We are never going to leave:
Heavy fighting broke out Tuesday in two of Iraq’s largest cities, as Iraqi ground forces and helicopters mounted a huge operation to break the grip of the Shiite militias controlling Basra, and Iraqi forces clashed with militias in Baghdad. The fighting threatened to destabilize a long-term truce that had helped reduce the level of violence in the five-year-old Iraq war.
The fighting continued on Wednesday, and a spokesman for the Iraqi military said 40 people had been killed and 200 wounded in the two days of fighting in the southern city of Basra, according to The Associated Press. The spokesman, Col. Karim al-Zaidi, did not specify how many were militiamen, Iraqi soldiers or civilians caught up in the fighting.
The battles, along with indications in recent weeks that militia and insurgent attacks had already been creeping up, raised fears across Iraq that Moktada al-Sadr, the renegade Shiite cleric, could pull out of a cease-fire he declared last summer. If his Mahdi Army militia does step up attacks, that could in turn slow American troop withdrawals.
A few thoughts:
1.) The military always “wins” face-to-face combat. We have the superior training, weaponry, and firepower. Not sure how useful that is in this situation, but if it is a conventional battle, this may be something our guys relish after months of being sniped at and blown up by road-side bombs.
2.) If I were a paranoid conspiracy theorist, I would note that several sources have claimed the Mahdi army are revolting and backing out of their truce because our military was covertly targeting their leadership. What better way to keep troop levels the same so that our negotiated long-term agreement demands the US in Iraq forever than provoking a battle with behind the scenes assassinations.
3.) WHo knows what role Iran is playing in all this.
Total mess. We are never leaving.
And Iran giggles at our stupidity.
Indeed. Despite intermittent saber-rattling from 1600 Penn. Ave., Iran’s involvement is still a mystery wrapped in an enema. Still, singing Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran keeps the rubes from asking inconvenient questions about Saudi Arabia, the 40% of detainees in Iraq who come from South of the Border, why DickBush continue to swap spit with the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the like.
Nothing to see here people…
Step 1, Like Murtha said “redeploy.” Step 2 get the fuck out. It’s really that simple. No one can fix what was broken 1000 years ago.
But, but, but, if we leave they’ll fight with each other!! And besides, you can’t slow down troop withdrawals that are not happening.
The Other Steve
Did you guys see the PBS special last night on the war?
It reminded me of this
It seems extremely unlikely that Iran would encourage the Iranian-backed Sadr militias to attack the Iranian-backed SCIRI militias and the security forces of the Iranian-backed government.
RICK ASTLEY DID WTC
I was under the impression that the Saudis were getting increasingly pissed off at US incompetence. Certainly, the growing Iranian influence in Iraq can’t be a benefit to any Saudi Prince.
America has been playing both ends against the middle in the Middle East ever since the British gave that shit up some forty or fifty years ago. We back Israel against the Palestinians, Iraq against Iran, Lebanon against Syria, the Saudis against basically everyone else.
:p But yeah, I’m sure this new infighting will just prove how desperate the insurgents have become due to the surge’s overwhelming success. And it’ll demonstrate how keen the terrorists are on monitoring the US elections – after all, why else would they be revolting except to make Barack HUSSIEN Obama our next President? McCain will be suggesting we double down and send in 100,000 more troops by the end of the news cycle.
Wow, good thing you’re not a paranoid conspiracy theorist …
You’re right, though. We aren’t leaving anytime soon. It’s all about the oil. It’s always been about the oil. As time goes on it becomes even more about the the oil. When they write the histories a hundred years from now, the gloss on Iraq will be that we were trying to deny it to the Chinese. Don’t think that the neocon fixation on China has shifted … the Iraqi misadventure is simply a gambit in the larger neocon worldview. Sadly, while we’re being the schoolyard bully, the Chinese are inking oil contracts.
Oh, I think we’ll be leaving someday. As soon as the US economy goes into total meltdown, we won’t have much of a choice. Who’s going to risk their lives when their paychecks (the pittance that they are) stop clearing.
Maybe I am missing pieces to the puzzle and I don’t pretend for a minute to be an economist. But the state of things is pretty shitty to getting a lot shittier. How can we continue to fund a war on credit if we don’t have the economy to back-up said credit? Like I said, I may be wrong and please correct and scorn me if I am.
