"Iraq's prime minister urged people in the besieged city of Falluja on Monday to drive out Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents to pre-empt a military offensive that officials said could be launched within days. In a statement on state television, Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite Muslim whose government has little support in Sunni-dominated Falluja, said tribal leaders should help expel the militants, who last week seized key towns in the desert leading to the Syrian border. "The prime minister appeals to the tribes and people of Falluja to expel the terrorists from the city in order to spare themselves the risk of armed clashes," read the statement. A provincial official said security forces had regained control of another town, Ramadi, forcing militants to the east where they were holding out in mosques and homes. Air raids would flush them out, he told Reuters. "The airforce will end this battle in the next few hours," said Falih al-Essawi, a member of the council running Anbar province, adding that government workers and students in Ramadi had been told to return to work and school on Tuesday. " Daily Star
Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, but he held Iraq together in the same brutal way that all Middle Eastern states are held together and always have been. I note a few exceptions; the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq and the perliamentary period in Egypt in the 30's and 40's.
Saddam did not tolerate ethno-sectarian divisions and contrary to the opinion of the propagandized American citizenry, there were many Shia and Christians in the Ba'ath Party and armed forces. Tariq Aziz, Saddam's foreign minister, was Christian. He may not have been a good Chrsitian, but he nevertheles was Christian by sect, birth and heritage. The commanding general of the Republican Guards armored corps in the invasion of Kuwait was Shia. This was a stable system.
Iraq did not attack the United States on 9/11. The Bush Administration nevertheless decided to invade Iraq for the purposes; of removing Saddam, reducing a supposed threat to Israel and to foster a revolutionary shift in Middle Eastern societies. It was imagined that a shift to control of these countries by minorities would make them more malleable and willing to accomodate US policy desires. Oh yes, there was also the bogus, deliberately lying nonsense about a non-existent nuclear weapons program. There had been such a program before the First Gulf War but it had been destroyed by the inspection regime that followed that war. But, as Wolfowitz said, the Bush Administration went with what it could sell to the American people. This was a people who proved in the post 9/11 period to be remarkably chicken-hearted, given to panic and easy to feed falshoods.
The US easily defeated the Iraqi military and then found that the various Iraqi peoples were not going to accept a prolonged foreign occupation. The exceptions to this were found among the Kurds and various collections of emigres, exiles and ancien regime figures who flocked to occupied Iraq for the purpose of seeking to live out their dreams.
The US viceroy, Paul Bremmer, (Medal of Freedom) was sent to Iraq with the mission of destroying the Iraqi state and its permanent institutions in order to create a "year zero" situation. As part of that process, new military, police and civil service institutions were created. These were often staffed with sectarian militias returned from abroad. For the first few years these new "police" devoted themselves to fostering the interests of their own ethno-religious groups often through the use of what can only be called "murder squads." The analogy that a French person made here to the Phoenix program is false. That program had as its goal the capture of VC political cadres so that they could be "re-educted." Kill was a fall back position. The US had nothing directly to do with this process in Iraq but it had undoubtedly created the situation in which the Iraqis could indulge themselves in inter-communal murder, and they did.
Eventually, all the fumbling around with purple thumbed elections produced a Shia run government in central and southern Iraq. Maliki was the third to audition for the job of PM. He is a former Dawa party activist. In other words he is a complete Shia partisan and inclined towards Iran. He promised the US to play nice with the other children in the Iraqi sand box, and then shoved us out the door when it was clear that we might try to make him do that.
In the course of its precipitous withdrawal, "une chute vertigineuse" I have heard it called, the US abandoned its Sunni tribal allies in Anbar Province to their fate. We are good at abandonment. Maliki reneged on all his political undertakings. The Sunni tribes grew more and more embittered and now some of them are siding with the AQ galaxy of enemies of humanity. Not all are doing that, but some.
At the bottom of this mess, the mess in Egypt, the mess in Afghanistan, the mess in Vietnam, and all the various messes I participated in, is the simple truth that the USA is not fit to run the world.
Why? We haven't a clue about the nature of the game and the academics in the social sciences are some of the worst. pl