In an interview with Reuters, Iyad Allawi, who was Bush's choice to head the post-invasion Iraqi government, is pessimistic about the surge and the future.
"The country is slipping into more chaos, more sectarianism and more divisions," Allawi, who now spends much of his time in London, told Reuters in an interview.Allawi seems aware, too, that Iraqi forces are never going to be ready for anything except taking sides in a civil war which isn't being defused by the occupation's presence. The civil war will kick into overdrive whenever the U.S. leaves, be that next month or next year.
"The bloodshed is becoming appalling and unacceptable, and frankly I cannot see the political process continuing as it is now because the country is on the verge of a big disaster.
"The insurgency is stronger than ever, and it's getting stronger, and it's going to go on getting stronger. I think what we see now is less than what we will see in a few months ... Reconciliation is further away than at any time in the past."
...A U.S. withdrawal "will become imminent next year; it's going to take place in any case", Allawi said.
"No one should expect the United States to remain in Iraq forever. They are going to pull out, but unfortunately the Iraqi forces are not ready yet...My biggest fear is that once the 'surge' is over, the day after is going to witness a very severe backlash."
Allawi's answer is to try to involve the UN:
He is due to go with a delegation to see U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the "coming weeks" to explore what greater role the Security Council can play, especially as U.S. troops begin to withdraw.Imagine how well that will go down with Republicans, who hate the UN as a pretender to what they believe should be the U.S.'s unchallenged position as arbiter and decider for the whole world and have had decades to push their framing of the UN as useless, effectively unchallenged, to the American people.
"The only way forward that I can see is to give the U.N. a wider role in Iraq," he said. "We fear there is a big danger. Already the spell is beyond Iraq, it's affecting Lebanon, it's affecting Palestine, Morocco, Algeria, Somalia, everywhere."
Allawi is a central mover in the coalition which has been moving to depose Maliki in a peaceful political coup and to press for a vote in the Iraqi parliament against extending the occupation's mandate. It will be interesting to see what happens as that mandate comes up for UN renewal in December.
Update Lee Hamilton, co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, is also worried, saying that he's "extremely doubtful" that Maliki will be able to secure the country and allow American forces to leave any time soon. He is another who is critical of the Iraqi PM, saying "His rhetoric is pretty good. His performance is pretty bad." Meanwhile, General Pace is saying U.S. forces in Iraq might need to be increased even further. Bush, in so many words, is adamant he is sticking to "stay the course".
I'm reminded of Maggie Thatcher's infamous catchphrase "The lady's not for turning." At first, it was framed as encapsulating her stern determination and courage, but it came to encapsulate her pig-headed inability to see her own mistakes and became an anchor around her neck and the collective aspirations of her party.
It's pretty obvious that's where the GOP is now headed. As the UK's Channel Four news today put it:
What happened to the Republican party? It has a president who grows more unpopular by the day, deepening divisions over Iraq, the lingering stench of scandal and a party leadership that has outlived its day.Maybe man-slut Fred! shouldn't bother. Whoever wins the GOP contest is going to lose in the main event anyway - even against Hillary, a woman who permanently looks like she is sucking a pickled onion and has a peeled lemon up her ass.
And as for the future, just look to the 2008 Presidential field: an array of candidates so tired, and frankly uninspired that one of the most popular hasn't even entered the race.