Not that I mind. I enjoy being useful. All of this isn't a complaint, just an explanation of where I've been and why I'm not blogging as much.
In any case, you can expect to see a bit less of me in the upcoming weeks. As the blog readership seems to have gone to hell with my various absences, I expect it to fall even further.
Ah well. That's life.
Anyways - commenter DCRocks gave us a link to this story about how Arabs are increasingly looking at war as an option to dealing with Iran.
American politics may be heading for uncertain waters. The Arabs, however, appear unusually determined to resist the tide of Khomeinism..
* Last autumn, the GCC states - plus Jordan and Egypt - asked Washington to review their defenses in case of a showdown with Iran. The mission, led by the then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman, presented its report last month.
* Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan have concluded partnership accords with NATO, and two more Arab states, Kuwait and Bahrain, have opened talks for a similar relationship with the alliance.
* Last month, British Premier Tony Blair proposed an alliance of moderate Arab states, backed by major Western powers, to contain the Khomeinist threat. At least 10 Arab states have indicated interest.
Fear of a showdown with Iran has triggered an arms race. The GCC states have placed orders for 150 ultra-modern European and American fighter jets and are negotiating massive purchases of surface-to-surface missiles from China and Russia. Average defense budgets in the region show a 17 percent increase.
The GCC group and Egypt have also launched studies to create a nuclear industry - ostensibly for peaceful use, but clearly designed to meet a Iranian military threat.
Tehran started beating the drums of war over a year ago. If one listens carefully, one can now hear the response from the Arab side - in the form of faint drumbeats that are bound to get louder in the months ahead
In my opinion, the Arab states have been enjoying and tacitly supporting Iran's meddling in American affairs, such as the Iran-supported insurgency in Iraq. However, as Iran has gotten away with more and more, they've been casting their eyes on their neighbors as well. Perhaps their neighbors have found that feeding a greedy giant doesn't placate the giant, it only makes it want more.
DANEgerus has a link up showing the provinces and areas in Iraq that are under control by the Iraqi military. It's a good look at where the US Army is, and where the Iraqis have taken over, leaving US forces to focus their efforts elsewhere.