The Spillover Effects of the Iraqi Civil War

Not only does the news get worse and worse for the Republicans, but it continues to get worse from Iraq. I noted one result of the violence in Iraq yesterday. Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack have an article n The Washington Post questioning What’s Next? now that “By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war.”

The consequences of an all-out civil war in Iraq could be dire. Considering the experiences of recent such conflicts, hundreds of thousands of people may die. Refugees and displaced people could number in the millions. And with Iraqi insurgents, militias and organized crime rings wreaking havoc on Iraq’s oil infrastructure, a full-scale civil war could send global oil prices soaring even higher.

However, the greatest threat that the United States would face from civil war in Iraq is from the spillover — the burdens, the instability, the copycat secession attempts and even the follow-on wars that could emerge in neighboring countries. Welcome to the new “new Middle East” — a region where civil wars could follow one after another, like so many Cold War dominoes.

They discuss multiple problems and see them as virtually inevitable.”Considering how many mistakes the United States has made in Iraq, how much time has been squandered, and how difficult the task is, even a serious course correction in Washington and Baghdad may only postpone the inevitable.” Bush’s claims that the war is helping to contain terrorism are disputed:

The war in Iraq has proved to be a disaster for the struggle against Osama bin Laden. Fighters there are receiving training, building networks and becoming further radicalized — and the U.S. occupation is proving a dream recruiting tool for young Muslims worldwide. As bad as this is, a wide-scale civil war in Iraq could make the terrorism problem even worse.

Such terrorist organizations as Hezbollah, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were all born of civil wars. They eventually shifted from assaulting their enemies in Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Northern Ireland and Israel, respectively, to mounting attacks elsewhere. Hezbollah has attacked Israeli, American and European targets on four continents. The LTTE assassinated former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi because of his intervention in Sri Lanka. The IRA began a campaign of attacks in Britain in the 1980s. The GIA did the same to France the mid-1990s, hijacking an Air France flight then moving on to bombings in the country. In the 1970s, various Palestinian groups began launching terrorist attacks against Israelis wherever they could find them — including at the Munich Olympics and airports in Athens and Rome — and then attacked Western civilians whose governments supported Israel.

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