Cole in Salon: “Is the Bush Surge already Failing
My bi-weekly column at Salon.com is out:
Is the Bush surge already failing?
The president just gave a rosy assessment of his plan, but insurgents have adapted and Iraqis continue to be slaughtered. . .
Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division and Iraqi National policemen patrol the Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, on March 6, 2007.
March 8, 2007 | On Tuesday, President Bush said that “even at this early hour, there are some encouraging signs” that the so-called surge is working in Iraq. In fact, three weeks into what the president refers to as the “surge” and what Iraqis call the “new security plan,” it’s already clear that Bush’s last-gasp bid for victory faces challenges that can’t necessarily be surmounted by a few thousand additional troops.
With plenty of warning of the U.S. escalation, the Shiite Mahdi Army is lying low. Meanwhile, the Iraqi army and the much better equipped and trained U.S. military have made no appreciable progress against the real drivers of the country’s civil war, Sunni Arab guerrillas, who have so far adapted successfully to the new deployments. And perhaps most important, a new spate of massive and deadly bombings has spread insecurity and further compromised the Iraqi government. ‘
Guerrillas killed three US troops on Wednesday northwest of Baghdad.
In Iraq on Wednesday, major violence continued against Iraq pilgrims and the police guarding them. Guerrillas detonated a car bomb in the southern Baghdad district of Saidiya, which killed a policeman and 7 Shiite pilgrims, and wounded 27. In Iskandariya south of Baghdad, guerrillas lobbed mortar shells at Shiite pilgrims, killing 6 and wounding 13.
In the small city of Baladruz northeast of Baghdad, Sunni Arab guerrillas bombed a cafe, killing 30 and wounding 25.
Altogether, the wire services reported 90 dead in violence for Wednesday.
Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that the Islamic Virtue Party (Fadila), with 15 seats in parliament, has announced that it is withdrawing from the United Iraqi Alliance, the coalition of Shiite fundamentalist parties. Leader Nadim al-Jabiri said the move was intended to underline the need of Iraqi parties to leave behind the sectarian framework that has bedevilled the country’s politics. But the Virtue Party first began talking about withdrawing when it was not given the ministry of petroleum.
An Israeli newspaper, Maariv, is reporting that a retired Israeli officer has been exporting high-powered weapons to Iraqi guerrillas. The report is summarized in English here.