- Experts paint bleak picture of Iraq if U.S. troops fully withdraw
- Among potential scenarios: al Qaeda terror hub and larger regional conflict
- CNN analyst: "Saudi Arabia will not allow increasing Iranian dominance"
- U.S. general says early pullout would cause "huge vacuum"
The lead paragraph says it all:
(CNN) -- Pulling U.S. forces from Iraq could trigger catastrophe, CNN analysts and other observers warn, affecting not just Iraq but its neighbors in the Middle East, with far-reaching global implications.
Remember, the democrats just passed and sent to the President for his signature a bill that would pull the U.S. forces from Iraq. They insisted he should sign the bill, that is was THEIR answer to solve the problem of Iraq. And CNN says that action could "trigger catastrophe".
Nobody has asked Pelosi or Reid the simplest question: OK, we just pulled the troops out. What do you think happens next? They never include that in their speeches -- their interest in the topic ends with them being cheered for "bringing the troops home", and winning bigger majorities in 2008. They have no concept of what would happen in the middle east, and they don't appear to care.
The democrats pretend that the war in Iraq is separate from the war on Terror, but CNN debunks that notion, noting that our presence in Iraq is preventing the terrorist groups from getting a stronghold:
Sectarian violence could erupt on a scale never seen before in Iraq if coalition troops leave before Iraq's security forces are ready. Supporters of al Qaeda could develop an international hub of terror from which to threaten the West. And the likely civil war could draw countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran into a broader conflict.
The Democrats also complain about our "standing" in the world because of the war, but CNN notes that our reputation would be destroyed if we follow the democrat's plan:
A rapid withdrawal of all U.S. troops would hurt America's image and hand al Qaeda and other terror groups a propaganda victory that the United States is only a "paper tiger," CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen said.
The analysis just gets worse from there:
"It would also play into their strategy, which is to create a mini-state somewhere in the Middle East where they can reorganize along the lines of what they did in Afghanistan in the late '90s," Bergen told CNN.com.
It was in Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda allied with the Taliban, and were allowed to run terror bases and plan the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States.
Bergen says it is imperative that the United States not let that happen in Iraq.
"What we must prevent is central/western Iraq [from] becoming a Sunni militant state that threatens our interests directly as an international terror hub," he said.
Don Shepperd, a retired Air Force major-general and military analyst for CNN, agreed that Sunni Muslim fighters who support al Qaeda would seek an enclave inside a lawless Iraq likely riven along sectarian lines into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish regions.
There would be "increasing attempts by terrorists to establish a training sanctuary in Iraq," Shepperd said.
The Democrats also complain that Bush went to war for "oil", insisting that the war is the reason for high prices, and that taking our troops home would solve that problem. Not so, says CNN:
Shepperd said Iraq's neighbors would be drawn into the all-out civil war likely if U.S. forces left too quickly. Iran could move in to further strengthen its influence in southern Iraq; Turkey likely would move against the Kurds in the north; and Saudi Arabia would be inclined to take action to protect Sunnis in western Iraq, he said.
The oil sector could also get hit hard, with Iran potentially mining the Persian Gulf and attempting to close the Straits of Hormuz, putting a stranglehold on oil flow, Shepperd says.
"Oil prices would skyrocket," he said -- perhaps soaring from current prices of about $60 a barrel to more than $100 a barrel, with consequent rises at the gas pump.
And that could bring further trouble, Shepperd added. "Saudi Arabia will not allow increasing Iranian dominance to endanger its regime and oil economy."
And what of the Iranian Nuclear ambition? The democrats suggest Iran is only pushing the bomb because we are in Iraq, but the analysts say pulling out will make things worse:
On top of that, Iran could speed up its nuclear ambitions, causing a "daunting and depressing scenario" of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt and Turkey trying to get a nuclear bomb, Shepperd says.
Other experts were equally grim about the possibilities should the democrats succeed in their attempts at pretending they are the Commander-In-Chief:
But Alterman also fears that an Iraq left without U.S. support could turn into a center for international terrorism and a proxy battlefield for regional powers like Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
"All the surrounding countries would think their interests are much better maintained not by directly sending troops but by continuing to send money and weapons to the people fighting that war," he said.
"In my judgment, it would take decades for such an insurgency to quiet down."
So, while the democrats claim we are causing the insurgency, CNN says that pulling out could cause that insurgency to last for DECADES, during which time the middle east would be a powder keg.
What do the troops in the field think of this plan? Staff Sgt. Matthew St. Pierre is a critic of the war who thinks we can't win. But even he sees the democrat plan for the disaster it would be:
"We are the buffer right now and when we pull out, the people who support us are going to feel the wrath, and the people who are against us ... they're going to ultimately win. And I think that's unfortunate," he said.
If we pull out, the resulting chaos will most suredly pull us back into a war, one that is much harder to fight, spread across many countries, and without ANY of the goodwill we currently have in a country like Iraq that sees us now as committed, but will never trust us after we give up on them.
And that is what the Democrats just VOTED on in congress. It's not just talk -- if Bush had not vetoed the spending bill the democrats just sent him, THIS IS WHAT WE WOULD BE FACING in six months -- a total disaster that was entirely preventable.