US “Defeated Politically” in al-Anbar: Marine Report
1 US Soldier, 42 Others Dead in Violence
58% of Americans say the Iraq War has not been worth the loss of American lives.
A confidential Marine Corps intelligence report on al-Anbar Province concludes that there are no functioning governmental institutions there, that the vacuum is filled by groups such as al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, and that the US has been defeated politically even if not militarily.
These conclusions have long been obvious to any close observer of the situation there. There was significant violence in Fallujah on Sunday, and it had even been destroyed by the US. Ramadi saw a firefight Saturday, and the whole city appears to be under constant siege by US forces. The Sunni Arab tribes of Anbar are openly agitating for Saddam Hussein to be released! There is no point in keeping all those US troops there. They will just steadily be blown up or picked off. Hold provincial elections, hand the keys of the cities to the new govenors, and withdraw over the horizon. The Shiites and Kurds will have to reach an accommodation with them, and it would be all to the good if they knew that the Americans were no longer going to try to keep the Sunni Arabs down for them.
The NYT says that the attempt of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Shiite bloc in parliament to fast-track through parliament approval of an 8-province southern confederacy is in danger of toppling the national unity government. Sunni MPs say they only signed on to the political process because they were promised that the constitution would be open to review and such issues as regional confederacies reconsidered. The revision of the constitution has not even begun, and al-Hakim seems to them to be side-stepping that process with his proposal.
Al-Hayat says that [Ar.] the 32 MPs of the Sadr Movement in parliament and members of the Fadhila (Virtue) Party all defected Sunday from the position of their coalition leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. They joined the opposition to a system of loose federal government presiding over big super-Regions cobbled together from several existing provinces. Al-Hayat maintains that their rebellion halted progress of a bill introduced by al-Hakim that would recognize an 8-province Shiite confederal region in the South. They joined a boycott of the parliamentary session staged also by other, mainly Sunni parties: The Iraqi Accord Front, the National Dialogue Front, the Iraqi National List, the Reconciliation list, and the Liberation list. This protest caused the speaker of the house and his two deputies to postpone the broaching of the plan until two parliamentary committees– the legislation committee and the committee on regions and provinces– had a chance to study it.
An anonymous Kurdish MP told al-Hayat that the issue of federalism was decided with regard to Kurdistan, and any attempt to go back to centralized government would provoke the break-up of Iraq.
A painful realization is setting in that it is more and more likely that Iraq is going to be partitioned. Like Adnan Pachachi, I continue to resist it. I think Barzani will be reined in, and I think al-Hakim will be, too. But I have to admit that things don’t look good.
US and Iraqi troops are trying to crack down on militiamen posing as police in Baghdad.
Six bodies turned up in the river at Kut, victims of political violence. Al-Sharq al-Awsat says that altogether 14 bodies were found throughout Iraq.
Reuters reports on civil war violence on Sunday in Iraq, with at least 28 killed. (For a total of at least 43). Major incidents:
TUZ KHURMATO – Four oil workers from Iraq’s biggest refinery at Baiji were killed by gunmen as they drove close to the northern town of Tuz Khurmato, hospital and police sources said. A fifth man was wounded. . .
BAGHDAD A car bomb exploded in the street as police were leaving [Karrada where they found an explosives cache], killing three and wounding 14 people, mostly policemen.
BAGHDAD – Three people were killed and 15 wounded when a bomb exploded in a popular market in Bab al-Sharji in central Baghdad, police said.
BAQUBA – Clashes between two Sunni and Shi’ite districts in the town of Baquba 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad killed five people and wounded 14, police said, adding that mortars had been fired during the violence.
BAQUBA – Gunmen killed police General Majeed al-Mani and two of his bodyguards while he was on a shopping trip in Baquba, police said.
FATHA – Iraqi soldiers killed four insurgents when they repelled an ambush on a road near the town of Fatha southwest of Kirkuk on Saturday, the Iraqi army said. . .