Saturday, November 25, 2006

Collapse in Iraq

The Shia Mahdi army is giving some massive payback for the bombings in Sadr City yesterday, and politicians loyal to Moktada al-Sadr say they will withdraw from the government--effectively destroying it--if Iraqi president Nuri al-Maliki so much as meets with George Bush.

So if we stay in Iraq, whose side are we on in the civil war? It is silly to pretend, that there is some nonsectarian legitimate government that we are backing. The government is simply a battlefield for the sects. I mean this quite literally. Al-Sadr controls the Health Minsitry, and as a result is headquarters was attacked by Sunni militiamen today.

So whose side of the civil war are we on? Sadr wants us to leave, probably because in the Madhi army would come out on top of the ensuing chaos. In general, I think the Shia would benefit from our departure: they would almost immediately be able to establish their own state in the south, and as the majority nationwide could probably wind up dominating the Baghdad area as well. So are we in Iraq to protect the Sunni? The main Sunni faction I'm familiar with are the Baathist resistance? So we are there to protect Saddam's old guard?

Meanwhile, the Bush administration dispatch simply makes no sense. This is from the NYTimes:
"These ruthless acts of violence are deplorable. It is an outrage that these terrorists are targeting innocent civilians in a brazen effort to topple a democratically elected government. These killers will not succeed.”

He also repeated the administration’s insistence that Iraq was not in a civil war. “We’re constantly asked that question, and while the situation is serious, Prime Minister Maliki and President Talabani have said they do not believe it is a civil war,” he said.
The killers were not primarily attempting to topple a democratically elected government. The killers are, for now, the largest bloc in that government. The killers were avenging the attacks that occurred yesterday against their people. The Bush administration is unable to acknowledge this fact, though, because for them the violence yesterday was another act by "the terrorists" against the democratically elected government. The attacks today can't be vengeance for the attacks yesterday if they were both committed by "the terrorists." Jackasses.


Mrs. Coulter said...

We've been arguing about this for a while in our household. I'm saying that it's too broken to fix (despite my guilt at our responsibility for breaking it) and that we need to get out as soon as possible--civil war in inevitable no matter what we do. Maybe we should partition, but I don't see the point unless we can somehow guarantee the partition, which seems unlikely. Lee says that we may be able to slow the spiral and prevent some number of civilian deaths, but if we really want to win a sustainable peace, we need to pick a side and support them in the civil war, since civil wars are more likely to end in a sustainable peace if one side wins an overwhelming victory. OK, I told him, Which one? That he couldn't answer. The Shi'a? The Sunni? But yes, the current government is completely frelled and has been captured by the parties in the civil war. The violence is not simply an attack on the government...

The Ripper said...

Great post, thank you. I don't know if you saw this article/video of Saddam and his inner circle right before the war, but I found it fascinating...

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

What a weird video. (For those who don't click through, Saddam's aides demonstrate for him some really lo-tech weapons that might be used against an occupying force: slingshots, crossbows, Molotov cocktails.)

If this was Saddam's plan for the insurgency, then he has nothing to do with what actually happened. The real how-to books for the insurgency were written by people who knew what they were doing. IED's, truck bombs, and suicide bombers are much more effective weapons. I doubt those crossbows could actually penetrate American body armor.

[Linguistic/conceptual problem: are both kids of weapons (Saddam's medieval arsenal and the actual weapons of insurgency) equally well described as "low tech"? Are IED's more high tech solely in virtue of being more effective?]