What The Surge Really Means On the Ground in Iraq

December 22, 2006 at 6:37 am | Posted in America, American politics, Iran, Iraq, King George, Military, neo-conservatives, Republicans, Saudi Arabia, War, War on Terror | Leave a comment

Vali Nasr shares with us the problem of this apparent surge. What Bush is apparently planning is a war with al-Sadr and his militia. He’s apparently wanting to flatten Sadr City. Boy, could you come up with a worse strategy?

As Vali Nasr states:

New troops will be in Iraq not to police the streets and hold the line against the creeping violence, but to expand the war by taking on the Shia militias. This is an escalation strategy. Will it work; maybe, maybe not. But it runs the risk that it may very well provoke a Shia insurgency—something Iraq has not so far witnessed. Thus far the U.S. has faced a Sunni insurgency (which by most estimates continues to account for 80% of U.S. casualties), and sectarian violence in which Shias and Sunnis are killing each other. Shia militias are violent, destructive and radical, but Shia militias are a very different problem from the Sunni insurgency. Shia militias, unlike te insurgency, are not targeting American troops. But it looks like the administration is set to change that. Over the past year Washington and its Baghdad embassy have alienated the Shia and undermined the authority of the more moderate Ayatollah Sistani. Anti-Americanism has grown in Shia ranks as they accuse U.S. of favoring Sunnis by focusing on Shia militias rather than Sunni insurgency. By going to war with the increasingly popular Sadr Washington runs the danger of losing the Shia altogether.

Wrong-headed military and political steps provoked the Sunni insurgency in 2003-04, and then more mistakes helped fuel sectarian violence in 2005-06. Another set of mistakes can turn 2007 into the year that U.S. provoked a Shia insurgency. That may prove to be the mother of all mistakes. Hell in Iraq will come when the Shia south—accounting for 60% of the country’s population, largest urban areas, oil, supply lines to Kuwait, and only gateway to the Persian Gulf—rises up against the U.S. Then we either have to get out of Iraq altogether and very quickly, or we will have to commit to many more troop surges to deal with the problems created by the first one.

We apparently can’t be supporting the Sunnis. After all, that’s where the insurgency currently stems from. Plus Saddam and Al-Qaida are Sunni also. It doesn’t matter that the Jordanians and the Saudis are also Sunni. But if we support the Shi’ites, especially those with connections with Iran, we’d be supporting Iran. And we can’t be consorting with Da Devil!

I feel sorry for whoever becomes president in 2009. What a hell of a mess you are going to have to deal with!

Christopher Dickey writes a salient piece on the terrible plan called the “surge.”

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