Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bush's Surge Success Implodes

The troop escalation was supposed to make way for political reconciliation between contentious parties in Iraq. However, the latest is a violent Shi'ite rift between the Iraqi government led by Nouri al-Maliki and renegade religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr. The surge got its success, in part, due to a cease fire ordered by al-Sadr. That's out the window.

The AP reported al-Sadr had the "liberation" of Iraq as his militia's chief goal. The radical Shiite cleric also said the impact of the U.S. presence on Iraq was more negative than that of Saddam Hussein's Baath party, ousted in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Al-Sadr alleged that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a fellow Shiite, was as "distant" from the people of Iraq as Saddam's Sunni-led regime. The government, he said, was "looking after its own interests, not those of the people."

Over on Juan Cole's Informed Comment, a post implied al-Sadr's people had been communicating with leaders in the Sunni Awakening Councils, who also have American forces leaving their country as a high priority. They drove al Qaeda out so the U.S. would no longer have a reason to stay. I wonder how a John McCain 100 year commitment went over to these groups? Politicians can't restrict their words just for domestic consumption, as much as they'd like.

One commenter, Greg Gordon on today's IC post had this to say. I found it most thought provoking, even if only "opinion":

Has there ever in the history of man been a policy more incoherent than this one? We back a government that is essentially a proxy of our regional arch-enemy, Iran. Our Sunni "Awakening" allies, largely composed of the Baathists we removed from power in the first place, hate this government and would love to overthrow it. Our Kurdish allies are composed of two decidedly undemocratic rival mafias, at least one of which is quite friendly to our enemy Iran, and at least one of which is carrying on a low-level war with our ally Turkey. Meanwhile, the most popular political movement in the country shares our stated goal of a democratic, unified Iraq and therefore must be crushed.

Democracy with us, good. Without us, bad. I guess it comes back to "you're either with us or against us." Democracy may have nothing to do with it. Of course, V.P. Dick Cheney just visited, applying a large dose of freedhem. It seemed to engorge the already inflamed.

Do Muqtada's words mean the cease fire is dead? He said, "I call on the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations to recognise the legitimacy of the resistance."

One of his assistants added, "Moqtada al-Sadr asks his followers not to deliver weapons to the government. Weapons should be turned over only to a government which can expel the (U.S.) occupiers."

Now the long list of Middle East leader no shows at the Arab League is beginning to make sense. What else do V.P. Dick Cheney, President George Bush, and Israeli leader Ehud Olmert have up their sleeve? More divide and conquer?