Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Beat Goes On in Iraq

and mostly on the back pages of the paper.

At Least 5 Dead, Others Wounded in Blast in Western Iraq -

Obama wants to start pulling troops out soon, and send them on to Afghanistan, but the upcoming provincial elections are ratcheting up tensions (= killings), and the national elections are planned for late this year. Things to consider:

If violence persists or rises, but Obama nonetheless authorizes withdrawals of troops, how soon will Republicans start screaming that Obama is "losing the war" that George Bush had "won"? How can Obama move ahead with his economic reconstruction if Republicans are pounding him on Iraq?

Can Iraqi prime minister Maliki survive a "surge" in violence? Will Iraqi military and police forces be (a) strong enough and (b) reliable enough to provide security for the elections? Might Maliki decide to impose a kind of martial law? If so, how soon before he's labeled a Shiite "Saddam Lite"?

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