Saudi analyst: Iran in control, Iraq a 'lost battle'

Friday, November 3, 2006

WASHINGTON A leading Saudi analyst has termed the three-year, U.S.-led stabilization campaign in Iraq a "lost battle."

Nawaf Obaid, managing director of the Saudi National Security Assessment project, said the United States has failed to win the insurgency war in Iraq. Obaid envisions the splintering of Iraq into ethnic regions, with Iran as the dominating force.

At a two-day conference on U.S.-Arab relations in Washington, Obaid, an adviser to the Saudi royal family, said violence would increase in Iraq.

He said Teheran would also expand its influence in Iraq, as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps increases aid to Shi'ite militias.

"It is already a lost battle," Obaid said on Oct. 31.

Obaid released a study that the Kurds would accelerate their drive for independence in northern Iraq. The study also envisioned a waning of U.S. influence in Iraq as the Sunni insurgency gathers strength.

"It [U.S. mission in Iraq] has failed by every single measure that you can think of," Obaid said. "The failure is only compounded by the fact that we just don't know what the endgame is."

The report said Iranian-backed Shi'ites have infiltrated the Iraq Army and police. Obaid said the effort has been supported by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry.

"All indications point to a current state of civil war and the disintegration of the Iraqi state," Obaid said. "Unfortunately the assessment is very dire, and we don't think there is a possibility now to avoid a potential disintegration of Iraq."

Copyright 2006 East West Services, Inc.

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