"U.S. troops lifted roadblocks around a militia stronghold in Baghdad yesterday after Iraq’s Prime Minister ordered them out, flexing his political muscle after a week of public friction with Washington ahead of U.S. midterm elections.
Supporters of anti-U.S. Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr celebrated in the streets of Sadr City, bastion of his Mehdi Army. An aide hailed the end of a "barbaric siege," begun to help find a kidnapped U.S. soldier possibly being held by militiamen.
But Iraq’s Sunni Vice-President said the move threatened a lull in sectarian death-squad violence. The once-dominant Sunni minority blames the Mehdi Army for much of the killing, and Washington is pressing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to disband the movement.
"The Commander-in-Chief, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has ordered the lifting of all barriers and checkpoints to open roads and ease traffic in Sadr City and other districts of Baghdad," a statement from the Prime Minister’s office said." Reuters
This is a watershed. All but the most diehard conspiracy fans will see that al-Maliki’s government is not a puppet of anything but his constituent Shia militia factions and militias.
This signals a new Shia willingness to defy the US occupation that serves to shield their creation of a Shia run rump state of Iraq, a state which will never control the Sunni heartland or th Kurdish homeland but which will maintain irredentist claims there "for another day."
One must wonder what would have happened if the United States had not accepted the order of the sovereign government of Iraq.
The chart is from USCENTCOM and was in the NYT 1 November, 2006
I’m sure this will pop up on your radar eventually but here it is anyways:
“Military Charts Movement of Conflict in Iraq Toward Chaos”, New York Times, 1 Nov 2006
Col., I’m not the military scholar you or some of your other readers are, but this seems like it must be simply unprecedented.
It also seems like it gives lie to the claim that we have any real ability to defy the Shi’a bloc if we wanted to. Your take?
When “staying the course” as a percieved failure is evident, the goal must be to build the partition as unavoidable. We can not make the partition appear to be a goal; Turkey, our NATO allie, will get the shaft.
I really do feel the lunacy is a subterfuge.
Let’s hope the Turks will let us perform our “redeployment of forces” through their territory when we lose our supply lines going through Shiastan. Hey didn’t Cyrus and the Greeks retreat/fight through the same area about 2400 years ago?
Patrick Cockburn says “Baghdad is under siege“.
By the way, does anyone remember that we were going to build a security wall around Baghdad? Maybe the insurgents will do it for us.
Xenophon and his 10,000 men tryed that “reployement of forces”, Mt.
Xenophon wrot a book about that expedition named Anabasis (greek for expedition) and that book was used by Alexander the Great as fieldbook for the conquest of the Persian Empire.
I read at other place, Military History if I am not wrong, that only one thousand men (from the original 10.000 men) survived to Xenophon’s “redeployement”.
What about that soldier who was kidnapped? Are we abandoning him on orders of Nouri al-Maliki? Has it come down to this?
“What about that soldier who was kidnapped? Are we abandoning him on orders of Nouri al-Maliki? Has it come down to this?” – Michael Keyes
We know this soldier was kidnapped by a local Mahdi commander. If he is not released unharmed and if the US military command has abandoned him it would be a despicable and shameful act.
Excellent question Michael. You beat me to it. No…not on the orders of al-Maliki…on the orders of Sadr.
The reason Malaki is feeling feisty is because Baghdad is under seige and slowly starving, and he needs Sadr’s militia because the U.S. troops have been content to sit back and let it happen.
Basically, he has weighed the pros and cons of having American troops there, and is slowly moving to the “con” category, because the American troops aren’t helping his Shiite militias hold open the last open civilian supply line into Baghdad (the one to the east, to Iran). The military convoys from the South get hit on every trip and the supply lines to the North and West have long been closed off, so he’s in much the same position as Lon Nol in Phnom Penh in 1975 if the Sunni insurgents capture that one last supply line. I don’t think he’s happy. I don’t think he’s happy at all. And if the **** hits the fan, it could make Saigon 1975 look like a walk in the park… because this time there are 150,000 U.S. troops in-country who are going to end up in a situation more like Dien Bien Phu than Chosin Reservoir.
Tactics win battles. Logistics win wars. And the logistical situation in Baghdad is swiftly moving from apalling to disasterous. And Dear Leader fiddles as Baghdad starves… but what the heck, they’re only darkies, it’s not as if they were good white Republican Americans, the only REAL people, right? Right?!
Just how do we know that he was kidnapped by a local Mahdi commander? Has any Mahdi commander admitted it? Has the Mahdi Army demanded the release of any prisoners for his release? Is it because his brother says so as reported by some papers? I have seen suggestons (can’t recall where) that his wife is related to a close confidant of Ahmed Chalabi. As a member of an occupying army, what was he doing breaking standing orders and putting his fellow soldiers’s lives at risk?
BTW, at worst, sealing off Sadr City is collective punishment and that is a war crime as far as I know. At best it is a surefire way of pissing off the local population that you are supposed to have liberated. How many more recruits will it provide to the Mahdi Army?
I don’t think the Mahdi Army need any more recruits, they are doing just fine with 2.5M+ people in Sadr City alone. They probably suffer from a shortage of guns and ammo for all the volunteers.
It seems the Sunni insurgents are completing the encirclement of Baghdad. The situation seems to be reaching a critical unstable mass.
The sliding thermometer graph thoughtfully provided by the Pentagon for those “quick summary” types has reached the Red zone and is still moving fast. When it blows, I wonder how sky high the explosion may be?
We’re now at the point where all but the most invincibly ignorant can grasp the meaning of David Halberstam’s 6/13/03 statement describing his pre-Iraq invasion premonitions, “I felt that we were, in some way, about to punch our fist into the largest hornet’s nest in the world, that we were really not terribly well prepared for the political reality we would end up with.”
Unfortunately, all but the most invincibly ignorant includes about 1/3 of the electorate and 99+44/100% of the political national security elite of which the latter has absolutely no skin in the game. Total Dick Cheney, that horrible Vincent woman from Casper and their racketeer influenced crime organization associates are playing global strateego with other people’s money, lives and, most importantly, kids. I doubt that the Cheneys, Rumsfelds, Roves and Bushes would be so smugly cavalier or deceitfully Orwellian if Mary, Liz, Nick, Andy, Barbara and Jenna shared the fate of SP4 Carrie French, SSgt Kimberly Voelz, LCpl Miguel Terrazas, Sgt Eric Slebodnik, 2dLt. Emily Perez and LCpl Holly Charette in this strategic disaster of epic proportions.
But then I could be completely erroneous and unsurprisingly learn that Dick, Lynne, Don, Karl, Laura and George sleep just as soundly with their children prematurely dead in a deceitful war as they do with them still in possession of their only life. After all, it’s not so much defeat they can’t admit, even to themselves, it’s error. And, as Lynne so cravenly demonstrates, they ardently desire to win.