Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: IRAQI RECONCILIATION, Media, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 11:33 am

Saw this in the Daily Star of Lebanon - a somewhat pro-western (but by no means pro-Bush) publication. The writer asks the question: “Are things coming together for George W. Bush in Iraq?”

One key factor is that, for the first time since the United States and Britain invaded Iraq, Arab Sunni leaders are backing a US military plan for that country. These Sunni leaders live in abject fear of the geopolitical earthquake that any disintegration of political authority in Baghdad would bring. They believe that all-out civil war would invariably follow - a war that would not respect international borders.

Of course, America has been encouraging Sunni leaders in this belief. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent tour of Middle East capitals helped spread the word to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states that any US failure and sudden withdrawal would be certain to destabilize them. Given the fragile grip that these leaders have over their societies, America’s warnings have been taken to heart.

But the truly curious factor that might bring success to Bush is that those who have opposed or resented America’s presence in Iraq, such as the Iranian-backed Shiite parties, now also appear to want Bush’s new strategy to succeed. They are for it because they believe it will defang Moqtada al-Sadr, the rogue Shiite cleric whose power has mushroomed over the past three years - to the point that he now dominates much of Baghdad and holds the allegiance of countless angry young Shiite men.

This makes the Administration resistance to a regional conference on Iraq all the more troubling. I actually thought the conference idea was one of the only real positive proposals put forth by the Baker Commission. It seems to me that other players in the region who would be directly affected by the kind of pullout envisioned by the Democrats are eager to explore ways to tamp down the violence and help make the Iraqi state viable.

This must hold true especially for Syria and Jordan who are being drowned by a human tidal wave of Sunni refugees from Iraq - more than 2.3 million so far. This doesn’t include the more than half a million displaced Sunnis inside Iraq already - a number that Maliki absolutely must bring down dramatically if our surge policy is to succeed.

But what about the Shias?

Of course, attacking Sadr’s Mehdi Army in the name of fighting militia death squads has the potential to draw American military forces into a level of urban warfare unseen since the Falluja assaults of 2004 and 2005. Sadr is seen as the protector of the Shiites of Iraq and has an estimated 60,000 fighters in his militia. But he is deeply mistrusted by other Shiite leaders, who fear that they may one day have to take him on by themselves. Better to let the Americans do it, though of course these Shiite leaders prefer a slow strangulation of Sadr to a direct and bloody assault.

But make no mistake: How Sadr is handled is the big test of Bush’s new strategy. Should the US choose to face him and his forces head on, they risk alienating Iraq’s Shiites, adding fuel to the anti-occupation resistance and thus probably dooming Bush to failure.

Of course, we’ve been trying to bring Sadr’s bully boys out into the open for a couple of years. It makes killing them easier as we proved in Najaf and Fallujah Sadr City. And both al-Sistani (who can’t stand the upstart Sadr) as well as al-Hakim (leader of the SCIRI) would love to have us de-horn al-Sadr if only because it would leave them a clear field for supremacy among the Shias.

All depends on how willing the firebrand cleric is in seeking a truly political solution to Iraq’s domestic troubles. Even al-Sadr himself may be secretly urging the Americans on so that the more radical (and disobedient) members of his army will disappear. If that happens, it is possible that Sadr will back Maliki’s reconciliation plan with the Sunnis. This presumes facts not in evidence - that Sadr truly wants to work within the political framework of the Constitution in order to wield power and influence. But at the same time, Sadr has also proved himself quite the practical thug in the past in that he came off the streets in the first place to participate in the elections. Perhaps Sadr will see the writing on the wall and rather than risk all by fighting the Americans, he will slip into his Iraqi statesman costume and cooperate with Maliki.

But Sadr is only one of the pieces of the puzzle. The other is in Anbar. And here this Arab observer thinks that we’ve finally hit upon the right strategy:

The “surge” also opens, perhaps for the first time, a serious possibility of pouring water on the insurgent fires in Anbar Province, the heartland of the Sunni insurgency. The US has achieved relative successes in the province through alliances with Sunni tribes. The hope is that such realistic and pragmatic accommodations will be extended to Iraqis who are fighting under the banner of a nationalist and anti-occupation agenda.

