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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

US leaving Iraq « Previous | |Next »
May 18, 2007

Marc Lynch is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University and the Elliott School of International Affairs who runs the Middle East politics blog Abu Aardvark was interviewed by Ken Silverstein at Harpers Magazine about Iraq and the American occupation.

Lynch, who is the author of Voices of the New Arab Public: Iraq, al-Jazeera, and Middle East Politics Today, says:

The United States should commit to a withdrawal, not tomorrow but with a clear endpoint – benchmarks, or whatever you want to call them. The insurgents have made it pretty clear in a series of public statements and private communications that they’re willing to start talking and dampen down the violence if the United States commits to withdrawing from Iraq. We’re at a moment where there’s actually a chance for positive developments, because we have a common interest with the insurgents in defeating Al Qaeda and they are putting out clear signals that they are willing to make a deal. But everything hinges on the United States making a commitment to withdraw – politically, they can’t and won’t get in the political game without that because it would destroy their credibility and because, frankly, getting the United States out really matters to them.

That's not likely with Bush and Cheney in the White House fighting off the Democrats in Congress.

On Al Qaeda Lynch says that:

the paradox is that even as Al Qaeda repels people with its actions, its core ideas are becoming more widely accepted, and that’s really troubling, and a real indictment of American public diplomacy. That’s also why the situation in Iraq is so devastating at the wider regional and global level. Killing people in Morocco and Algeria triggers a negative reaction, but fighting Americans in Iraq resonates with a much wider part of the Arab population.

Al Qaeda is remarkably successful in spreading its jihadist world view, the notion of a fundamental clash of civilizations and the idea that Islam is under threat, in the Arab world. At the same time, neither Al Qaeda as an organization nor bin Laden as an individual, is commanding a great deal of respect or support.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:44 AM |