You fucking rube….they have everything to do with this! Iraqis LOVE our presence, and relish the chance to ride ponies and eat sushi, if only those camel jockeys from Iran would stop sending their nuculear bombs into Iraq and San Fransisco and screwing up all the pieces…er…peace….currently in Iraq.
Hmm. Dick was just over there working on the oil agreements, wasn’t he?
Guess things didn’t go so well on that front.
Dennis - SGMM
The followers of Muqtada al-Sadr are being targeted because Iraq has elections scheduled for October. The current gang “ruling” Iraq is worried that al-Sadr and the Sunnis will make substantial gains in that election, particularly because the Sadrists already form the largest bloc in parliament. AL-Sadr is a nationalist who is none too happy with the American presence in Iraq.
Apparently the US has decided that it’s better to keep a pack of compliant, incompetent, fractious fools in charge rather than chance the election of someone who might act in the best interests of Iraq.
We can’t have a person like that running things, can we?
We have only one shot in leaving Iraq in the next five years, and it’s not electing Clinton, who will show the same kind of leadership on this we’ve seen from the likes of Pelosi, Hoyer and Reid.
(And obvs. it’s not by electing John “100 years” McCain.)
Here’s what happened: We backed the Badr over the Sadr, who then got madr at the Badr who were gladr than the Badr about being occupied by us.
About to be delivered by a 300 pound nurse, who’s pissed off?
Well, we know whether or not Iran is involved and how much. Just the other day on CNN, one talking head asked the other, “How involved is Iran in this?” and the other answered “Very, very much.” So there you have it. Proof!
Ellison, Ellensburg, Ellers, and Lambchop
To believe that, we’d have to define “acting in the best interests of Iraq” as “establishing himself as dictator of an Islamic theocracy.” I suppose we’d never know if that was best for Iraq, because anyone speaking against him would be killed.
Bet the trains would run on time, though.
For a given value of “win”, I suppose. But classic insurgency warfare doesn’t give you many shots at face-to-face confrontations. Usually what seems to be a straight-up fight usually turns out to be the insurgents forcing you to commit forces, chipping away at your soldiers a little bit at a time, then ceding the ground. It leaves your guys in control of the ground, but wears them the fuck out. It doesn’t matter whether you’re better trained or better equipped, because the initiative is usually always with the insurgents, and they can bleed you to death by a thousand cuts. That’s particularly true when our combat power on the ground is limited in terms of manpower. A force of 150,000 troops is fuck-all small; there is no way to do anything more than set up quick-reaction forces and occasionally sortie out of the castle when the brown guys get too close.
Viet Nam was inspired warfighting compared to this clusterfuck.
but enough about the McCain campaign already – can we talk about Iraq now?
In seriousness, Dennis nails it. This is about the Iraqi elections in October, and the last thing Darth Vader wants is pictures of Basra and Baghdad burning splashed all over American TVs only a month before our very own election back here in the USA in November. Better to get it over with now.
FWIW, the ABC radio soundbite overnight was that some US troops might have been injured in the fighting by an Iranian (INSERT GEARHEAD JARGON NAME OF WEAPON).
Now, since I doubt seriously that any reporter was able to determine this bit of forensic information, AND that it’s generally unusual to name the specific ordnance that blew somebody’s goddam head off, I smell a bit of Pentagon disinformation/agit-prop to push the meme that Iran is somehow the new Al Qaeda.
Then again, I’m probably being all tin-foil-hatty.
ABC reporters REGULARLY scour combat sites, noting serial numbers on exploded munitions and speculating as to their country of origin.
Exactly. Somewhere in his book on various “democracy promoting exercises” the US has conducted Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq , Stephen Kinzer says that we always want a democratic government for the country in question – which will look after our interests. And that is always a deal breaker. Any democratic government will look after the interests of their own people – or at least make make an attempt to do so. And, with probability 1, at some point the interests of the country will not be the same as the interests of the US. Currently, the best thing to do for Iraq is to make nice with its neighbors, in particular Syria and Iran – which is not we want. In terms of domestic policy the best thing is to not give up control of its oil resources at bargain basement prices to foreign companies – which is not what we want. So we cannot support any government which will look after the interests of Iraqis. And the governments that support our interests will not be particularly liked by the Iraqis. Cue 100 years of McCain’s war.
Sure we’ll leave. . .when there is no more liquidity. Apparently the FBI is having trouble paying their phone bills, and that’s a bad sign from a credit risk standpoint. (BTW, any more reporting on that news, or did it fall down the memory hole?) So, sure, we’ll leave, but it’s gonna be ugly, ’cause our soldiers will have to march to Jordan and fly out with tickets they bought themselves, or if there is a global meltdown, either go native or swim home.
