Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Big Stick Diplomacy

In Iraq, "You don't go from bad to good. You go from bad to less bad," Gen. David Petraeus is quoted today in a WSJ interview. Syria's involvement in the Iraq war is one example of "less bad," as the Syrians seem to be getting a message:
Another factor [in the improving situation in Iraq], he said, has been unexpected, "robust" measures by Syria to reduce the number of foreign militants crossing into Iraq to carry out suicide attacks. Gen. Petraeus estimated that the number of foreign fighters coming into Iraq through Syria has fallen by at least one-third.
"Unexpected" and "robust" seem not to go together. For Syria to robustly alter their policy on the Iraq border, there must have been some discussions that would make the unexpected more expected. There's no further hints in the article.

Over on the other border, guarded hope was expressed by Petraeus:

Gen. Petraeus said the U.S. hasn't found any large-scale caches of EFPs since the Iranian-Iraqi accord was announced several weeks ago. But he said it was too soon to tell how much credit, if any, Iran deserved for the recent falloff in EFP attacks.

Iran made "unequivocal pledges to stop the funding, training, arming and directing of militia extremists in Iraq," he said. "It will be hugely significant if that's the case.

"Having said that, there is very much a wait-and-see attitude by everyone involved to see if Iran will live up to those commitments," Gen. Petraeus said.

I would have liked to see Petraeus' reaction to this idea by Steve Forbes:

As a matter of fact, we should conduct in-and-out military strikes against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. These corrupt thugs are the praetorian guards of the fanatics running Iran these days. Iran is the biggest funder and trainer of terrorist organizations in the world. Now that we're getting it right in Iraq--fighting the insurgents neighborhood by neighborhood and not allowing the rebels any internal sanctuary--a cross-border policy would bear rich military harvests.

If this were policy, the Iranian regime could be humiliated without our having to engage in a formal occupation or use air strikes against its atomic facilities. Such an approach might fatally weaken the regime by emboldening antiregime forces to forcefully act.

Currently the mullahs' security police are too pervasive and too ruthless for peaceful insurgents to be able to oust the mullahs the way Solidarity ousted Poland's communist government in the late 1980s. But strikes across the border would give the Iranian army a powerful incentive to strike at its hated government.

Seems like an idea worth trying. A little probe and punch here and there, circumspect, justifiable, intimidating. What do you think, General?

Labels: , , ,