A must-read: Yossef Bodanksy's article on Iraq in the January issue of Defense & Foreign Affairs/Strategic Policy.
Bodansky supplies a superb grand overview of Iraq, with most of the focus of the article on Iran. He argues that since the US presence in Iraq began being referred to by the Iraqi elected leadership -including Maliki- as "Ihtilal" -an illicit occupier -a rubicon has now been passed. The true translation of it has a very particular nuance which I'll add to this post later. When I questioned a Lt. Col. he told me that just "this week" Maliki started using it. (But Bodansky's article is from January).
The Bush administration has ignored the use and ramifications of the word Bodansky reports and has "neither countered the concept nor demanded from the US-sponsored Iraqi officials to desist using the term."
--In Autumn 2006 of the over 1,000 staffers at the US Embassy in Baghdad only 33 were Arabic speakers, and only 6 were fluent. Their intelligence therefore depends on "second-hand reporting and translations, all of which are provided by interested bodies." This evokes other intelligence/translation catastrophes like Tito's manipulation of British intelligence in order to orchestrate Western policy.
--"Presently there is nothing the US can really do to slowdown the eruption of jihadist momentum..."
The only option the US may have is to withdraw as rapidly as possible and reformulate options under less pressure and from a distance, Bodansky says.
"But one way or another it must develop a coherent strategy..."
[Pictured above: Bodansky, seated and Gregory Copley, both of the International Strategic Studies Association.]