Syria in Iraq
In Iraq, the sects have found no peace and little acceptance of the balance of power now being hammered out. Prime Minister Maliki is busy building a Shiite dictatorship and pushing out the remaining centers of Sunni power left behind by the Americans in their doomed attempt to promote power-sharing.
Al-Qaida is rebuilding in Iraq to contest Shiite power. It probably has the backing of a larger segment of the Sunni community that still chafes from its loss of fortune following the US destruction of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Unlike Lebanon, the various sects of Iraq have not found a modus-vivendi. Relations between Kurds and Arabs in Iraq are becoming more vexed as Kurdistan takes ever more steps to assert its independence from Arab Iraq.
The Sunni-led attempt to depose Assad’s regime is sure to give a big boost to Al-Qaida in Iraq as arms and men flow across the border and find a refuge in Syria. Saudi, Turkish and Qatari support for Syria’s Sunnis is also likely to turbo-charge passions in Iraq, as Sunnis feel empowered to push back against Iranian influence and the Shiite hold on power.I think he's using the term "al-Qaida" too generously there and ignoring the extent of war-weariness in Iraq. I also wonder if Iraq currently has some shortage of weapons such that the cross-border flow would matter. However, he's right that the chances for conflict arising out of Iraqi politics are greater than one in Lebanon arising out of factional rivalry there. Again, what I'm worried about in Lebanon is an extension of the Syrian conflict to that country, rather than the development of an independent Lebanese conflict.