed the invasion scenario - and they couldn't answer the vital question of what happens next without concluding that it entailed a really nasty outcome; I suspect that the same problem bedevils US military planners.

In sum, I think that there is a balance of power which is now in play - remarkable really, but when both sides have the option to make the problem bigger, that's what you get.


The other Iranian option is to invade Western Afghanistan. NATO controls the west and would be a frog in front of a steamroller. It would be interesting to see how the US responds because no US forces would be attacked. Simply a land grab - the Afghan Army has a few garrisons out there.

phil jones

I wonder how this whole "cartoon" business plays out here.

This is turning out to have a greater impact than imagined. (See this for example :
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4692518.stm )

More than 10 people are now dead because of this. If things keep accelerating, there'll be other GG-style, system disruptions aimed at Europe developing over the next couple of months. (Probably from muslims within Europe.) I suspect things have just been taken to the next level there.

(Actually I don't think anything has scared me a much as hearing the people in the islamic street demand that the Danish government "punishes" the newspaper. They really don't accept the separation between government and media do they?)


The Iranians don't need to invade western Afghanistan - they're already there, sitting pretty in Herat, running a lot of cross-border trade.

FWIW, the NATO contingents that are situated there want to coordinate with Iran over border issues, smuggling and the like - but Rumsfeld keeps getting in the way! I suspect that they just do it informally instead.



I just returned from a tour in Afghanistan, and there is widespread Iranian influence in the Herat area as you correctly state.

If I were in the Iranian's position, I'd send a division or two into western Afghanistan to see what the response would be from US forces. Again, there are no US forces in the area, so it would not "cost" much for the Iranians to go in. In fact, the Iranians could even be smart and tell NATO that they will not be attacked and can continue working in Afghanistan as normal.



There's no percentage in doing so - they have a cordial enough relationship with Karzai, the NATO contingents are in a non-hostile posture ( and want to cooperate with Iran ), and their MI contingents can keep an eye on US airbases 24/7; there really isn't a sufficiently credible threat through the Afghan back-door, let alone a high-gain position that can be exploited by them, to make the move worthwhile. Afghanistan is the terminus - not a launch pad.

They've chosen their battleground already - and it's Iraq.


Yes, Dan, the scenario under which Iranian regular forces cross the border is when they move in as we move out "to keep the peace/restore order/uphold the elected (SCIRI) government/protect the Shia from ethnic cleansing".

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