"As evidence of success mounts, skeptics often say that while military operations have gone well, there is still no sign of political movement to bind up the bloody wounds in the Iraqi body politic. Recent events suggest otherwise. Just a few days ago, Ammar al-Hakim, the son of and presumed successor to the country’s most important Shiite political leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, went to Anbar’s capital, Ramadi, to meet with Sunni sheikhs. The act, and his words, were amazing."
Actual Middle East expert Marc Lynch, several days earlier:
"What these reports for some odd reason neglect to add is that [Amar al-Hakim's] mission was an utter failure. As al-Hayat reports today, the Anbar Salvation Council absolutely and completely rejected the idea of federalism, both in general and in all of its details. Al-Hayat quotes SIIC leaders saying that they will take this as a "maybe."
While Amar's decision to travel to Anbar was certainly interesting and well worth attention, their forceful rejection of his initiative would seem to be at least as newsworthy. Arab media coverage (unlike most of the American media coverage I saw) typically mentioned that the Shia figures came to Anbar under heavy American military protection - a sensible precaution, if true, but one which would cut against the current carefully cultivated image of Anbar as a newly peaceful safe haven."
Yes, that would seem relevant. If one were interested in honestly appraising the situation.
Later on in the same piece, Ledeen writes:
"[Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno] know that Iran and Syria still have a free shot at us across long borders, and Gen. Petraeus told Congress last month that it would not be possible to win in Iraq if our mission were restricted to that country.
Not a day goes by without one of our commanders shouting to the four winds that the Iranians are operating all over Iraq, and that virtually all the suicide terrorists are foreigners, sent in from Syria. We have done great damage to their forces on the battlefield, but they can always escalate, and we still have no policy to direct against the terror masters in Damascus and Tehran. That problem is not going to be resolved by sound counterinsurgency strategy alone, no matter how brilliantly executed."
You'll notice here that Ledeen doesn't explicitly call for expanding the Iraq war to include Iran and Syria. He just very clearly states the opinion that we will not win in Iraq without expanding the war to include Iran and Syria. I expect that, just as he did in regard to the Iraq invasion, after the invasion of Iran and/or Syria has succeeded in further "cauldronizing" the Middle East, Ledeen will insist that he actually opposed those invasions. Because they were done all wrong. Because they didn't take place on a Tuesday, as he had suggested.
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