Wretchard at the Belmont Club expands on the power struggle going on right now between the US and Teheran in Iraq......
"As an aside, one might remark on the extremity of the Jihadi effort in Iraq. They are sending their best team, the team that harried the IDF out of Lebanon to no good effect. US forces have quietly become very efficient, with chemical test kits to screen suspects for explosive residue, aircraft which electronically detonate IEDs, a steady drumbeat of raids on explosives factories and other operational advances. The enemy is still able to kill Americans, but not in any decisive numbers. But how will America use its capability to achieve a strategic result?
The answer to that question will not be revealed until after the November Presidential election if George Bush is re-elected: whether America will go West to Syria and Lebanon or move its sights squarely on Teheran. The Al Qaeda operational bases in Afghanistan have moved, it said, to the Bekaa in Lebanon. So there is reason to clean that out. But Teheran threatens to become a nuclear power in the very near future and is, despite Sunni pretensions to the contrary, still the central star in the Jihadi firmament. For the present, it is actually in the Coalition's interest and probably no one else's to build up a truly independent Iraq. Iraq would become another player to the game to balance off Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran. A strong Iraq, especially an independent Shi'ite Iraq would be a deadly threat to the Mullahs. A region so evenly divided could be tipped in any way by America and would complicate coalition building against it.
The week leading up to the formal transfer of power to the Iraqi interim government will be punctuated by heavy yet pointless violence. The event is as unstoppable as the Overlord invasion, Zarqawi or no. The enemy had better prepare his fallback position and prepare for the next phase of the campaign."
I simply do not believe that John Kerry has the fortitude to see this final chapter through to the end. Say what you want about Bush, I would probably agree with most of it, but the most important issue to me is getting this done properly in Iraq. If we lose this one, 9/11 will be peanuts compared to the next attack.