Friday, May 30, 2008


The CIA reports that Al Qaeda has been strategically defeated in Iraq and in Saudi Arabia and it is in retreat or in hiding in other areas. Iraqi polls show little support for Al Qaeda.

Perhaps the most remarkable story of the Middle East is the degree to which the Saudis interest are aligned with those of Israel. With Iran as a common enemy, the two nations are working for common purposes. Each has encouraged Syria to help decrease the influence of Iran. Israel is prepared to give the Golan Heights back to Syria and Saudi Arabia is willing to provide financial incentives, including the building of an oil pipeline to or even through Syria.

The election of Amadenijhad's rival to the powerful Speaker of the Parliament position highlights the tenuous position of Amadenijhad. Another amazing fact is that the Iranian people, who sit on some of the riches oil and gas reserves anywhere, have been suffering from power outages and fuel shortages. Once again, we see the failure of "command and control" economies. The irony is that democrats in America continue to proposed movement in that direction. One commentator has compared the "dictatorship" of environmentalist to communist and fascist dictatorships; he notes that all three demand that individuals give up their rights so the leaders rules can be followed.

New times are here. The numbers in places like Mosul are revealing. It has been estimated that 4,000 of 6,000 Al Qaeda "foot soldiers" lost their lives in the recent battles. In the past year, the number of Iraqi deaths has fallen sharply. Over by Israel, the surge in support given to Hamas by Iran appears to be a last ditch effort to gain bargaining power. Hamas is a weak threat to Israel. Iran needs to make a deal.