28 February 2007


Recent events: Cheney has just left Oz, and the US is moving major naval assets into the gulf. John Howard has promised more trainers for Iraq, Blair has taken a couple thousand troops out of Iraq, and boosted a couple thousand into Afghanistan.

Some forecasters are predicting that the US or Israel will bomb Iranian nuclear assets back to tors. I am afraid that the horse has well and truly bolted. The nuclear war that was for so long feared seems to be getting much closer.

President Ahmadinejad is loudly proclaiming that Iran has a perfect right to build nuclear power stations, and that it has no intention of manufacturing nuclear weapons. Teasing the US is oxygen to Ahmadinejad. I would suggest the US quietly take Ahmadinejad at his word, and surround Iran and US friends with missile defence shields. Make it clear that if he even attempts to let off a nuclear weapon in anger, then Iran can expect the heartland of the ancient Sassanid empire to be a radioactive ruin a few hours later.

Iraq is another problem. Let us assume that Iraq is at least 95% full of law abiding people who yearn for peace and democracy. Further assume the remaining (max 5%) who prefer mayhem contain a minute fraction (less than 1%) of terrorists who are able to exist unexposed because they have inculcated fear into the 95% of everyday Iranians. It is not practicable with an occupying force of less than 500,000 to protect that 95% of Iraquis.

With those assumptions, the solution seems obvious. Provide the civilians with weapons. Not high tech, just simple magazine rifles about 0.30 calibre, cheap ammunition, any established householder can obtain at least one free rifle on establishing his bona-fides, further weapons at cost.

Then sit back, and plan a withdrawal. If Iraquis want democracy, that is how they will obtain it. That is how the USA got democracy. It would be quite hard for a would be dictator to disarm or oppress such an armed population. Such a policy might alarm the neighbors. Maybe they have quietly expressed that alarm, and that is the reason my suggested policy is not enacted.

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