Colonial logic is always circular. Thus, Condi Rice: the US needs to stay in Iraq to protect the US from Iraq. Also, the US needs to stay in Iraq to protect Iraq from Iran. The next part of the circle will be that the US needs to stay in Iran to accomplish both of these aims much more efficiently.
Robert Reid of AP reports that Iraqi politicians in Baghdad feel *no* pressure to move forward quickly with reforms or reconciliation, in part because they are assured that Bush will keep a big US troop presence in Iraq through early January 2009. Money graf:
‘ Iraq’s national security adviser was asked Wednesday to explain why the government has been so slow to enact power-sharing agreements that Washington deems necessary for lasting peace. He had nothing new to offer. “Of course we want to do it, but they are so complicated,” Mouwaffak al-Rubaie said. ‘
Fred Kaplan thinks the senators showed more gumption in receiving the Crocker/ Petraeus report than had the congressmen.
Tina Susman of the LAT reports on reactions to the testimony among Iraqis. Her general conclusions are that the fundamentalist Shiite bloc, which is in power, liked the upbeat parts; the Sunni Arab bloc, which is in opposition, liked the negative/ realistic parts; an ordinary Iraqi said the US troops were hated occupiers but shouldn’t leave yet because they were helping keep order. And secular ex-Baathist and former appointed prime minister Iyad Allawi thought it was irrelevant and didn’t bother to listen in:
‘ There is nothing new that it was going to tell us,” said Allawi, whose Iraq National Accord holds 22 seats in the parliament. “What’s going on here is not that good: sectarianism, violence, no institutions, services almost totally halted.” A few minutes earlier, a loud bomb had gone off at a busy intersection about half a mile from his Baghdad office. Police said the blast killed one civilian and injured five. ‘
Susman also reports that the “al-Anbar model” of paying and arming Sunni tribes and mafias to fight the Salafi Jihadis probably won’t work in other provinces. One US military officer asserted, “There is no Anbar model.”
Hundreds of Shiite and Sunni Iraqis marched in protest on Wednesday against the barrier the US military is putting in to separate the Ghazaliya (Sunni) and Shu’la (increasingly Shiite) neighborhoods in Baghdad. Such physical separation of districts has been a major tool for the military in cutting down on death squad violence.