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November 17, 2007

They have met the enemy…
Posted by Avram Grumer at 07:17 PM * 14 comments

Thomas E Ricks, writing for The Washington Post:

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq — Senior military commanders here now portray the intransigence of Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government as the key threat facing the U.S. effort in Iraq, rather than al-Qaeda terrorists, Sunni insurgents or Iranian-backed militias.

Wait, I thought Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government was an Iranian-backed militia. Anyway, we’re continuing our strategy of arming the Iraqi people to fight each other:

The U.S. military approach in Iraq this year has focused on striking deals with Sunni insurgents, under which they stop fighting the Americans and instead protect their own neighborhoods. So far about 70,000 such volunteers have been enrolled — a trend that makes the Shiite-led central government nervous, especially as the movement gets closer to Baghdad.

[…] The year-long progress in fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq could carry a downside. Maj. Mark Brady, who works on reconciliation issues, noted that a Sunni leader told him: “As soon as we finish with al-Qaeda, we start with the Shiite extremists.”

The Bush administrations current plan is probably to hope that the inevitable escalation in violence holds off long enough that it’ll look like the next president’s fault.

Oh, and here, the IOZ post that got me reading the WaPost article to begin with.

Comments on They have met the enemy...:
#1 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 07:38 PM:

There is no difference these days between reality and theatre of the absurd.

#2 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 07:56 PM:

This is so F'ed up-

(chorus)how F'ed up is it?

This is so F'ed up, it makes Britney Spears look eligible for Mother of the Year award.

#3 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 08:57 PM:

That IOZ post that Avram links to is brilliant. Everyone should read it.

#4 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 09:55 PM:

How much trust should I put in the Asia Times Online?

I ask because this post reminded me, for some reason, of this article:

"One of my buddies is in Baghdad right now and we email all the time," he explained, "He just told me that nearly each day they pull into a parking lot, drink soda and shoot at the cans. They pay Iraqi kids to bring them things and spread the word that they are not doing anything and to please just leave them alone."

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and that quote is, well, extraordinary.

Thus my question: Is this a reliable news source?

#5 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 09:57 PM:

Yeah. I read that WaPo article, and thought, Wait a minute. The Americans are giving the Sunni militias weaponry in hopes that this will somehow lower the level of violence? Riiight.

Situation Normal, All F*cked Up. Again. And again.

#6 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 12:04 AM:

I think events in Iraq in the last few months are good evidence that the Bush administration has no plan for Iraq; they're just throwing things at the wall and hoping something sticks. If something does, they'll take credit for it, of course. Just like they're taking credit for the reduction in violence in the south of Iraq*, and not talking about the fact that the north, which until the surge was quite secure, is becoming the primary battle ground.

* "The surge is working!"

#7 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 01:01 AM:

Yeah, once Turkey decides to solve the Kurdish Problem once and for all (using their Armenian tradition as a guide), things will get even messier than before. One wonders what it would take to get Turkey kicked out of NATO.

#8 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 02:30 AM:

Earl @7: nobody gets kicked out of NATO, especially when they are as strategically placed as Turkey.

John @4: who cares about Asia Times Online? The post links to WaPo, which in the U.S. is still considered reliable (if anything, in these days of post-9/11 self-imposed "patriotic" censorship, pro-Bush most of the time).

#9 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 07:28 AM:


The one post just brought the other to mind, and that reminded me I've never been able to get a read on how reliable Asia Times Online is, so I thought I'd ask here while bringing their story up.

#10 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 09:22 AM:

I thought Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government was an Iranian-backed militia

Of course not.

It's SEVERAL Iranian-backed militias...

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 09:54 AM:

And ... ethnic violence will go down in an area after the ethnic cleansing is complete. No matter how hard you try you can only kill a given person once.

#12 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 10:28 AM:

Jim Macdonald #11: And will then turn into border conflict as each ethnic group seeks to maximise its exclusive territory.

#13 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Fragano #12: Which will then require a temporary troop surge to contain...

#14 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2007, 04:06 AM:

Improper phrase: "Why do they hate us?"

Proper phrase: "Why do they pity us?"

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