Ahmadinejad, Sadr and Asad demand US Withdrawal from Iraq

Washington's opponents in the Middle East are becoming more strident in their demands that the US withdraw its troops from Iraq quickly and completely. This is the starting point for bargaining over the future of Iraq. Due to the rapidly deteriorating conditions of Iraq's civil war, they believe that Washington will have little choice but to withdraw, whether or not it decides to engage in discussions with Iran and Syria. They undoubtedly fear that Washington will decide to reposition its troops into Kurdistan or to abandon Iraq to civil war, while keeping troops in isolated bases inside Arab Iraq in order to influence the outcome of future fighting in the region. Should Washington decide on a strategy of redeployment before stabilization, it could doom Iraq to prolonged civil war and act to prevent a pax-Irania from settling over the divided country. This question is at the heart of the neocon-realist debate now raging in Washington.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that he was ready to help [the US]– if they left now: "The Iranian nation is ready to help you get out of that swamp on one condition … You should pledge to correct your attitude," he said on television.

"Go back, and take your forces to behind your borders."

Muqtada al-Sadr wants an immediate U.S. withdrawal and has threatened to boycott the government if Maliki meets Bush.

Issa Darwish, a writer and former deputy foreign minister, said: "Syria won't be bitten from the same hole twice," referring to a widespread Syrian feeling that it got nothing in return from the U.S. after it agreed to participate in the earlier 1991 Gulf war to push then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.

"Why should Syria help the Americans to leave Iraq in honor (this time), if they are not ready to reciprocate?" he asked in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

Overall, political dialogue with Washington would be good for Syria, said Aymen Abdel Nour, a political analyst linked to the reform wing of the ruling Baath party in Damascus.

But he also warned it would come at a high price: Damascus would certainly demand that Washington help Assad regain the Golan Heights from Israel, stop efforts to isolate his regime and also put an end to attempts to implicate Syria in Hariri's death.

"Syria is talking about a package _ you either take or leave it," Abdel Nour said. He acknowledged, however, that this "might be difficult for the Bush administration to swallow."

Comments (7)

Akbar Palace said:

The cute Iranian anti-semite proposes:

“The Iranian nation is ready to help you get out of that swamp on one condition … You should pledge to correct your attitude,” he said on television.”

Translating this into English:

“Allow us to terrorize the Middle East now that the Iraqi terrorist is out of the way.”

November 27th, 2006, 7:24 pm


Rancher said:

Kinda late, we’re half way out the door. Cut and run will happen, the elections guaranteed it. So why the hell are we going to suck up to those who did their best to make this happen? So we can put lipstick on this pig? We lost, not because we were defeated but because it was too difficult. Let’s give peace a chance; after all, it’s those that trusted us that will pay the price. My only hope is that we don’t abandon the Kurds, but why should they be any different?

November 28th, 2006, 12:46 am


Akbar Palace said:

“We lost, not because we were defeated but because it was too difficult.”

Rancher –

And we and the West will continue to lose until people like you decide Iran and radical Islam have just killed too many people, bombed too many trains, and toppled too many skyscrapers.

You want “difficult”? Don’t hold your breath…

November 28th, 2006, 12:53 am


Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. said:

Professor Landis analysis and the quotes he cites are interesting, for the following reasons: one) while everyone is in favor [except for some, diminishing band of neo-cons in the Bush regime like Elliott Abrams], of ‘dialogue with Syria and
Persia [Iran], the content of that dialogue is vague in the extreme. Once the specifics of what
may come of a dialogue, any dialogue, with the above two regimes, than the emptiness of ‘dialogue’ as the solution to the American mess in Iraq becomes apparent; make no mistake, I am solidly of the opinion that current American policy vis-`a-vis both powers is a mistaken one. However, that does not mean, that either power will be able to ‘help’ the USA out of its current debacle in Iraq. Due less to any ill will by either power (although there is much of both), but, due to the fact that the fighting in Iraq has
internal causes, and neither Syria or Persia is the puppet master who can magically stop the fighting. That is I think the ultimate illusion. One only need remember a little history: did the Syrian intervention in the Lebanese civil war in 1976, which had both Israeli and American agreement (admittedly de facto no de jure), stop said civil war? No it did not. Due to the fact that said civil war had internal causes which had to be played out, before all sides were exhausted enough to agree to a peace deal negotiated in 1989.

Two, the Syrian contention that they helped out the USA in 1990, is a bit of a mistaken view of history: the Syrian Baathist regime was and had been for ages, at daggers drawn with the regime in Baghdad. Hence its support of Persia during the latter’s war with Iraq. If Baker used persuasion to get Syria to come aboard, he did not have to use much. This is a bit of historical
fiction equivalent to Michael Young’s recent contention in the 16th November Daily Star that Baker and Bush the Elder sold Lebanon down the river as Assad’s pay-off for coming aboard the Coalition against Iraq in 1990. See: http://www.dailystar.com.lb

Three and last: if the USA were to quit Iraq, it seems probable that they would just reposition their forces in Kurdistan and Kuwait, as well as some of the desert locations on the periphery of Iraq. Insofar as the Kurds and what passes for the
Iraq government in Baghdad, agree to said re-deployment, than under International Law, there is nothing to gainsay such a redeployment. It is also probably that most of the Sunni Arab governments in the region, particularly in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia and Jordan would welcome such a move. In fact, it seems probable that any
‘move out of Iraq’, will involve such a maneuver
by the USA. As per today’s NYTimes, that will probably be one of the recommendations of the Baker headed, Iraq Study Group. See: http://www.nytimes.com. Whether or not, such a redeployment will be better or not for stability in the area, no one can say. The more likely end result of such a redeoployment will be that the sectarian nature of the fighting in Iraq will become quite apparent, and, the anti-American aspect of the same will sink quickly into the sands of the country…

November 28th, 2006, 1:45 am


Akbar Palace said:

Dear Dr. Coutinho,

If I may summerize your post, basically the terror enabling regimes of Iran and Syria can not be trusted.

Leave the neocons alone, and prepare for the “long haul”.

November 28th, 2006, 3:23 am


why-discuss said:

Akbar Palace

Radical islam is not Iran, it is our dear wahhabi regime of Saudi Arabia who has expanded into Pakistan and other sunni countries spreading their fanatic teachings in funded meddresa and breeding radicalism and terrorists: Not a single iranian has been pinned as a terrorist while most of 9/11 were Saudis sunnis, so please give me a break

November 28th, 2006, 5:16 am


Akbar Palace said:


Radical Islam is not Iran? Please. Who do you think you’re talking to? Radical Islam is all of the above. The “Islamic Republic of Iran” is just as much a theocracy as Saudi Arabia, except that Saudi Arabia doesn’t threaten to destroy Israel and the West, doesn’t delve into nuclear proliferation, and doesn’t arm terrorist organizations. Yes, they both fund the fundies to the teeth.

The Middle East is exploding. Either from Islamic Fundamentalism, the lack of freedom, or both.

Naturally, most of the world didn’t mind if regimes like this oppress and kill their own people, but when skyscrapers start falling, it’s time for a change.

Speaking with the same old rotting and terror-enabling regimes will not only prolong the problem, in today’s world, it will exasperate it.

November 28th, 2006, 1:19 pm


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