Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Depends on your definition of security

By Libby

I see the Shia-in-power managed to railroad the De-Baath bill through to please their White House master. I suppose I should have expected that but Cernig and Eric has already addressed the reasons I don't see this as some huge omen of good times ahead in Baghdad.

I still see the security situation as artificially induced and Radamisto provides a good example of what I'm talking about when I say that. He flags a piece where "the CSM accompanied a high-level militia member on a walk through an area near Friday's bombing."
"We are an independent state; no police or army is allowed to come in," proclaims Khalid Jamal al-Qaisi, deputy leader of the US military-backed and predominantly Sunni Arab militia in charge of security in the old Baghdad neighborhood of Al-Fadhil.
So much for national reconciliation arising from the bottom up. The Iraqi army is not allowed into the neighborhood and this group doesn't recognize Maliki's authority at all. Hardly strikes me as an organic movement building Shia-Sunni comity.
At the end of Kifah Street, a wall has been built to separate Al-Fadhil from the Shiite neighborhoods of Sadriya, Qanbar Ali, and Abu Saifyen. "We can't go beyond that," says Qaisi. "I can't guarantee your security there."
It looks to me that what the surge accomplished in terms of security was creating a bunch of fiefdoms. Diminished violence was essentially bought with US bribes to tribal chiefs and is only upheld by segregation, enforced at gunpoint. There's no real trend towards agreement or trust between the factions. Sounds more like mutual intimidation than the definition of reconciliation to me. That was supposed to be the whole point of the 'six month' surge, wasn't it?

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