Welcome to ZakariaWatch, the official Fareed Zakaria stalker blog.
The latest -- a meditation on the likelihood of success in Fallujah, and a consideration of the possible outcomes. This is more a news summary than an opinion piece; helpful bits of information on what has actually happened in the battle thus far. Zakaria's argument is, if things go well as a result of the offensive, things look good for elections, for Allawi, and for the overall success of the U.S. operation there.
If things go poorly, then elections probably won't happen on time, confidence in Allawi will erode, everything goes to hell. Or better: stays there.
My question is, on what basis should one claim the operation to be 'successful'? If many of the fighters, and certainly all of the insurgent leaders, left the city before the re-invasion, what can the U.S. hope to gain? I suppose it is pessimism, but I think Fallujah will change very little in the dynamics of the ground war. The fighters will vanish -- as they did at the time of the initial invasion -- only to resurface again somewhere else. Meanwhile, the battle has been very costly to the U.S., both in terms of U.S. soldiers killed (about 40), and a pretty vast number injured (about 400).