Saturday, August 09, 2008

Russia/Georgia conflict and the Iraq War

Juan Cole points to yet another reason that entangling ourselves in a protracted war in Iraq has been a huge blunder in his Informed Comment post of 08/09/08:

In the wake of the outbreak of the Russian-Georgian War over Ossetia, Georgia wants to withdraw the 2,000 troops it has in Iraq. These troops appear to have been based in Diyala or Wasit provinces, where they have been preventing Shiite militiamen from smuggling arms in from Iran. Although the US military is playing down the impact of their withdrawal, it seems to me significant. The Iraqi army certainly could not be counted on to take up their work, since so much of it was recruited from Shiite militias. The US would have to divert 2,000 men to this dangerous task (and it is intrinsically dangerous to have US troops directly on the Iranian border). The Georgians beefed up their presence because they are trying to join NATO; from a Russian point of view this development is highly undesirable, which is part of the point of the fighting over Ossetia.

All this is not to mention that a US airlift of 2000 Georgian troops to fight Russian ones at this juncture does not look friendly to Moscow. (my emphasis)
Someone tell me again why being the rogue superpower is supposed to be such a great thing for the United States.

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