Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Tony's Iraq nightmare will get worse if he pulls out

Apparently this is Depression Week - an appropriate state of mind fo Tony Blair if he has been reading the interview with Zalmay Khalilzad, the Muslim, former Afghani US ambassador to Baghdad. Blair has been pilloried mercilessly over the decision to invade Iraq but has not yet come under comparable fire to withdraw from the whole supporating mess. In fact Old Dubya has probably come under more pressure to perform that particular manoeuvre. But if he or Tony are ever tempted to sigh, spread their hands and say: 'Aw shucks, we gave it our best shot, lets pull out now', they should digest Zalmay's warnings of the three possible scenarios which might transpire as a result.

1. 'Sectarian conflict could escalate and produce circumstnces in which regional states could be sucked in on one side or the other.' Iran, would appear to be already 'sucked in' or at the very least, in the process of being so.

2. Al Quaida might take over part of Iraq and create a 'mini-Talibanistan' able to utilise Iraq's resources to create much more chaos than Bin Laden's original powerbase in Afghanistan.

3. Iraq might implode in a sectarian war with the Kurds saying 'look we'd better look after ourselves'. If this led to the seizing of oil-rich Kirkuk, Turkey might be drawn in and we're already in scenario one.

This slighly desperate damage limitation approach-'stay with it or it'll get a whole lot worse'- is all so far away from those naive expectations that Iraqis would garland US-UK 'liberators' with gratitude; that Iraq would become a beacon of democratic hope in the Middle East; that terrorism would be dealt a stunning blow; and that... yes, just maybe... Blair and Bush's fight against Islamic terorism would go down in history as the modern day equivalent of Churchill and Roosevelt's defence of civilisation against the threat of Nazi barbarianism.

All those dreams have withered on the vine and, if Zalmay has anything to do with it, Tony(and then Gordon) along with George's successor(s?) we'll be counting the dead for years to come, with no sign of respite or success. If I were Tony I'd order a bumper bottle of Prozac for this week and an indefinite number to come.

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