Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bad News From Iraq

As is required by Congress, the Pentagon reported on the situation in Iraq, and the report was, to say the least, not so good. It detailed few gains in infrastructure development and contained no promises, or even predictions, of US troop reductions in the near future. One piece of good news was that the Iraqi Army is growing in size and competence, and is beginning to take larger responsibility for providing security around the country.

But, by far the most disappointing news was that "the Sunni Arab heart of the Iraqi insurgency seems likely to hold its strength the rest of the year, and some of its leaders are now collaborating with al-Qaida terrorists." Specifically, the report predicts that "rejectionist strength will likely remain steady throughout 2006, but that their appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."

I've blogged before about the critical need to convince the Sunnis that their interests are with the nascent Iraqi government, and it seems that neither the US nor the Iraqi government has done a great job of this so far. One would have to assume that the recent rash of bombings are doing much to undermine Sunni confidence in the government, as well as continued reports of Shiite death squads operating as government police or soldiers.

The US and Great Britain needs to get a tighter grasp of the situation inside of the Iraqi government. The coalition took it upon itself to destroy Saddamite Iraq...now is not the time to adopt a hands-off policy. Iraq needs to move in the right direction. It needs government ministers who enjoy the trust of multiple ethnic groups, who are honest, and who will risk their lives rebuild their country. If the Iraqi government cannot find such people, then the US or the UK needs to do so. Such behavior may, and likely will, result in accusations of imperialism and interference, but the stakes are just too high to allow Iraq to suffer the fate of other burgeoning democracies and to sink into an anarchic mire.

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