Saturday, March 29, 2008

Iraq at Defining Crossroads Corner-Turning Moment This Time, Really

Dear Leader apparently emerged from his bubble long enough to notice that the momentary very relative lull in violence in Iraq has passed, with military and civilian deaths on the uptick again this week. Nouri al-Maliki sprang into what he likely hoped would look like prime ministerial action by instituting a crackdown on Shiite militias in Basra, the militias responded by smacking the Iraqi army around while the Shiite-dominated police force ran for their lives, the Iraqi army responded by calling in US backups, Muqtada al-Sadr responded by ordering his Mahdi Army to spearhead a nationwide general strike, and militia members in Baghdad responded by lobbing rockets into the Green Zone on an hourly basis since Easter Sunday.

George Bush responded with a classic there-must-be-a-pony-in-here-somewhere statement:
Bush said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's crackdown in Basra against Shiite militias vying for control of the oil-rich region is a positive milestone in the birth of a democratic nation.

Naturally, the resurgent bombings and mortar attacks mean that the troop drawdowns (more accurately, the return to pre-surge levels) will probably have to stop. Because Bush can't seem to wrap his brain around the fact that the cooperation of al-Sadr was a necessary precondition for the surge to work at all, along with the continuing willingness of Sunni militias to sell us their loyalty, the extra boots must be kept on the ground. No matter what.

al-Maliki went with a force-based strategy in Basra, and it's blowing up in his face. Bush is bursting his buttons with pride as his protege trip-traps down the same route Bush took with Iraq as a whole. Positive milestone? Of course it is. If your name is Muqtada, it's fucking awesome.

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