Petraeus No Purely Military Solution

Petraeus: No Purely Military Solution
Guerrillas capture Dhuluyia Police Station

Gen. David Petraeus said in a press conference on Thursday that ultimately there is no military solution to the violence in Iraq, and that talks must be held with groups that feel marginalized in the new political situation.

The groups that feel alienated are Sunni Arab groups. The major organizations among the Sunni Arabs are neo-Baathist and Salafi fundamentalist cells. Gen. Petraeus is wisely pointing out that those willing to compromise among these groups must be engaged and brought into negotiations. I just hope that he can convince the Kurds and the fundamentalist Shiites who now dominate the Iraqi government of this necessity.

The signs are not encouraging. Arab states’ urging of a better deal for Iraqi Sunnis absolutely infuriated Iraqi Shiites preparing for Saturday’s Baghdad summit.

He also suggested that yet more US troops may be needed. Militarily, that is no doubt so. But I fear that the domestic political winds are blowing heavily in favor of his first observation and with hurricane force against the second. The Democrats are planning to put in the supplemental budget request a provision that US troops begin coming home in March 2008 and be out by August 2008.

Reuters reports scattered bombings and shootings around the Sunni Arab regions of Iraq on Thursday. The boldest guerrilla attack came in Dhuluiya, where they took a local police station and raided it for armaments.

McClatchy explores scenarios for the future of Iraq with experts. The consensus? A failed state.

Omayma Abdel Latif examines the controversies over the “rise of the Shiite Crescent” thesis

Karen Greenberg at on Gitmo.

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