Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

The No-Win War Gets Worse

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a drowning man encircled by sharks, who is trying cut his only lifeline by feuding with Gen. David Petraeus and asking President Bush to replace him.

His action reflects intense pressure from fellow Shiites to keep Petraeus from arming Sunni tribesmen to fight Al Qaeda insurgents from Saudi Arabia who are car-bombing U.S. troops, exposes hopes for a power-sharing central government in Iraq as a Bush pipe dream and leaves both heads of state politically trapped.

Bush is now joined at the hip with Petraeus as his only defense against growing pressure to leave by using the General’s “progress” in pacifying Iraq to keep Republican Congressmen from breaking ranks. Dumping Petraeus is unthinkable.

But al-Maliki’s bind is just as tight. Reputedly tied to Shia militias responsible for sectarian violence, the Prime Minister is far from his own man.

The resulting frustration and anger have led to “shouting matches” with the U.S. Commander, refereed by Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who only concedes that "sometimes there are sporty exchanges." Petraeus puts it less diplomatically: "We have not pulled punches with each other."

The civil war that has been predicted if the U.S. leaves is under way. What are we accomplishing by staying, other than more American deaths and humiliation over our helplessness?

2 comments:

nolocontendere said...

And the joint will really start rockin' when Turkey takes Kirkuk and Mosul.
Can we then start calling it Abattoiraq?

jfreeland said...

"when Turkey takes Kirkuk and Mosul"

I think not. Kurds would fight like hell. Turkey'd have a tiger by the tail.

Recommended reading: The End of Iraq by Peter Galbraith.