Thursday, June 23, 2005

I Smell a Grenade

We're focusing a lot of attention on what the Syrians are doing to support the ratlines from Syria down to Baghdad in support of the jihadis.

As much as this front is causing casualties, I don't think it has a chance of beating our side. I'm worried about what Iran is up to in Iraq.

Earlier, I wrote that I thought the Syrians were stabbing the Baathists in the back in order to escape from their support of the insurgents against American and Iraqi forces.

Now that doesn't seem very likely at all. It seems clear now that the Syrians did not choose to stay out of Iraq but instead decided to support the Islamists exclusively instead of the Baathists.

Could this be a product of the Syrian-Iranian alliance announced shortly after the Iraq election? Did the Iranians demand that the Syrians stop supporting the hated Baathists as the price for Iran's help to keep the Damascus regime alive by defeating America in Iraq?

Yet the alliance has been quiet. I've read nothing the last several months about it. I may be overly nervous, but are the Iranians planning their own Battle of the Bulge offensive in Iraq? Not an invasion, but an uprising of al Sadr or some other compliant Iraqi Shia supported by lots of Iranian agents infiltrated to Iraq to pose as Shia Iraqis?

And perhaps the Syrian troop withdrawal from Lebanon—a move that shocked me given the importance of Lebanon to Syria's survival—is just buying time for something to happen to save them. Perhaps the Iranian alliance is what Damascus is counting on.

I've been waiting for some insurgent al Tet offensive for a while now. I think we are on the path to victory and I think that our enemies know this even if it goes unrecognized here by a lot of people. If I was commanding the enemy, I'd gather my forces to try and reverse the fortunes of war. And since our enemies are no shrinking violets, I expect some offensive to try to sap our home front morale which is showing signs of weakening.

Perhaps what has been going on with the surge of car bombings is the actual offensive, but I think that Iran will take a stab at defeating us. Perhaps this surge of violence is just setting the stage for the real blow. Get us looking west to Syria and then hit us from the east.

And perhaps the Iranians are worried about other timetables that would make an offensive in Iraq worth the risk. First, our Strategic Petroleum Reserve is filling up. So the Iranians are probably aware that we'll be in a stronger position to deal with Iran when the SPR is full. Plus, the Russians will deliver nuclear fuel in a few months. Once the fuel is inside Iran it gets more difficult to strike Iran to cripple their nuclear program without risking nuclear contamination and civilian deaths. Getting us too busy fighting inside Iraq might give the mullahs the time they need to become strike-proof.

Our enemies are playing to win. Are we? Hold your breath, people. This isn't over, I fear.