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Monday, August 07, 2006
IRAQ'S PRIME MINISTER, NOURI al-MALIKI got President Bush's pledge to pour more troops into Baghdad -- a promise that virtually foreclosed major withdrawals before November's midterm elections. Al-Maliki also urged Congress to send more reconstruction aid. And he warned the UNited States not to abandon Iraq, as it did after the Persian Gulf War when it stood aside as Saddam Hussein crused a Shiite rebellion.

Why is the United States in Iraq? That is the question that is increasingly difficult for the White House to answer coherently -- and honestly. Bush noted that the horrific and intensifying violence in Uraq of recent weeks is "terrible". But who -- and what -- is the enemy?
Sectarian violence is now the main problem in Iraq. But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants U.S. troops to remian. Consequently, when he spoke to Congress, he depicted the fight in Iraq as a struggle pitting lovers of democracy againts "terrorists" connected to those who attacked the United States on Sept. 11,2001.

The cause -- despite al-Maliki's Bush-like rhetoric -- is no longer combating jihadists. It's making Iraq safe from Iraqi religious extremists. Al-Maliki's government cannot protect Iraqis' from their own neighbors, so he is looking to Bush tobe his nations's cop on the beat. But can the U.S. military be an effective polic force in a society increasingly plagued by sectarian violence that has little, if anything, to do with the fight against al-Qaida and Islamic jihadism?
(David Corn, the Nation)

Whatever one thinks about the number of U.S. tropps overall in Iraq, there is no question too few have been deployed in the capital. So, news that American troops will be redeploying from relatively peaceful areas of the country to help out in Baghadad is encouraging.

There is an almost willful defeatism in these criticisms of our position in Iraq, as if the only point is to prove that we should never have toppled Saddam Hussein in the first place. But what is truly unrealistic is to think that the United States has any choice now but to win in Iraq. The regional mess we'd inevitably have to clean up if we lose could make out current difficulties look like child's play.
(Opinion Journal -- Wall Street Journal)

With the war now mainly a fight for Baghdad between Sunnis and Shites, another focus should be on a new plan to reconcile the two sides with an amnesty.

An offer of forigeness was made last month by al-Maliki. On July 22, an Iraqi national commission on reconciliation, made up of leaders of various political and religious stripes, met for the first time -- although some Sunni leaders did not attend. Iraq will need to tread carefully in choosing which insurgents should be punished or forgiven. Right now the offer is extended only to "those who have not takne part in criminal and terrotists acts and war crimes and crimes against humanity." That may exclude many insurgents but not the thousands of supporters working behind the scenes.

Al-Maliki has asked Iraqis to unite their splintered nation with "brotherhood and love." For Arab Sunnis and Shiites to see their own futures that together is a leap of faith. Having an amnesty "bridge" may help them do it.
(Christian Science Monitor)

Baghdad has descended into complete anarchy, as near as I can tell. We have police investigating in northern Iraq who are scared to drive down there to attend an investigator's course for fear they will be stopped by Sunni or Shia checkpoints and killed. And these guys are police! This is the dark side of the big shift in the U.S. strategy/presence over the last year. As we've reduced our forces, dissengaged from the cities and consolidated on masive super-FOBs (forward operating bases), we have lost the ability to impose our will on the streets of Iraq. It's frustrating.
(U.S. soldier's e-mail to andrewsullivan.com)

Civil war is raging across central Iraq. Baghdad is splitting into hostile and heavily armed districts. Minonirites, be they Sunni or Shia, are being killed or forced to flee. It is at this moment that the new Iraqi prime minister travelled to his sponsors in the West.

Al-Maliki's visit, during which he spoke confidently about disarming militias, has more to do with the White House's domestic political agenda than with the dire reality of Iraq. The American adminsitration wants to have live Iraqis say in the lead-up to midterm elections in November that progress is being made.

Can anything be done to lead Iraq out of this savage civil war? Friction between Shia, Sunni and Kurd was always likely after the fall of Saddam. But what has divided the communites most is their differing attitudes to foreign occupation. Ending this is essential if this was is to be brought to an end.
(Patrick Cockburn,CounterPunch)

Our troops are doing all they can -- and our cause remains just and good. It's too early to walk away. But the Iraqis have to get their act together. We can't keep the training wheels on the bicycle forever.

We should never publicize a timetable for a troop withdrawl, but here's what Bush shoild shave told al-Maliki: "We'll give you six months. If your government can't produce a unified response to sectarian violence that treats all sides impartially, we'll withdraw our troops and our support. Then you can fight it out among yourselves".

Failure in Iraq would be a victory for terror. In the short run. But the terrotists might then find themselves mired in along and crippling struggle. An Iraqi civil war might become al-Qaidas' Vietnam, not ours.
(Ralph Peters, New York Post)

posted by infraternam meam @ 12:41 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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