Saturday, September 15, 2007

Missing The Anbar Point

By Cernig

Today, Captain Ed and other war supporters are gleefully touting AQI's declaration of war on the Anbar Opportunists as a shining example of why withdrawing from Iraq won't mean an AQI safe haven - but don't realise they are doing so.

Nor does Ed stop to consider the falsity of any idea that, as he writes, that this new AQI offensive will "push the Sunnis closer to the Baghdad government". That's a massive leap of logic, pushed by the Bush administration and its supporters to belatedly tie events in Anbar into the original Surge mission of political reconcilliation. But it isn't true.

An op-ed in Lebanon's Dar Al Hayat newspaper today explains:
The military and civilians of [the Bush] administration boast about this major breakthrough achieved by the new strategy adopted to arm the tribes without consulting with the Central Administration. In fact, Al Maliki's government opposed this move "because it brings to life new militias" while it is urged to disband militias.

The truth is that the tribes being armed, trained and remunerated by the US forces revolted against "Al Qaeda" for reasons that are remote from Bush's old or new strategy, but rather because this expiatory organization has went too far in violating what tribal leaders consider as the core of their responsibilities.

...[Anbar] will only weaken the central administration. This is due to the fact that endowing these tribes with a political power over and above their traditional social authority will trigger a fight for power in their areas, with the center being unable to stop the fighting. This is evident in the experience in the South, especially Al Basra, where sectarian parties of the same allegiance are battling for power, lured by the ability to seize the resources and smuggle oil.
Indeed, while the administration are pushing the reconcilliation line to the American public, its own insiders are betting on the exact opposite. The future of Iraq won't hold an Al Qaeda safe haven - but it appears it will be a failed and balkanized state where the central government is essentially powerless beyond the Green Zone.

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