This Week You Need To Know
In response to the James Baker III and Lee Hamilton-directed Iraq Study Group report, President Bush and Vice President Cheney turned to their chickenhawk allies at the American Enterprise Institute to craft a counter-plan, based on the fantasy premise that a "surge" of American troops could secure victory in Iraq before the next Presidential election in November 2008. On Dec. 14, AEI fellow Frederick Kagan released the Institute's utopian scheme, "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq Interim Report." The 52-page power-point presentation, delivered by Kagan at an AEI forum, argued, in effect, that a two-year "surge" of upwards of 50,000 additional U.S. combat soldiers into Baghdad and into the Sunni stronghold al-Anbar Province, would break the back of the resistance and bring peace and stability to Iraq. The AEI document outright rejected the idea at the heart of the Baker-Hamilton study: that the U.S. must negotiate directly with all of Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Syria, and settle the Israel-Palestine conflict, if there is any hope of stabilizing Iraq and withdrawing the American forceswithout having to shoot their way out of the country.
In fact, the Kagan scheme, according to sources familiar with the latest neo-con maneuverings, is premised on the creation of a Sunni bloc of "moderate" states, that will confront Iran and the Shi'ite "extremists" throughout the Persian Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean regionin a de facto alliance with Israel. Unspoken, but underlying the "Choosing Victory" plan, is the ludicrous idea that Saudi Arabia will cut off the flow of funds and weapons to the Sunni insurgents, thus hastening their defeat. The "Sunni bulwark" scheme, which was peddled to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah by Vice President Cheney when he visited Riyadh in late November 2006, just before the release of the Baker-Hamilton report, is premised on an expansion of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), to include Egypt and Jordan; and the buildup of a military alliance between the "GCC-Plus-Two" and NATO....
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