“The American people are not getting the full picture of what’s happening here." The Noble Senator Ignoramus from Arizona (John McCain) didn’t wait for April Fools Day to wax eloquent. “There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today.”
But, actions speak louder than words: McCain may have tripped the light fantastic through a Baghdad market but CBS reports that "according to someone who was actually with the delegation, that sense of security required a massive military operation: dozens of U.S soldiers, snipers, and helicopters hovering overhead."
Even as McCain boasted that "I’m not notorious for being nervous about going anywhere. I’ll gladly go almost anywhere in the world, under any circumstances," let it be known that he was wearing body armor.
Let’s get real: The surge of U.S. troops into Baghdad is not working. Is anybody surprised by this news?
No one in Iraq these days could be surprised at the U.S. failure.
Certainly the Iraqi merchants visited by Senator McCain’s entourage wouldn’t be surprised that the surge is a failure, if, that is, after the visit, they were still alive to express their surprise. Just twenty-four hours after the McCain walk through, twenty-one of the market vendors "were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital." The April 3rd edition of the London Times adds: "More than 600 Iraqis have been killed in the past week despite a US-Iraqi security plan to quell violence in the capital."
However, maybe Bush’s surge is working… but… not working in quite the way Bush planned.
As I understand it, the idea of "surging" 30,000 more U.S. troops into Baghdad was to make the place safe.
Safe for whom? Well, certainly not the Iraqi Shi’ites or Sunnis or Kurds.
Not safe for the Iraqi police-in-training who are supposed to take over if the American occupiers depart Iraq.
Not safe for the rule of law about which the Bush/Cheney Democratic Dictatorship could care less.
And not safe from each other as the American invasion has stirred up old animosities between Shia, Sunni and Kurd.
The real idea behind the surge is to make it safe for Iraqi PM al-Maliki’s puppet government to sign over the rights to Iraqi oil to Bush and his friends. Bush’s promises of bringing Democracy to Iraq are just window dressing for seizure of Iraq’s natural resources.
Well folks, the results of the surge are not going to bring what Bush wants.
Does the Commander in Chief doesn’t even know who is the enemy?
Is the enemy the Sunni "insurgents?" Well… not according to the House of Saud whose wishes are paramount to Bush and to anyone who likes their gasoline at under $3.00 a gallon. To add the confusion, Sunnis are even fighting with each other now.
Is the enemy the Shi’ite "militia" and "death squads?" Hm… don’t they have ties to Bush’s al-Maliki puppet government? Does Iran back them? Is not Iran a card-carrying member of the Axis of Evil?
Aren’t the Shi’ite militias fighting Sunni insurgent terrorists? And doesn’t that mean fighting al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia?
So, who is the enemy?
The answer is obvious.
The enemy in Iraq is the U.S. led occupation.
Lacking an effective, coordinated and direct way to oppose U.S. occupation, Iraqis have turned to fighting amongst themselves. This infighting is a centuries old Arab trait. As Raphael Patai states in The Arab Mind: "even when faced with a common enemy, the Arabs find it difficult to put aside internal dissension and suspicion."
Patai continues: "Once… physical fighting starts, different and even older psychological mechanisms come into play, making it practically impossible for either side to stop fighting, unless totally and hopelessly defeated, or unless mediation can bring about a settlement of the dispute."
For this reason Bush’s surge doesn’t have a chance in hell of stopping the violence while Al-Maliki’s government cannot govern. Being too closely linked to the U.S. and too isolated in the fortified Green Zone, the Maliki government is seen by many Iraqis as just another form of Western intrusion.
Mr. Joost Hilterman, an analyst with the International Crisis Group located in Jordan talked to the Christian Science Monitor. "Mr. Hilterman says … Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government was unwilling and incapable of rooting out sectarianism and that it was “folly” for the US to expect otherwise. u2018They are dysfunctional and too weak to do it. They are part of the sectarian conflict. This government is so much a part of the problem that you can’t ask it to reach out to the other side, especially Sunnis.’ “
Only a vocally anti-American, Islamic leader backed by popular support has any hope of stabilizing Iraq in order to form a viable government.
My money is on Muqtada al-Sadr.
As leader of the Mahdi Army, al-Sadr has consistently out-foxed U.S. political and military leaders. Attempts to root him out and defeat him result in embarrassment to the American occupation. Al-Sadr knows his country and people far too well. There is much popular support for al-Sadr. To be sure, that support comes from the Shia. However, as al-Sadr makes overtures to Sunnis, as brother Muslims, that will change.
Al-Sadr has played an ace. As the surge in American troops builds so does the local sectarian violence. Al-Sadr has craftily changed tactics. With his call for a demonstration against the U.S. occupation on the four-year anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, al-Sadr has begun a big step towards refocusing, and reuniting, the Iraqi people… against the U.S. The demonstration took place on April 9 and was attended by thousands. By calling all Iraqis to gather against the U.S. occupation, al-Sadr has strengthened and broadened his support.
At the demonstration, a statement by al-Sadr was read out: “I renew my demand for the withdrawal of the occupier from our land… because this will mean the stability of Iraq, a victory for peace and Islam and a defeat for terror and infidels.”
As reported in the New York Times: "Mr. Sadr led two rebellions against the Americans in 2004 and emerged more powerful from each, even though thousands of his fighters were killed. He entered mainstream politics, and his followers now hold at least 30 seats in Parliament and critical cabinet postings. He also has a powerful protector in Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a conservative Shi’ite who gained the top job because of Mr. Sadr’s support."
Muqtada al-Sadr is all poised to assume the top slot in Iraqi politics.
See? The surge is working! It’s working fine for Muqtada al-Sadr and for the Iraqis who want Yankee to go home and who are sick and tired of the sectarian infighting and who want self-government.
If the U.S. and U.K. had the sense God gave a goat, they would withdraw coalition forces and allow al-Sadr to unify and stabilize Iraq. Then, Iraqis would regain control of their own government, on their terms. Isn’t that what democracy is supposed to be all about?
Elizabeth Gyllensvard contributed to and edited this story.
Tom Chartier [send him mail] played lead guitar in legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until their final appearance in January of 2004. He has lived in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Currently he resides somewhere in the Caribbean.