Amir Taheri has the story
(link via Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi email).
What do the Iraqi guerilla forces expect?
The assumption is that America will cut and run.
Salafist groups linked to al Qaeda believe that this will mean a stampede of those Iraqis who worked with the Americans. Iraq's Shiite leaders would flee to Iran, where most had been in exile before Saddam Hussein's fall. Kurdish political and business elites will flee to the three provinces they have held since 1991. This would enable the Salafists, in alliance with the remnants of Saddam Hussein's Presidential Guards, to enter Baghdad and seize power.
Absent in that calculation is the role Iran might play: Will the mullahs sit back as Salafists and Saddamites lay the foundations of a new Arab regime that would turn against Shiite-dominated Iran?
Radical Shiites have their own vision of Iraq after the Americans have fled. They believe that, backed by Iran, they'll be able to move into the four Arab Sunni provinces that have been restive since 2004 - and crush the Saddamites and al Qaeda. This ignores the certainty that any Iranian intervention in Iraq will provoke a massive Arab reaction - with Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Syria (now an Iranian ally) forced to back Sunni Arabs in Iraq.
In other words, any hasty American withdrawal from Iraq could lead to either a long and bloody civil war or an even longer and bloodier regional conflict.
Radical circles are unanimous in their belief that Iran can now proceed with its nuclear program without fear of U.S. and allied retaliation. They expect Democrats to revert to Clinton-era policy and seek a "Grand Bargain" with the Islamic Republic - acknowledging Iran as the major regional power and recognizing its right to the full cycle of nuclear technology.
And Palestinian terrorists?
Radical Islamists in both Iran and the Arab countries believe that the Democrats' victory indicates "growing American lassitude." They believe that, once it becomes clear that Americans don't want to fight for the Middle East, many in Israel would emigrate to America and Europe to escape the constant daily pressure from Islamist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.
Taheri hopes that soem antiwar Democrats will wise up to the obvious:
The mullahs and al Qaeda may soon find out that their celebration of "the end of Bush" was premature. Some Democrats may have promised cut-and-run. But, once in power, the party as a whole may realize (to its horror) that, this time, those from whom Americans run away will come after them.
Remember, they attacked us long before the US-led coalition presence in Iraq. The war won't be over until one side wins. Retreat only makes Islamofascism stronger.
Labels: Foreign policy