Thursday, December 07, 2006

2nd-tier Dept of Failed States

The real reason we need to get beyond Iraq is the future looming international-terrorist nexus that will be sub-Saharan Africa. Read this story on African Peacekeeping Troops possibly in Somalia, opposed (surprise surprise) by Islamists in the south--who are also trying to provoke a war with Ethiopia on the side.

If the US tries to return to a realist or isolationist or even a Powell Doctrine type policy, which will be seductive and certainly should temper interventions, occupations, invasions, all over the place, it won't work.

The fight in the Long War is headed south. We still have no structure ready to handle the fight we are actually in. Wesley Clark is talking about such a structure, whcih Barnett has been calling for going on three years now.

Bringing Iran and Syra in on Iraq is not really about Iraq but about starting the real dialogue which is between Iran and Saudi Arabia about the new balance of power/forces in the Middle East. The Sunni regimes are going to have to live with a Shia Iraq. Turkey with some modified form of Kurdish independence--they already are, the Russians have setup diplomatic show in Kurdistan.

North Korea is the only nation that stands in the way of Far East NATO creation.

Afghanistan presents a problem for SouthAsia and continues to exacerbate Pakistani-Indian Relations. This week, Musharraf announced he would give up Pakistan's right to Kashmir (disputed territory with India) on condition that India allows self-governance for the region.

But Pakistan is essentially at de facto non-interference/help with the Taliban. This is pushing Karzai's government closer to India and Iran--Pakistan's two greatest enemies.

But after all that, security is the major question coming forward for sub-Saharan Africa. It is the most disconnected economically and therefore manifests the most diseases of disconnection: AIDS, child soldiers, civil wars/tribal violence.

China is investing heavily in sub-Saharan Africa and the US has to deal with China only because they have beaten us to the ground there and any future peace for Africa now runs through Beijing. This century will see the rise/fall of Africa as was the big push for modernization in SE Asia and Latin America during the 90s.

Chavez in Venezeula, Morales in Ecuador represent the only disconnect in Latin America: the Andean middle. Caribbean countries disconnected: Haiti comes to mind (surprise we intervened unsuccesfully twice there?). And Cuba thanks to our useless embargo which has managed to preserve Castro more than anything else.

al-Qaeda and Salafi Jihadism will be more strongly represented by Africans in the next century. Remember bin Laden when exiled from Saudi Arabia before finding haven with the Taliban, lived in the Sudan (hence the bombing of the African embassies and the attack on the Cole).

Right now, Somalia, Nigeria, and Sudan are the launching pads for Islamist revolution in s-s Africa. Those countries are the upper band just south of the Saharan (separating North Africa historically more connected to the Mediterranean/Near Eastern complex) from deep southern Africa, which tends to be more Christian.

The places where those two religions connect is where the violence is most pronounced: Sudans Civil War and now Muslim-Muslim violence in Darfur (again see the Middle East for this); Nigeria's North which has strongly sharia Law and its Southern Christian/animist south have seen sporadic violence. Ethiopia Christian historically, Somalia Muslim.

Remember Black Hawk Down. This is what happens when we don't have a force capacity to deal with the fact that we are going to be in these places. How long, how many, which ones, will certainly depend on domestic politics, but it is going to happen.

We do not have the Army that can deal with the open-source warfare of the jihadis ("green" cognitively, hence the need for a "yellow/turquoise" institution to overcome them). So the arguments about staying or not staying in Iraq are all partial ones. Even if we stay another 10 years, which is I think what will happen, at least 40-50,000 troops worth for that time, if we continue to build the Iraqi Army based on the US Army, it just isn't going to happen.

And speeding up the training process, a la Baker-Hamilton, is only really about speeding up the degree to which the Shia solidify their power. Lost in all the debate on the right (Weekly Standard, National Review, especially) is that the Iraqi Army is a Shia and Kurdish force. It is not a national force. National only in the sense that the Shia--see Abdul Aziz al Hakim's recent statements against a regional conference and PM Maliki's push to own the army and his claims he can defeat the insurgency within a year (massive blood letting in other words)--own the Army and Police.

The administration has taken the line that the police (interior ministry) is infiltrated by death squads but the Army is non-partisan. There are not the death squads in the Army to the degree there are in the Police, that's probably true, but the Army is a national force again only in the sense that they are now fighting for a united Shia Iraq. Elements of the State Department realize this and there is currently an intra-administration fight between State and Defense over precisely this point: admitting that our lot has to go in with the Shia.

Which means using whatever little diplomatic leverage the US has left with the Sunni regimes of Jordan-Saudi Arabia-Egypt to get them on board with this. All of which again points to finalizing US-Iranian relations.

Once that is over then the US has to set its sights on Africa. anti-liberal movements arise in the dislocation of modernity. Modernity is coming to s-s Africa, faster than we think and hence the push back will occur faster than we think as well.

The US, China, and India will be the countries to help bring peace to that region. The sooner those three get together to co-ordinate the best methods (Chinese technocrats, US logistics, and Indian force numbers?), the better.


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