So some of the stars have come into alignment for Bush. But to keep them there in the long term, the Iraqi government will need to amend the constitution in a way that appeases the Sunni community. Reassuring Iraq’s Sunnis that they have a place in the new Iraq will also reassure neighboring Sunni governments, which have mostly turned a blind eye to the support for the insurgency that has come from their lands.

We’re still waiting on Maliki to show some leadership on political issues like reconciliation, oil revenue sharing (which is currently in limbo after Sunnis balked at the deal), amnesty, power sharing, and federalism agreements with the Kurds and Sunnis. Embroiled as he is now in these rape allegations, it remains to be seen if all the good work our people do in tamping down most of the violence will bear fruit at the Iraqi conference table when the factions get together to hammer out accommodations they can all live in peace with.


  1. I’m still don’t understand how offering Iran a place at the tabke is a good idea. Given the history between Iran and the U.S., any prudent course of action should begin with the assumption that they’re lying. So when they claims that they’re only interested in stablizing Iraq, containing the conflict, blah, blah, blah, we should remember that Iran interfered in Afghanistan and it continues to interfere in Iraq — at the expense of American troops. It’s obvious Iran stands more to gain from U.S. failure in Iraq than anyone else.

    Except the Democratic party, of course.

    Comment by Sirius Familiaris — 2/23/2007 @ 12:52 pm

  2. PS: in a sign that Dhimmitude is not that far down the pike in Britain; the Muslim Council of Britain, has British supporters in trying to implement Shari’a in British Public Schools!

    Read this, and see if your Blood doesn’t boil?

    I’m sure the Jacobin Left, in this country, will soon be helphing the Jihadis push for the same thing!



    Comment by Dale in Atlanta — 2/23/2007 @ 3:16 pm

  3. “Perhaps Sadr will see the writing on the wall”

    Perhaps you will see the writing on the wall some day.

    Answer this question: How does the US military fighting to install the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq help
    the GWT??? The rivalry between Sadr and al-Hakim indicates that Iraq’s troubles are less about religion, which the
    government wants us to believe, and more about power and oil wealth.

    Some other facts that you have left out of you discussion are for instance that al-Hakim is promoting regional federations as
    opposed to a unified central government. This is the opposite of the Bush strategy, yet al-Hakim seems to be Bush’s boy. i.e.
    Hakim seems to be willing to cut the deal with western oil companies, but wants the bulk of the wealth to go to the regional
    powers. i.e. himself, providing the US takes care of Sadr first. This is evidenced by the recently leaked revised oil law, which
    other Middle Eastern authors have described as promoting the break-up of Iraq.

    The Sunnis are never going to accept this version of the oil law and the Shia will never cave to Sunni demands as long as the
    US is willing to put down their insurgency. Talk all you want about how much more compassionate conservatives are towards
    the Iraqi people, the truth is US is taking the 80% solution for the sake of an oil deal. You can kill all the Sunnis you want, but
    you can’t claim fair play because the Shia have no intention of playing fair. You could at least give Sunnis a fighting chance to
    take on the Shia face to face when they are out numbered 5 to 1– at least then they would have been beaten fair and square
    and not killed by infidels.

    Another fact you skipped over the is the “all out civil war” and ensuing blood bath that you along with others on the right are
    focussing if the Dems have the “pullout they envision” is all ready happening. As a matter of fact the humanitarian crisis in Iraq is
    worse than Darfur. As of last June the Lancet Report had Iraqi deaths due to the war at 655,000 and the second half of 06
    was twice as bad as the first half according to official numbers. Darfur is only approaching 300,000 dead, which makes Iraq
    twice as bad. You know this is true, but right-wingers don’t want to talk about this little inconvenient truth either.

    If I were the Dems, which I’m not, I would say all right you win. We think this policy is bad for America, bad for the military,
    bad for the GWT, but you guys want paint us as cowards and unpatriotic and stupid. Fine. You can have your little surge and
    all the money you want, but this baby is all yours.

    We’ll see you in 2008

    Comment by neocon hunter — 2/23/2007 @ 6:43 pm

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