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The grand Iraq low-level civil war April 12, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Iraq, Politics.
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“When foreigners come in with international solutions to local problems, it can create a dependency. A long-term foreign presence in a country can be unnatural. It is much like a broken bone. If it is not set properly at the outset, eventually, the muscles and tendons will grow around the break, and the body will adjust to the abnormal condition. This is what has happened in a number of places with a large foreign presence. Economies remain unreformed, distorted and dependent. Educated young people make more money as drivers for foreign workers, than as doctors or civil servants.”

Who said that? Hmmm . . . some dope smoking hippie? Nope. Some anti-American, commie? Nein. Who? None other than, ::drumroll:: . . . Donald Rumsfeld. Crazy. Too bad they can't see that now.

And into hell we descend

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Nardo Dedicatoria keeps an eye on the shoreline of the Euphrates River during a reconnaissance mission near Musayyib, Iraq, on March 21, 2006. Coalition soldiers are not only patrolling the streets of Iraq, but the waterways as well. Dedicatoria is attached to Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Katrina Beeler, U.S. Navy.Unity government? sectarian Factional clashes (still sick of the word sectarian)? It all seems to be blurring together in a fog of blood and gore and death.

Violence continues to plague Iraq. Iraqis killing Iraqis off in droves while March becomes the the most bloodless month for U.S. forces since Februrary 2004. The war seems to have taken a dramatic and stark turn. The reality of Iraq differs from the reality that top commanders and planners perceive. The divide grows greater and violence explodes. Bush gets jittery. People do not approve of his handling of the growing conflict that has become the single issue his presidency is hinged upon. Historical repuations are being forged, and the players know it.

Violence on the march:
Violence Monday kills 9 U.S. troops, dozens of others
Suicide bomber kills 10 Monday
Google news search 'iraq sectarian': this turns up hundreds of results and hundreds of dead Iraqis.

Condoleeza Rice's surprise visit to the Baghdad Green Zone ("international zone" these days I guess) is one of myriad examples of the growing discontent in the Oval Office with the way the Iraqis are reacting to demands for a unity government.

It's beyond naive to assume that three decades of bitter oppression at the hands of the Sunni Baathist regime would be forgotten so quickly by the Shia population of Iraq. Or that the Kurds would give up their bid for autonomy and soveirgnty by sheer U.S. pressure and demands for unity, they too suffered greatly at the hands of the Baathists.

If Iraq is truly teetering on civil war, major problems lie ahead for the U.S. led occupation, and this isn't just idle, anti-war folk saying this, it has been uttered by Iraqi politicians, U.S. politicians, military leaders on the ground and in D.C. and of course crazy bloggers like myself. (I just know Glock 21 is loving this, by the way).

With anywhere from 137,000 to 150,000 Americans on the ground (depending on when it is and what major problems are anticipated) and around 10,000 British the forces that occupy the country are simply not numerically strong enough to stave off a civil war. Sure, there are a few thousand other troops from nations such as Bangledesh but their numbers do nothing more than marginally contribute to Bush's greatest coaltion ever built. Controlling the country has been difficult enough before the wave of factional clashes plagued Iraq.

Having been described as low-level civil war already, the danger grows with each passing day that the country could dissolve into all out mayhem.

A controlled, strategic pull out is possible, should it become necessary. But what truly needs to happen in Iraq cannot be dictated by military prowess or American diplomatic pressure. Iraq needs someone to take the reins, to truly lead Iraqis. Someone strong enough to gain a loyal following and someone who can see Iraq away from its descension into a nightmare.

And that someone may not be who U.S. leaders want to see in charge but we may just have to grin and bare it, because without strong leadership during this most important time in Iraqi and American history the nation is on the fast path to self-destruction. A diverse nation, such as Iraq, with distinct religious, cultural and minority groups may not get a "unity" government right off the bat but it could have a strong government, capable of leading its people through this battle if the U.S. would just back off and let the Iraqis decide how they are going to progress instead of making threats and demands for fairy-tale-land-unity. That's just swarmy*.

So politicans can argue until they are blue in the face about whether Iraq is in a civil war. The fact of the matter is, Iraqis are killing Iraqis with poltically motivated attacks. This is civil war, maybe not full blown, North vs. South civil war, but civil war nonetheless.

*Disregard my blatant use of portmanteau.

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