Bush Hints that he Will send More Troops
Dozens Killed in Continued Violence
Bush seems likely to try the “surge” tactic in Iraq of putting in substantially more troops, perhaps 20,000, in an attempt to take Baghdad and clear it of ‘terrorists.’
Hope springs eternal in the human breast, which is the only explanation for adopting this stupid idea. The Iraqi masses are now politically mobilized, and they are well armed. There are 27 million Iraqis, and some 6 million of them in the Sunni Arab areas. 20,000 US troops is a drop in the bucket. Some are saying the US should try to destroy the (Shiite) Mahdi Army. The Mahdi Army is an urban social movement, and cannot be destroyed by conventional military forces. Bush is about to take us on another destructive wild goose chase.
Bush will come to Congress for another $100 bn. for Iraq and Afghanistan (it mostly goes to Iraq). Bush puts this money “off budget” and then reporters don’t count it as part of the budget deficit!
Iraqi national security adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubaie suggested a new security plan for Baghdad, involving turning over patrols of more neighborhods to Iraqi troops. This has been tried before and it does not work.
Former appointed PM Iyad Allawi is calling for martial law in Iraq. Martial law is something you do when you have a strong army, and politics has broken down and threatens security. It isn’t something you do when you have a green and ineffective army and the political negotiations are ongoing.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that Iraqi Shiite cleric and politician, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim said Wednesday that Iraq has become a base for terror and that no one is happy with the state of security in the country.
Al-Hakim recently called for US troops to remain in Iraq.
Ben Lando of UPI reports that negotiations between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government over who is in control of petroleum found in Kurdistan and what the terms will be for its development are stalled. Qubad Talabani, the KRG spokesman, said that the Kurds would no longer be held hostage by Baghdad. The idea, seemingly enshrined in the Iraqi constitution, that regional governments can claim 100% control of all new gas and petroleum reserves is a way of guaranteeing the break-up of Iraq. Lando writes:
‘ News reports over the weekend claimed a deal on the oil law was close, though Talabany explained each glossed over major remaining issues.
He said while the Kurds have compromised on oil revenue sharing and allowing the central government to be responsible for this collecting and redistributing it, “the mechanisms for distribution of revenues have not been agreed upon yet.”
He said oversight, technical and constitutional details “to ensure regions get their share of revenues” have not been finalized. This comes from the fear a central government, be it fueled by greed or a sectarian agenda, will not deliver on the money a region may be due. ‘
Jordan and Iraq may sign a protocol on security cooperation. Something like 15% of Jordan’s population is now made up of expatriate Iraqis, and its own security is wrought up with that of Iraq (which is to say that that little kingdom is in big danger as we speak).
Some say there are as many as a million Iraqis in Syria, or around 5% of the some 19 million population. The UN High Commission on Refugees has run out of money to help them.
A kind reader sent along a link to this article from the SF Chronicle on Prince Turki al-Faisal, who recently resigned as Saudi Ambassador to the US. Excerpt:
‘ On the future of Iraq, Turki is encouraging direct negotiations with Iran and Syria, and is cautioning Washington not to consider partitioning Iraq into separate states of Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites. ‘
That doesn’t sound very much like Riyadh’s foreign policy, and may be among the reasons Prince Turki is outgoing. If so, a shame.
Reuters reports political violence in Iraq on Wednesday. Dozens died from car bombings and assassinatons.
Be sure to catch the new Engelhardt and Schwarz pieces at Tomdispatch.com.
Check out this new Iraq news site, Iraqslogger.
Peter Bergen and Michael Lind argue that terrorism is fueled not by poverty but by humiliation.