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Friday, March 21, 2008

Iraq: Five Years Later

As we suspected &mdash and blogged previously &mdash, the recent "improvement" that resulted from Georgie's "surge," or rather repeated redeployment of worn-out troops, was an illusion manipulated mainly by the media with the assistance of complacent rightwingnut apologists in the U.S.

As with the economic crisis, people have been warning for a long time that the situation in Iraq is inherently unstable. Jaish al-Mahdi have been, so far, obedient to Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr, their leader. Mostly. In recent months, as blogger James Schneider notes (click above link), the Jaish al-Mahdi appears to be splintering with some of the more thuggish elements moving out of al-Sadr's control.

Now The Guardian, one of the last bastions of good journalism, offers us a look at the Sons of Iraq, or the Sunni Awakening, or whatever they're calling them this week. The Sunnis whom we supposedly armed and financed &mdash oops, it appears that we just promised them money, we forgot to pay them.

Given how good our credit is around the world, can you see why the Sunnis are not too happy?

Consider this: 80,000 armed angry Sunni fighters. Plus unknown numbers of al Qaeda in Iraq fighters. Plus Jaish al-Mahdi. Against 160,000 U.S. troops.

Sure, we have superior firepower. But superior firepower doesn't mean much when most of the country is filled with people who want you dead. Ask the French. They still remember Dien Bien Phu.

From Iraq, Mohammed blogs the fifth anniversary of the war. It is to weep bitter tears of blood.

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At 7:00 PM, Blogger James Schneider said...

Yeah that is exactly the gist. I've been following and arguing that this is the case for around 9 or 10 months. I believe this was the reason for the temporary 6 month cessation of activities. It appears that Moqtada didn't want the movement to get outwith his control and is now playing a longer game, hence the desire to become an Ayatollah. He has age on his side and I think he is carving himself out a very strong long term position. Whilst, splits and thuggish elements do show a certain weekness in coherence of the Sadrist movement, we must remember that it is far broader than just the Mahdi Army (e.g. the Virtue Party). Indeed, Moqtada isn't losing control of the movement, just clensing it. Fortunately, for supporters of the surge, this scaling down of activities for the Army has coincided with it, making its "tactical successes" appear more pronounced.
As for the Arabic, I am attempting to learn but to fill the huge gaps google translate (via firefox) is very useful as are Arabic speaking friends.

At 11:57 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Thanks. I'll be by to check on your blog when you get back from hols.


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