Monday, August 21, 2006

Forward Together (Part 2)

Bombs Aimed at G.I.'s in Iraq Are Increasing

… … …

Bush administration officials now admit that Iraqi government's original plan to rein in the violence in Baghdad, announced in June, has failed. The Pentagon has decided to rush more American troops into the capital, and the new military operation to restore security there is expected to begin in earnest next month.

Yet some outside experts who have recently visited the White House said Bush administration officials were beginning to plan for the possibility that Iraq's democratically elected government might not survive.

"Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy,"
said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.

"Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect," the expert said, "but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy."

New York Times [Emphasis added - mfi]

There's been surprisingly little discussion about the underlying assumption in this story. Neither the status quo, nor the status quo ante are even remotely like democracy. The original US assumption was that was that any resistance to occupation amongst the hitherto dominant Sunni minority would be outweighed and overmatched by a grateful (and pro-USA) Shi'ite majority. When that didn't work the US occupiers plumped for working with a de-facto alliance between the secular Kurds [the KDP and PUK ] and the conservative sectarian Shiite movement SCIRI. SCIRI the reasoning went would work with the Kurds to prevent the emergence of a nationalist and pan-Iraq resistance. This strategy worked in 2004 but was overtaken by events. Specifically it was overtaken by the transformation of passive resistance to the occupation into active support for armed resistance even in the overwhelmingly Shi'ite south. At this point the occupiers opted for divide et impera. Special Police Commandos and the Badr corps death squads operating out of the Defense and Interior ministries targeted both Sunni leaders and the Mehdi militia. The results from a news point of view have been spectacularly gruesome but have failed to.

  • Disrupt the growing connections between al-Sadr's movement and Sunni militias.
  • Reduce the level of dissatisfaction with the green zone government's performance.
  • Reduce the level of attacks upon occupation forces.

Public dissent is now such that Maliki was forced to reshuffle his cabinet and criticise and apologise for the recent combined US/Iraqi attack on Sadr city. Far from dropping NYT article makes plain the level of attacks upon occupation forces has escalated and that the attacks are growing both in scale and sophistication as are the attacks upon areas controlled by SCIRI. the traditional Shi'ite establisment is becoming worried that they can no longer restrain their followers:

"We fear the coming of a day when we cannot restrain a revolution of the people, with all its unsavoury consequences." Grand Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi reported in Azaman [AR].

So now the US is considering getting rid of 'their' man?

"Al-Maliki became prime minister only because the U.S. and Britain were determined to get rid of his predecessor, Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Al-Maliki is inexperienced, personally isolated without his own kitchen cabinet, guarded by U.S. guards and heavily reliant on shadowy U.S. advisers.

The quasi-colonial nature of the Iraqi government may not be obvious to outsiders who see that it has been democratically elected. But its independence has always been a mirage."

Such a step would be a disaster for the occupation. Its effect would be to galvanise the various resistance movements into unity and greatly assist al-Sadr's attempts to create a pan-Iraqi political coalition. The US has already committed the bulk of its reserve from Kuwait and would need to send in thousands more troops into Baghdad alone. I can't see that happening given the state of American public opinion. The interesting thing about this story is the mere fact that they should be considering such a step. It indicates the the dire straits in which the occupation finds itself.


Notes: See also Forward Together and It's Election Season In America

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