The Corner

Frum’s Thoughts

I just read David Frum’s post from yesterday, “Iraq: New Plan Wanted.” It’s sobering and important. Our position in Iraq is weakening. Given our internal divisions and the ongoing troop draw-down, the outcome is in doubt, although David notes that a relatively stable second-best outcome is possible. As our position in Iraq weakens and Iran’s strengthens, the Iranians flex their muscles in the region as a whole. This provokes an Israeli reaction, with tacit American assistance. With an Iranian-led Shiite alliance on the rise regionally, the Shiite-Sunni rift is accentuated throughout the region, which serves as a check on Iranian-Shiite power. That in turn suggests that Frum’s “second best” plan may work, and become part of a larger, regional Shiite-Sunni standoff. The Sunnis, in such a scenario, would tacitly agree to keep al-Qaeda out of a quasi-independent Sunni Iraq, and the region as a whole, in return for U.S. cooperation against a rising Shiite wave. But what happens when Iran gets the bomb? Meantime, al-Qaeda, seeing the danger that the U.S. may use the emerging Shiite-Sunni rift to freeze it out, has today tried to inject itself into the mix.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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