Will Iraq join NATO?

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Iraq the Model reported yesterday that the new Iraqi Department of Defense may recommend that the country seek to join NATO, once the contending political factions agree on a Parliamentary government. That would be an extremely important move.

1. It would put Iraq under the NATO nuclear umbrella, to protect it against Iranian nukes.

2. It would mean converting the Iraqi military to NATO standards in equipment and tactics, but also in other important ways, such as NATO codes of military conduct and civilian control over the military.

3. It would engage NATO in modernizing Iraq.

4. It would set an example to other Arab countries of the best way for them to survive in a new nuclear age in the Middle East.

It is not obvious today that NATO would welcome an Iraqi proposal, though the US and UK would be wise to support it. Turkey has long been a NATO member, so that there is a precedent.

There are forces ready to stoke civil war in Iraq — like the terrorists who just blew up the Golden Mosque Al Askari in Sammara.

Al Qaida in Iraq is an obvious suspect. But so is Iran. Iran's puppet in Iraq, Moqtada El Sadr, has been stirring up revenge attacks against Sunni mosques. This is happening at the very moment when political negotiations are at their most delicate stage. It is also the crticial moment when Iran feels most threatened by a possible Western—Israeli strike against its rapidly developing nuclear plan. And finally, this is the moment that Al Qaida's Al Zarqawi is at the end of his rope, with the Sunni insurgency petering out.

So Iraq will need all the pillars of stability it can get. NATO membership could be essential.

Iraq the Model reported yesterday that the new Iraqi Department of Defense may recommend that the country seek to join NATO, once the contending political factions agree on a Parliamentary government. That would be an extremely important move.

1. It would put Iraq under the NATO nuclear umbrella, to protect it against Iranian nukes.

2. It would mean converting the Iraqi military to NATO standards in equipment and tactics, but also in other important ways, such as NATO codes of military conduct and civilian control over the military.

3. It would engage NATO in modernizing Iraq.

4. It would set an example to other Arab countries of the best way for them to survive in a new nuclear age in the Middle East.

It is not obvious today that NATO would welcome an Iraqi proposal, though the US and UK would be wise to support it. Turkey has long been a NATO member, so that there is a precedent.

There are forces ready to stoke civil war in Iraq — like the terrorists who just blew up the Golden Mosque Al Askari in Sammara.

Al Qaida in Iraq is an obvious suspect. But so is Iran. Iran's puppet in Iraq, Moqtada El Sadr, has been stirring up revenge attacks against Sunni mosques. This is happening at the very moment when political negotiations are at their most delicate stage. It is also the crticial moment when Iran feels most threatened by a possible Western—Israeli strike against its rapidly developing nuclear plan. And finally, this is the moment that Al Qaida's Al Zarqawi is at the end of his rope, with the Sunni insurgency petering out.

So Iraq will need all the pillars of stability it can get. NATO membership could be essential.