After a destabilizing invasion and occupation, Islamic extremists are poised to seize political power across the Middle East in the wake of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The resulting transnational fundamentalist Caliphate would represent the successful completion of al Qaeda's major explicit political goal.
The quote is from: Intelwire
Framing the Conflict
No one knows the stakes of the deadly game in Iraq better than the two men charged with winning it. On one side stood Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. His opposite number was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda's bloodthirsty lieutenant and the most central actor in the Iraq insurgency.
It's not surprising that Myers and Zarqawi saw the same stakes in Iraq. What's disturbing is the fact that so few Americans understand what these men were fighting for.
In March 2003, the United States launched a proactive campaign to oust Saddam Hussein and install democracy in Iraq. All controversies aside, the invasion was clearly and explicitly predicated on an old military maxim -- the best defense is a good offense.
But in September 2005, American's best offense has become a desperate defense of virtually any position in Iraq. In a little-noticed Pentagon news briefing in August, Myers laid out the likely consequences if the U.S. is perceived as retreating under fire.
"The stakes are huge," said Myers. "If the Zarqawis of the world, if (al Qaeda) were allowed to be successful in Iraq, in their view, that would be the start of the caliphate that they envision. The stakes would be huge for the region. You talk about instability. It would be instant instability in that region, in Saudi Arabia on down the Gulf states, perhaps Iran, Syria, Turkey."
With those words, Myers unambiguously identified America's strategic imperative for the postinvasion conflict in Iraq -- preventing the birth of a fundamentalist Islamic empire spanning the entire Middle East -- al Qaeda's Caliphate. Source Intelwire: Caliphate
God Protect Us.