Apparently, some senior military officials haven't received the memo from Karl Rove that Iraq is "all about Al Qaeda" as reported by McClatchy:
Despite President Bush's recent insistence that al Qaida in Iraq is the principal cause of this country's violence, senior American military officers here say Shiite Muslim militias are a bigger problem, and one that will persist even if al Qaida is defeated.
"The longer-term threat to Iraq is potentially the Shiite militias," one senior military officer said, echoing concerns that other American officials raised in recent interviews with McClatchy Newspapers.
The officials acknowledge that the Shiite campaign of revenge against the Sunnis is continuing unabated:
The Shiite Mahdi Army militia continues to drive Sunni residents from neighborhoods in Baghdad, a development that one American officer called "disappointing." Shiite politicians show little sympathy for the expelled Sunnis or interest in stopping the expulsions. In interviews, they argued that the drive against Sunnis is a justified response to Sunni campaigns to drive Shiites from their neighborhoods, a position that American military officers reject.
The war in Iraq is metastasizing into a confusing and incoherent myriad of individual battlelines. The next one to start perking up will be a struggle among the Shiite militias.
More alarming, American officers say that battles for supremacy among armed Shiite groups will be the next challenge, and that U.S. forces are likely to be drawn into those disputes. Already, the U.S. is taking sides, sending attack aircraft to back Iraqi security forces against radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army.
And don't forget the increasing danger that the Kurds will begin violently resisting the Iraqi government which appears to be reneging on its commitment to hold a referendum on the future of Kirkuk.
Meanwhile, the main Sunni bloc has pulled out of Maliki's faltering and beleaguered "unity" government. Car bombs rocked Baghdad Wednesday killing dozens and Iraqi ministries released figures showing a 33% rise in civilian deaths during the month of July. Reconstruction projects have ground to a halt, Baghdad is down to 2 hours of electricity a day, and the military cannot account for thousands of weapons that were given to the Iraqi military (and which are undoubtedly in the hands of insurgents and militias).
Yes folks, "victory" is just around the corner. If we can just hang on a little longer...
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