Can James Baker Save Iraq?
The former Secretary of State is admired and trusted by Gulf Arabs, but that may be as much a liability as an asset.
The other day I called an Arab security official in the Gulf and joked with him about how well things are going in Iraq. He wasn't in the mood for irony. "The Iranians and the Shi'a are coming to get us," he said, "and you Americans don't have a clue how to stop them."
I heard the same thing from a half dozen other Gulf Arab contacts I talked to the same day. Sure, they're all unhappy about Iraq. But what really concerns them is what happens when the U.S. packs up and leaves. The most likely scenario is an out-and-out civil war, Sunni against Shi'a, with Iran and Saudi Arabia eventually sucked in. And, by the way, can the United States stop Iran from occupying Iraq?