Thursday :: May 17, 2007

What's Next In The Gulf?

by Steve

There's a lot coming out today, so let me start with a short post on Iran and Iraq. There are reports that the new CENTCOM commander Admiral Fallon has rejected pressure from the Vice President’s office to send a third carrier battle group into the Gulf. Shooter was left with going to the region and rattling the rhetorical saber against Iran last week. Shooter may also be mad that Condi is pushing ahead with the diplomatic front with Iran, and sees his opportunities to achieve regime change with Iran as slipping away.

As for Iraq, Congress has committed now that there will be a funding bill in place by Memorial Day that Bush will sign. This means that the House and Senate will work in the coming days to fashion a bill that only has Iraqi benchmarks in it that Bush can waive, that will fund the war through the remainder of the fiscal year. Despite the desires of a good chunk of the Democratic caucus for redeployment timelines in the funding bill, it isn’t going to happen, as the road to a compromise runs through John Warner, Ben Nelson, Jim Webb, and moderates in both houses.

As for what this means in September, General Petraeus is saying that his report won't be definitive, and some are interpreting that to mean the justification for an unending surge through 2008 is already in place. I'm not so sure about that, as I continue to think that domestic politics will come into play later this year. To maintain maximum wiggle room, Bush would want Petraeus to be less than definitive so that the White House has as many options and ways to spin their eventual course of action as possible. And I can't help but think that the alignment of Gates, Lute, and Fallon doesn't necessarily argue for an ongoing surge or aggressive posture throughout 2008.

Steve :: 10:05 AM :: Comments (9) :: Digg It!