August 22, 2003

Casus Belli

In Iraq we have Islamists pouring over the border to fight the US forces and the start of the new Iraqi armed forces. To me, it's surprising that nobody notes that for Iraq's border states, this is a tremendously risky business. These fighters are either going through Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia with the blessings of the regime, which is a direct act of war, or these states are incapable of controlling their own borders to stop such people. If the latter, a persistent inability to halt such troop flows is also a legitimate cause of war.

In all the discussions of honeypot and flypaper strategies, whether the US will withstand the assault or turn tail and pull out too early, nobody seems to seriously look at the problem from the fact that failing to stop armed fighters from crossing over into your neighbor's territory is a grave threat to international peace. Where's the UN? Where are the peace protesters? Where are the NGO's devoted to human rights?

The first step to restoring normality is to recognize that a situation is not normal. The current bizarre abnormality of the Middle East has Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, at best, being failed states who cannot control their borders. At worst, what we have is an undeclared asymmetric regional war. But why aren't we all talking about it? Why aren't we holding the political class of these countries to a normal standard? Why isn't any faction in the West devoted to any side in this conflict taking note of this?

Posted by TMLutas at August 22, 2003 10:32 AM