Sunday :: Jan 14, 2007

Mahdi Army Stands Down, For Now

by Steve

For the rational people inside the State and Defense departments, this was the desired outcome from a surge: to push the Mahdi Army away from an offensive posture focused on reprisal attacks against Sunnis into a defensive posture which avoids direct conflict with increasing American forces. Sure, al-Sadr has simply gone underground and will wait the Americans out unless Cheney does something stupid and provokes a confrontation. But if this holds, the surge may achieve what it was designed to do: slow and possibly stop the wave of reprisal attacks from the Mahdi Army while the American and Iraqi forces deal with the Sunni insurgency and try to eliminate Al Qaeda in Iraq. But the Bush Administration is intentionally misleading Congress on another, longer-running reason for the sectarian violence: the role that the Badr Organization and SCIRI have played in targeting Sunnis from the earliest days of the occupation, through the official cover of the Interior Ministry. Unless al-Maliki gets both main Shiite militias to stand down during the next 3-6 months, the surge will fail.

Steve :: 10:26 AM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!