Iraqization is right, but surrendering to fascist regimes is wrong
By Walid Phares, Washington DC, December 6, 2006. Mideast Newswire
In his first analysis of the the Iraq Study Group recommendations, Mideast expert Walid Phares told three media outlets in the US, Europe, and the Middle East, that "the Iraq Study Group's recommendations resemble a salad bowl. The document contains some rational suggestions that should have been adopted by the Bush Administration years ago, and also some suicidal ideas that were tested decades ago and failed miserably." Phares, a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC and author of Foreign Affairs best seller Future Jihad, was interviewed by Al Muharer al Arabi, Radio Free Iraq, and the Jack Ricardi radio show in the US. "These are only the first reactions to a comprehensive document; there will be a thorough analysis of the report from both American and Middle Eastern perspectives."
Phares told Al Muharer al Arabi that the global recommendation "to engage Iran and Syria's regimes positively and constructively means that they were mistreated before. My first question to the authors of the report is this: how was the United States mistreating these regimes in the past? Was asking Ahmedinejad to stop making a nuclear bomb and asking Assad of Syria to withdraw from Lebanon following a UN resolution signs of bad treatment? Were these demands wrong in their essence? Do they give Iran and Syria the right to feel victimized? If one perceives US action in this way, then all what Washington has to do is to release pressure on the Mullah to build their weapons and ask Assad to send his Army back to Lebanon" Phares added, "the public in America and the people in the region are not as naive as they were before 9/11. They will ask the hard questions when the time comes. The so-called engagement recommendation is a relic from the past and sounds like a suicidal idea. For surrendering to fascist regimes - regimes that are rejected by their own people - is utterly wrong." However on the Iraq restructuring suggestions, Phares told Radio Iraq and other radio shows that "the idea of the Iraqization process is a right one and has always received a consensus among Iraqis and Americans. General Abizaid and many others have voiced these suggestions in the past in the US and in Iraq." But Phares concluded by asking "how can we press for empowering the Iraqis on the ground on the one hand while surrendering their fate to Iran and Syria through diplomatic means on the other? That sounds like a recipe for chaos to me."
In a previous interview with Radio Free Iraq few days before the release of the report, Dr Phares said: "many ideas and suggestions are on the table, but one matter should be clear: there shouldn't be a return of dictatorship to Iraq and a return of Syrian occupation in Lebanon. On the other hand, inserting US forces within Iraqi forces should have been the initial plan. Listen to the interview in Arabic here Radio Free Iraq