Something to keep in mind when it comes to speculation about what Iran wants …
Iran likes the people who are in power right now. There’s one group in mainstream Iraqi politics that has no love for the Iranians – the group led by Moqtada al’Sadr. He’s a fierce nationalist who despises all outside interference in Iraq – whether it’s coming from the Anglos or the Persians. So anything that weakens al’Sadr might superficially look good for the US, but is in fact just as good for the Iranians. The Iranians have gone out of their way to be as much a “good neighbor” to the Iraqi Shi’ites and Kurds as they possibly can – for a variety of reasons that make complete sense if you put yourself into their shoes.
The only thing that would be bad for the Iranians is if we were to pick out a Sunni strongman to prop up and recreate Saddam’s Iraq again. That would suck for them, but even there they’d get a propaganda victory against the US as a consolation prize.
Oh no, well leave once the army is truly broken through casulties and failure to re-enlist. Which in the long run is probably a good thing since it will make less likely that we will go to war just to make some people feel better about themselves. I also doubt that the EU, China and others are going to be picking up our war tab for much longer.
Related thought: an Sadrist Iraq independent of Iranian control would create a competition between Iran and Iraq for influence over and patronage ties to the various other Shia groups in the region. Much like Maoist China and the post-Stalin USSR, these two rivals would be pitted against one another vieing for control of the same ideological base. It is not in Iran’s long term interests to see JAM take over Iraq.
Wilfred and I have had our differences, but this is 110% win.
Basra is where the oil hits the highway in Iraq. The city is run by southern Shi’a warlords who protect the oil pumping facilities, the tanker docks and the trained workers who can keep that oil flowing and the money coming in. The British forces who were in overall charge of security in the region are bunkered down at the local airport getting mortared every Thursday to remind them to keep their noses out of the city while they wait for orders to come home from a government trying to save face and make kissy with the Yanks.
Sadly for the northern Shi’a government in Baghdad not much of that Basra oil money goes their way, so they’ve decided to come down there and take it. In the process they’re going to break Basra’s infrastructure and scare off the workers who can actually run the place. Expect Iraqi oil exports to take a dive in the near future, win or lose.
As Atrios said over a year ago and repeatedly since then, Iraq will be the big issue in the 2012 elections. I’m not that pessimistic, but he’s been right more than I have.
/unscrews gas cap, checks pump price, nods head, bends over
The only way out is via bodybags.
Which at this point, is becoming more and more likely.
Our forces can win a face to face battle.
But cut the supplies and they become dead soldiers walking.
Sweet boneless Jesus on a pogo stick! War isn’t some little amusement conducted for the benefit of our troops. This sounds like Viet Nam, where people still point out the irrelevancy that the US always won conventional engagements against the North Vietnamese. However, the US could not secure the surrender of North Viet Nam, could not shape South Viet Nam into a stable, popularly supported government, and could never transform South Vietnamese military forces into a competent body.
As far as I can see, the Bush Administration has no goal other than making the surge “work.” And it is little more than re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic to US appoint military commanders who are strong on asymmetric warfare and then get hot and bothered over the outcome of conventional battles.
Sadly, this would not be out of line with the insistence of the Bush Administration that we stay in Iraq until “the job gets done,” whatever that means. I also wonder whether Cheney’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia wasn’t just to request an increase in oil production but to give assurances that Middle East policy in Iraq and elsewhere would “stay the course.”
Or Saudi Arabia. Or Pakistan. Or Iraqi Sunni factions. Or Iraqi Shia factions. Or Iraqi tribal factions.
That Iran should be a major concern smells like earlier Bush Administration propaganda that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with Al Queda.
One outcome of the rise of Al Queda has been an increased resistance to the opposition to Western “puppets” in the Middle East. Adds irony to the fact that we deposed “our guy” in Iraq, Saddam.
By the way, I recommend that people read the book, see the movie, and buy the DVD of Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis.” Among other insights, you get the impression that Iran has a sense of its national identity that could not easily translate into a firm alliance with Iraq’s Shia population, and which would not be acceptable in any way to other Iraqis who have no religious sympathies with Iran.
We will if staying become too expensive, in lives and treasure.
maxbaer (not the original)
Unfortunately, an attack on Iran would make this our possible exit.