Maliki and Bush Pledge Troops to Baghdad
32 Dead in Scattered Violence
In a tense and awkward news conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and President Bush pledged that more US troops would be brought to Baghdad. There has already been an increase from something like 44,000 to 55,000 in recent weeks, but apparently they think they need another full division.
They will embed US Military Police with Iraqi police, presumably to cut down on death squad activity by the friendly Iraqi men in blue.
There is nothing obvious in this plan that would make you think it will succeed where other such plans have not. And, if they are moving US troops from someplace else to Baghdad, wherever they moved from would be in danger of falling into instability. This thing has become a shell game.
The big success story stressed by Bush and Maliki was the withdrawal of the British troops from the small Muthanna province in the south (pop. 500,000). Note that officials in the provincial capital, Samawa, complained that they weren’t ready to take over their own security, that there have been a series of police riots there, and that if there is any order it is imposed by the Badr Corps, an Iran-trained Shiite paramilitary. Maliki promised further withdrawals, and one can predict the same sorts of outcome.
Shiite nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday condemned the visit of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to Washington. Sadr wants a US withdrawal from his country, and says he is afraid Maliki will give away the store to Bush.
Reuters gives us its daily “Night of the Living Dead” round up of civil war violence in Iraq. I count 32 dead in these items, and I’m sure the report is not complete.
Bush’s options in the Lebanon crisis are limited by his engagements in Iraq, Bloomberg News says.