A Conversation With Brookings’ Michael O’Hanlon
I interviewed Michael O’Hanlon of Brookings yesterday. Here’s a key excerpt that cut-and-run Democrats on the Hill need to read:
HH: What do you think the consequences would be of a precipitous withdrawal?
MO’H: Well, I think they would probably be…the civil war getting anywhere from two to ten times worse in terms of the rate of killing. I think ultimately, the Sunni Arabs would be mostly defeated, and they would essentially be ghettoized in the western part of their country without much oil, very angry at the world, and therefore even more likely to collaborate with al Qaeda. As you know, one of the hopeful things right now is that the Sunni Arabs are not collaborating as much with al Qaeda, and in some cases, fighting them out in al Anbar Province. But I think that dynamic would probably change for the worse, and you would see that region become to some extent a sanctuary for terrorism, and of course, there’d be a risk of regional war. I don’t know how to score the probabilities on that, but some risk of a greater regional war. And Iraq itself would be in mayhem probably for many years to come, looking sort of like Somalia or maybe the way Afghanistan did in the 80’s and 90’s. I think that’s the most likely outcome. You know, I’m not saying that it would destabilize the entire Persian Gulf, but there would be some chance of a regional war, and a very high chance of genocide inside Iraq.