Kwaku Obosu-Mensah

Arabs Outsmarting Americans

Undoubtedly, the most-discussed issue today is whether the US should pull its forces out of Iraq now, soon, later or much later. The Republican administration insists that pulling the forces out of Iraq soon would mean giving Al Qaeda a foothold in Iraq to plan attacks against the U.S. and its allies. For the Republicans, even a withdrawal time-table will embolden Al Qaeda in Iraq to hang on until the pull-out. This is a rational line of thought because every nation should be ready and willing to protect its interests and its very survival. In that case, whose interests and very survival is mostly threatened by Al Qaeda in Iraq? It is the neighboring states of Iran, Syria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Al Qaeda has had more terrorists’ attacks in these countries than it has had in the US. In short, a stronger Al Qaeda in Iraq is more a threat to Iraq’s neighbors than it is to the US. Therefore, it is expected that these countries would be more involved in bringing peace to Iraq through the establishment of a strong and viable government in that country. In addition, these countries should help build a strong police and military in Iraq to engage Al Qaeda

So far, they have done the opposite. They have been nonchalant regarding events in Iraq and have invested virtually nothing to bring peace to Iraq and chase Al Qaeda out of that country. The Arabs are using the “principle of least interest” to compel the U.S. to remain in Iraq as long as possible, to use the U.S. to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq. In every relationship, the person who shows the least interest in the relationship always solicits more interest from the other partner. The person who shows least interest tends to control the one who shows most interest. By pretending to be disinterested in the conflict in Iraq, the neighboring countries control the actions of the American government – they have compelled Americans to want to invest more in a peaceful Iraq.

For the neighboring countries, it is also an issue of “why pay for it when you can get it for free?” If the U.S. is willing to use its resources to route out Al Qaeda from Iraq, why should they use their resources in that effort? Yesterday, at a press conference with her Egyptian host, Condoleezza Rice pointed to no fresh commitments from the Arabs. Indeed, so long as the U.S. remains in Iraq the Arabs would not spend a dime in the peace effort in Iraq. It is time to “hand over” Iraq to its neighbors, and they will ensure peace in that country