Wednesday, September 07, 2005

George Helps Iran!

I ran across this today when doing a news roundup. Via Slate's daily roundup:
The WP announces that the U.S. has given Iraqi forces—mostly Shiites—control of the holy city of Najaf. The Post hails it as the "first transfer of an entire city from U.S. to Iraqi military responsibility this year." The NYT is less impressed, suggesting that the U.S. just handed over control of a base.
But then we have this from Juan Cole:
The US military has withdrawn from the Shiite holy city of Najaf, seat of the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Although the Lt. Col. James Oliver maintained that the Iraqi army is operating successfully throughout the region, it is more likely the case that the Badr Corps is providing what security there is. The Badr Corps is the paramilitary of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the party that rules Najaf Province (population: about 800,000). We see here the beginnings of the Bush administration exit strategy for Iraq, which is that the south will be turned over to SCIRI and Badr. The US military must be convinced that Badr can now handle the Mahdi Army and can protect Grand Ayatollah Sistani from assassination (both are tall orders).
As usual, it looks like the swift American media really investigated this story.

I've gotta agree with Juan Cole. This appears to be the withdrawal strategy by the Bush administration. We know that politics drives everything with Bush. He, and more importantly the GOP, know that the war is dramatically losing support and the 2006 elections are imminent. A sweeping loss, including loss of either the Senate or House, would be devastating to Republicans in both the short and long term.

Juan Cole has been saying all along that Bush would likely pursue withdrawal....quietly. Turning over police powers in the relatively peaceful south to the SCRI and Badr Corps appears to be the strategy.


Our bed partners in southern Iraq are Islamic fundamentalist, including the wacko Moqtada al Sadr beholden to Iran. How about a new regional power (Iran/Southern Iraq) with control of nearly as much oil as Saudi Arabia! Interestingly, this has been the goal of the Sunni, Osama bin Laden, for some time. And now the rival Shia are achieving it mostly thanks to bin Laden. Truth is stranger than fiction. I've said before, there was no good likely outcome the moment we sought to overthrow Saddam. This development is just another step in the direction of strengthening fundamentalism in the Middle East and setting the stage for further Sunni/Shiite civil war.

You got em' on the run George!! Helluva job.


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