Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Report: Maliki Orders Lifting of Checkpoints Around Sadr City

Story here.

Pretty much the same story last couple of weeks. A high level member of the Mahdi Army is captured and then the Prime Minister personally releases the man. The US Army sets up roadblocks in Sadr City (their stronghold, east Baghdad) and Maliki orders them down.

Maliki only got into power by the slimest margin (remember former Prime Minister al Jaffari?) through the vote of Sadr. The Army is in many ways a front for the Mahdi Army, who is also busy fighting the police, who are infiltrated by their Shia milita rivals the SCIRI--Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, led by Abdul Aziz al Hakim.

The US keeps talking about taking on the Shia militia, which angers the Shia who see the real enemy as the Sunni-led insurgency. The Shia militias, not the US Army or the Iraqi green-zone government, are what protect Shia on the street.

Bush's plan of building up a central gov't, a army, and then leaving shows its weakness here. The Shia use the Army, Police, and militas as a unified strategy of protection, building up power. There is no unified Iraq--who wants this other than Bush? The Shia want any means whereby to consolidate their power and the elected govt is just one (and actually probably a small one) of achieving that end. The Shia are loyal to the Shia not the notion of a unified Iraq, secular, democratic, and an ally in the war on terror. What would they care about such nonsense?

The Army is a sectarian force which is why the Sunnis do not trust it. The Sunni Insurgency is really at this point the Sunni militia for defense of Sunnis.

If Sadr's people went off again--as they did during 2003/4--the US would be facing a two-prong insurgency from both Sunni and Shia. The government would fall if Sadr withdrew his support and could turn large portions of the Army, who are more loyal to him than a united Iraqi state, to a larger scale civil war.

Lost in Maliki's rhetoric of the past days about not being America's guy, wanting the Americans out in six months bc he believes the Iraqi Army (hint, hint) can take of the security problem: what he means is that the Shia, militias and Army included, would destroy the Sunni in numbers we do not want to imagine.

It wouldn't stop the suicide bombings, probably only increase them. But the Sunni, lost in their rhetoric and attacks on the US, are scared. Are deeply afraid of the Shia now. If the US leaves, it will be a Sunni bloodbath, with the Kurds on the sidelines.

The Sunnis do not want in on this government, the Shia don't want them. The Kurds don't care. The US just keeps a lid for now on the whole thing blowing up Rwanda-style, but is not leaving any stability to go forward. Every side is just keeping their guns watiing for the Americans to exit.


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