The Bush administration is deliberating whether to abandon U.S. reconciliation efforts with Sunni insurgents and instead give priority to Shiites and Kurds, who won elections and now dominate the government, according to U.S. officials.This is what is currently being called the "80% solution." That is, we stop attempting outreach to the 20% of the population that is Sunni, and support only the Kurds and Shiites.
But from the Washington Post, Nov 29, 2006 we get:
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, [who] said in a speech last month that "since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited." If it does, one of the first consequences will be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis.If George Bush attempts the 80% Solution, the result will be a genocidal war between the Shiites (60% of the population) and the Sunnis (20% of the population) with the Kurds mostly sitting it out unless they make a grab for Kirkuk. In such a war the Iranians will be supporting the Shiites (they currently provide equipment and training to the militia of al-Sadr) and the Saudis will be doing likewise to the Sunnis.
We will under those circumstances find ourselves allied with Iran!? against the Sunnis and protecting the Kurds (maybe - we have a poor history with the Kurds.) But that will also be the result if we pull out of Iraq precipitately.
At the same time this is very likely to spill over into the already unstable Lebanon and into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Powell was right. Bush broke it, we own it. I'll make one promise. The situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
[h/t to Kevin Drum here and here. The comments with Kevin's articles are always excellent.]