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Archive for May, 2007

In the coming months. Hopefully I will be proved wrong, because these also mean a lot of dead people as well as a steadily worsening situation in the region overall.

By September, violence will continue at a slightly lower level, but still endemic. Basic services will not be restored, and government capacity will remain stagnant and in decline.

Iraqi political reconciliation will not be any further along. There may be a symbolic victory or two like the passage of an oil law, but this will get bogged down in recriminations between competing factions. The Sunnis, who largely remain unrepresented in any significant way, will still be furious. They will also become increasingly divided as tribes and allied insurgents war against AQ’s Islamic State in Iraq, with the former funded and increasingly influenced by Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Sectarian divisions will be worse, not better. Divisions between the Shia factions will also worsen and become more violent in preparation for a final test of strength. Sadr and SIIC clashes will increase. Fadhila will lose Basra to Sadr.

The insurgency’s heartland will move north, away from Anbar province and Diyala to Tamim, Ninawa, and Salahuddin, also remain hot around Babil and Baghdad.

The Republican Party will increasingly abandon Bush and move towards embracing the Baker-Hamilton plan. A drawdown of troops will become popular, with a move towards the advisory model predicated within and away from active combat by U.S. main force units. Reasons why this is a bad idea are listed here by CSIS’ Anthony Cordesman.

American popularity and political influence in the Middle East will continue to sink until a new administration is elected.

All this goes out the window, though, if any of the below things happen:
1) American or Israeli airstrikes against Iran
2) Major terrorist attack in Turkey that sparks a Turkish military invasion of northern Iraq
3) Major terrorist attack in the United States
4) Death of Ayatollah al-Sistani
5) Death of Muqtada al-Sadr

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