Thursday, August 19, 2004

Geopolitics: Peshmerga in Imam Ali Shrine?

Several things have been running through the back of oldman's mind. The consolidation of the two major Kurdish party into the five party majority government formed in the Iraqi National Assembly meeting. The Iraqi National Accord whose man in power is Allawi joining forces with the Kurds, and the sudden bellicose rhetoric from him afterwards. The ordering out of journalists from Najaf. Why do it if you're going to storm the Imam Ali Shrine using Iraqi troops? The journalists can be witnesses to show that you're not sending American troops in. It only makes sense under two circumstances. That you're going to either send in American troops and want to lie about, or you really are going to send in Iraqi troops but you're going to use Peshmergas.

Of course televised pictures of Kurds sacking the Imam Ali shrine is going to create the ethnic civil war that everyone's so afraid of in Iraq. Even if the pictures don't get out, Iraqis and Iranians may believe that Americans have stormed the Shrine complex anyway. Iran is moving toward escalation because it feels there is no reasonable chance that it can avert war anyway, and would rather engage on its own terms.

This is one of the dangerous aspects of escalation, at any time somebody can decide there is no more point to attempting to avert conflict and decide to strike the first blow.

More economic big-think forth coming. What on? California, what it means for trends in American economics, and why we're already moving toward a consumption taxed society whether we like the idea or not.