Questions about Readiness of Iraqi Army
New US Assault
The strategy of the Bush administration in Iraq depends heavily on standing up battle-ready units of the new Iraqi army. The USA Today quotes experts on how unrealistic that plan is in the short to medium term.
I have heard from contacts in Iraq that the soldiers in the new army often don’t get their paychecks, and aren’t properly equipped, and sometimes are reduced to selling their bullets on the black market. Guess who buys them?
A further step in the break-up of Iraq: according to the LA Times, the Kurdish regional confederacy is giving a Norwegian oil company the right to develop new oil fields in its area without consulting the federal government in Baghdad. The Kurds and Norwegians maintain that this is legal according to the new Iraqi constitution, which devolves control over natural resources discovered in the future to the provinces or provincial confederacies. Next the Shiites in the South will do the same thing. Baghdad will be starved of these new revenue streams, and the provinces will have their own source of income. I don’t see how the country stays together this way, or how the central goverment ever amounts to anything.
Reuters reports on severe Sunni-Shiite tensions deriving from political assassinations, even among Iraqis who are trying to forge electoral alliances across the sectarian divide.
The British government is investigating the trophy video that shows mercenaries in Iraq shooting at civilians on the roadway.
The US military has launched yet another operation in western Iraq, on the eve of the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. The UN had asked the US to stop these operations, which disrupt Anbar province and make it difficult for people there to vote, until after the polls. Bush and Rumsfeld clearly just don’t care about those concerns, and want to create the image that they are accomplishing something in Iraq. They will never pacify those little Sunni Arab towns over near Syria; all they can do is make people run away from them temporarily.