Friday, March 28, 2008

What Needs Repeating

With things changing so quickly, I was hesitant to comment on the fighting in Iraq this week, but there is a point that needs to be made that I don’t hear enough: it is the Iraqi Army that is fighting al-Sadr’s forces.
"Dubbed Operation Knights' Assault, Iraqi security forces have gone on the offensive to wrest control of the strategic oil hub and Iraq's second largest city from Mahdi Army control."

I have heard more than one individual say that this “proves” the surge has failed, and that’s nonsense. The point of the surge was to give the Iraqi government enough time to stabilize, and to clear out certain regions that had been swamped with terrorists and insurgents. The fact that it is the federal Iraqi government that is now fighting al-Sadr’s militia is a positive development. Maliki’s government offered a very clear ultimatum to those who continue to fight them ("We are not going to chase those who hand over their weapons within 72 hours. If they do not surrender their arms, the law will follow its course..."), and something tells me they are going to live up to this threat.

As a number of commentators mentioned, the surge was also allowed to work because of the cease-fire with al-Sadr, but most also thought that Iraq would eventually have to face his group and its militia. I hope that the Iraqi government has the power and the will to overcome this struggle.

As David Price points out, “the Iraqis rate the IA as their most trusted institution, way ahead of the coalition and even farther ahead of the militias, which are increasingly blamed for the violence.” Regardless of ones political alignment, the democratically elected government needs the support we can give them at this moment. Price also makes clear:
“The Iraqi Army is so much larger than even the Badr Corps‘ most exaggerated self-estimate that they could not hold more than a small fraction of the ranks of the IA even were they attempting to do so while maintaining their Badr identity, which would be very difficult in any case because the Iraqi Army officer and NCO corps are heavily vetted and indoctrinated by their U.S. trainers. Claims that this is just a clash between militias are plainly ridiculous.


Anonymous said...

This is so absurd. The "Surge" was only successful as long as Sadr was willing to keep in check his forces. In the meantime we were paying and arming the very people who attacked us on 9/11. Known members of al-Quaida have been infiltrating various organizations in Iraq with a wink-and-a-nod attitude just to keep the peace. Now, when the poor excuse for an American-backed government in Iraq tries to move against Sadr the violence escalates. The Surge didn't work because the US is too heavily embedded in the country. Until we pull out the real resolution in this country will not occur.

Roland Dodds said...

What information do you have to prove al-Qaeda is now part of various organizations in Iraq? Even the most ardent anti-war proponents have not been making that ridiculous assumption.

And no, the folks we are “paying” now (members of the Sunni community in Iraq) were not the people who caused 9/11. One can make an argument against helping Sunni groups in Iraq, but that they helped cause 9/11 is not one of them. If anything, this is what we should have done from the get-go in Iraq: folks on both the right and left lament the fact that we dispersed the army after the liberation, and that many of those men went right into paid positions in the insurgency. Sometimes you buy off your enemy with the hope that the federal authorities will be allowed to get their asses in line to confront militia threats in the future. We paid off plenty of people in Germany, Japan, and Korea during our occupation, and it was the right thing to do.

Having said that, to say that this is the only reason the surge has worked is equally stupid. As I have said here before, this is no longer just some neocon talking point; Democrats and critics of the war have conceded that it has made positive gains. Whether they are enough to offset previous blunders is arguable however.

Since you seem to think Iraq’s problems would be solved if the American troops left, please explain to me how. At this very moment, the Iraqi government is engaged in one of its first forceful efforts against the theocrats and destabilizing elements in their country. From the news I am receiving, their victory is not assured. How would Iraq’s problems be solved by removing our military from the support role for their military, especially with what you are seeing now?

hydralisk said...

In the meantime we were paying and arming the very people who attacked us on 9/11...

...Arabs! XD