Monday, May 07, 2007

The US goes into partnership with al-Sadr's Mahdi Army on security.

Forget all the happy horse manure you hear out of the Bush Administration about requiring Maliki to curb the Shiite militias - the US army is now partnering with elements of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army on security in Baghdad.

Here's the dilemma for General Petraeus, especially given the political climate in Washington: do we risk fierce battles by confronting the Shiite militias and death squads targeting the Sunnis or do we deal with "moderates" in Moqtada al-Sadr's Iran armed and trained Mahdi Army?

It's not surprising that General Petraeus opted for the path of least resistance. He doesn't have much choice.

With tacit American approval, militiamen loyal to the Mahdi Army and anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr set up impromptu checkpoints and patrol alleys day and night in Shiite areas of Baghdad.

I saw this coming a few months ago when US forces allowed the militias to remain armed and keep their weaponry `for defence.'

A focal point of the Shiite area of control is Kazimiyah, a Shiite neighborhood that is the site of the mosque of Imam Kadhim, the most revered Shiite shrine in Baghdad. The Mahdi Army totally controls the area....especially since the Iran friendly Shiite dominated Iraqi government we put in place passed legislation banning U.S. troops from within two-thirds of a mile of the shrine.

This legislation was proposed by al-Sadr's bloc in the legislature and passed the day after a fire fight between U.S. troops and Mahdi fighters, which ended up with a number of Iraqi troops turning on their US allies, fighting alongside the Mahdi Army and tossing weapons and ammo to the Mahdi Army fighters.

Ummm, that would be the Iraqi security forces we've spent billions arming and training.....

In the Shiite areas, the Mahdi Army now controls things for the most part, and the Shiite government has even sent them reinforcements, including more than 300 men dispatched by Bahaa al-Araji, a member of al-Sadr's bloc in parliament. The Iraqi government is still in the process of issuing them weapons, but the entire force is believed to have come from the Mahdi Army.

What's more, the Shiite militiamen are rapidly infiltrating most Iraqi army, National Police and local police units in the Shiite areas. Which, of course means ethnic cleansing and concentration for the Sunnis while the US looks the other way.

At this point, the US army has apparently simply decided that the Shiite militias are so entrenched that it's easier to to leave the Mahdi Army in control of its strongholds and concentrate on fighting al-Qaeda in Anbar. And of course, on getting ready to leave fairly quickly.

My money's on Iraq breaking into two or three parts along ethnic lines as soon as we're gone.

Of course, we could have accomplished that half a trillion dollars and three thousand lives ago and ended up with a firm ally and bases in a strong and independent Kurdistan.

But that would have upset people like our Eternal Friends the Saudis, I suppose.

At this point, a major military victory has been mostly squandered and we're reduced to collaborating with a bunch of murderers and fanatics backed by our enemies in Iran .


1 comment:

Anonymous said... for that kurdistan idea, the only friend the kurds have are the hills & mountains ..........