Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Who's Next?

[posted by Callimachus]

John Robb, who writes with some authority, conjures up a vicious future for Saudi Arabia if the U.S. leadership follows through with failure in Iraq:

What should be unsurprising about this announcement is how quickly al Qaeda regenerated since the Kingdom claimed victory against them last year. The bleed over from the chaos of Iraq, both in terms of increasing passions against the government and in terms of skill set transfer, will continue catalyze the spontaneous generation of guerrilla networks. Eventually, a series of significant disruption events will occur and it will sow chaos within Saudi Arabia and harm economies world-wide, although it is very possible these events won't feature the brute force entry featured in the descriptions of the attacks these groups planned. As numerous innovators in the method have shown around the world, indirect attacks on systempunkts of coupled networks (to generate cascading system failure) can often yield the same effect as a direct attack -- think water and electricity infrastructure as well as attacks on domestic Shiites. The clock is ticking down for the Kingdom and fragmentation awaits it.

Combined with Lawrence Wright's recent prediction that Western Europe quickly would come under fire if the U.S. abandons Iraq to the extremists, one gets the notion that those states most willing to see the thing fail stand most to lose from the failure. Of course, you also could say those were states that warned against the enterprise in the first place, for fear of the chaos it could unleash if it went awry. But if they knew that then, why did they content themselves with smugness as the U.S. struggled, then lost heart? And, in the case of the Saudis, quietly stoked the fires of the insurgency. In their case, I suppose, sheer cowardice explains much.