First, season's greetings, everyone.
However, the world wends on . . . and Frank Rich has published a marvelous essay in today's NYT that pulls so much together in terms of where we stand as a nation right now, amidst an election season and ongoing occupation of Iraq. Speaking of which, the Times also has a reasonably detailed report on an incident yesterday when US forces killed 6 Sunni Iraqis who seem to have been members of the Awakening militias who've signed on to assist the US. Some of those groups have either decided to stop cooperating with the US forces or are threatening to do so, either because they're not getting paid on time or because they're beginning to feel a bit disrespected in general by those forces. Let's be honest here: many of them are in it for the money. In essence, the US has bought itself a bunch of local Sunni tribal militias to go after "al-Qaeda" (to which many members of those militias belonged till recently - or still do; they must be having a good laugh or two at the expense of their American "sucker" paymasters).
We're also buying ourselves, however, a larger civil war down the line. We've armed, in some cases helped train, and pledged support to a number of rival militias now: these "Sunni Awakening" forces, the rival Badr forces of the ISCI party led by Mr. al-Hakim (many of whom are also members of the largely Shia army and police that are supposedly under the control of Prime Minister al-Maliki's Green Zone government in Baghdad - which have been receiving arms and training from the US); and the Kurdish peshmerga, which are the outgrowth of the militias of the two dominant political parties - and families - that now comprise the leadership of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) as well as control the presidency of the current Iraqi government. The Badr force/Iraqi army and police have been lately (with backup from US troops and air power) going after the Mahdi Army militia of Muqtada al-Sadr, the fierce rival of the al-Hakim family, which controls ISCI - which, BTW, also receives support from Iran. It's all quite byzantine, isn't it?
If I may borrow from a metaphor used by Mr. Obama, who noted how Hillary Clinton's vote in favor of the 2003 invasion had driven the US "bus" into the ditch . . . Some are of the opinion that the now about to end "Surge" may have gotten that bus back onto the road. But, in fact, by supporting all these violently competing elements in the Iraqi socio-political framework, the US is likely assembling another mega-IED that may ultimately blow that bus off the road and even deeper into that ditch, where it - and the future of Iraq, if there even can be an "Iraq" anymore - may be mired, up to the hood, for a long, long time.
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- Crisis unfolds in Iraq
- Basra's turmoil
- A new monkey-wrench in the works? (or stick in the...
- In this season of peace . . .
- A must-read in today's Washington Post
- Old hatreds - and "Deciders" - persist
- And this guy wants to be president?!
- NY Times asks the "experts" for retrospectives on ...
- Fine review of a book that will draw notice
- US launches deadly missile strike into Pakistan
- Bush on serving in Afghanistan
- Iran elections; Iraq violence increasing; and pros...
- 12 March: the US loses a leader
- JR's recommended reading for Monday, 10 March
- excellent essay by Gideon Levy, in Haaretz
- Israel approves West Bank construction
- On the Jerusalem Seminary Shootings
- Dark Days, about to get darker
- The USS Cole and "Syrian behavior"
- "Moving to Baghdad" - a must-read piece in today's...
- Clinton v. Obama: Now what?
- Identity crisis for young Iraqis?
- Will Iraqis really "like" America once the America...
- more comment on the situation in Gaza
- The Gaza Genocide
- The Bullies Converge. The Results are Deadly.
- ▼ March (26)