Friday, March 03, 2006

Iraq: Worst Case Scenerio Now Has It's Own Worst Case Scenerio

Remember just a few short months ago when a halfway realistic forcast of the Iraq situtation somehow got released to the American public? The one, quickly dismissed by the White House, that listed the worst case scenerio as Iraq sinking into civil war?

A Reuters article this morning examines what may lay ahead for the U.S. military if the current slide toward civil war in that country continues.

"If full-scale civil war erupts -- and Iraq appears to be awfully close to that at this point -- even 134,000 troops could be in a highly vulnerable position, especially when you consider how many true combat troops we have there," said Ted Carpenter, defence analyst with the Cato Institute in Washington.

Many U.S. troops in Iraq are supply and logistics personnel. British and Australian combat troops are not expected to make much difference should a bloody free-for-all erupt.

The military could try to stiffen the resolve of Iraqi forces to maintain government authority, by shipping in another U.S. division of about 20,000 troops or by inserting special forces.

But that scenario assumes U.S.-trained Iraqi troops and police would remain loyal in a crisis to the national government, rather than to religious leaders or the sectarian or ethnic militias to which many of them once belonged.

In the worst case, U.S. troops could be forced to withdraw, leaving Shi'ite and Sunni Arab Iraqis at each others' throats and other conflicts possibly ripping the country apart. "You could be confronting situations where there would be full-scale firefights between rival factions," Carpenter said.

"If those divisions explode into massive violence, the U.S. is in a hopeless situation."


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