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The Plan

By Matthew Yglesias on December 12, 2006 at 10:52 pm

"The Plan"

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Josh Marshall observes:

Another point, and one I’m not sure is widely appreciated. The folks who brought you the Iraq War have always been weak in the knees for a really whacked-out vision of a Shi’a-US alliance in the Middle East. I used to talk to a lot of these folks before I became persona non grata. So here’s basically how the theory went and, I don’t doubt, still goes … We hate the Saudis and the Egyptians and all the rest of the standing Arab governments. But the Iraqi Shi’a were oppressed by Saddam. So they’ll like us. So we’ll set them up in control of Iraq. You might think that would empower the Iranians. But not really. The mullahs aren’t very powerful. And once the Iraqi Shi’a have a good thing going with us. The Iranians are going to want to get in on that too. So you’ll see a new government in Tehran. Plus, big parts of northern Saudi Arabia are Shi’a too. And that’s where a lot of the oil is. So they’ll probably want to break off and set up their own pro-US Shi’a state with tons of oil. So before you know it, we’ll have Iraq, Iran, and a big chunk of Saudi Arabia that is friendly to the US and has a ton of oil. And once that happens we can tell the Saudis to f$#% themselves once and for all.

Now, you might think this involves a fair amount of wishful and delusional thinking. But this was the thinking of a lot of neocons going into the war.

Of course, it goes beyond this. With a new regime in Teheran, Hezbollah was suddenly going to become impotent in Lebanon, leading to the setup of a pro-American, anti-Syrian government there. Then with its grip on Lebanon lost, Syria would be the next domino to fall. At which point, everything would be awesome.

Now that’s crazy, but pay attention to the really crazy part. Even if all of that happened what would it accomplish? This was all supposed to be part of the master plan to beat al-Qaeda, but even if the plan worked it . . . wouldn’t have done anything to damage al-Qaeda. Thank God for the grownups.

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