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Why the Surge Failed

Our troops have, once again, done all that's been asked of them in Iraq. Despite their heroism and dedication the surge has failed to achieve its objectives of facilitating reconciliation between Iraq's warring factions. Blame for the failure of the surge rests squarely on the Iraqis themselves.

The latest blow to the surge is news that the Allawi List (the Iraqiya List) has bolted the cabinet of beleaguered Prime Minister Nouri al-Mailiki as reported by the BBC:

Five Iraqi MPs have announced a boycott of cabinet meetings, deepening the political crisis and leaving the unity government without any Sunni members.

The ministers, who are loyal to former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, blamed what they said was the Shia-led government's failure to end sectarian favoritism.

This move leaves the Iraqi "national unity" government devoid of any Sunni members at all coming on the heels of the decision by the Sunni Accordance Front to bail out of the cabinet as well.

If this weren't bad enough, Shiite groups in the south are pressing forward with an initiative to setup an autonomous region as reported by the Christian Science Monitor:

When Najaf unplugged its power station from the national grid last week, it was a sign of provincial dissent over the unequal distribution of electricity. But it also indicates a new assertiveness in the south, as Iraq's regional leaders seek to wrest control from a central government in Baghdad paralyzed by political infighting.

Multiple visions for unifying the county's southern provinces are emerging. The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), one of the most powerful Shiite parties, is leading the charge to form an autonomous "South of Baghdad Region."

This move by the southern Shiites is clearly just a first step toward their eventual separation from Iraq. One can hardly blame the southerners for wanting to abandon the violence and chaos-plagued center of the country to its own devices while they attempt to build a strict theocratic state based on Sharia law and closely aligned to Iran in the south. The move towards establishing autonomous regions has been vehemently opposed by the disenfranchised Sunnis and the Sadrists, but is strongly supported by Iran and its proxy in Iraq the SIIC (the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq), which has also (ironically) been strongly supported by the Bush administration.

Meanwhile, in the "peaceful" north, a prominent Kurdish leader is warning of an impending civil war as report by the IHT:

"If clause 140 is not implemented, then there will be a real civil war," Barzani said, promising to visit Baghdad shortly to discuss the matter with the central government.

Clause 140 in Iraq's constitution calls for a referendum on Kirkuk to decide its future status by the end of the year. It stipulates that Kurds expelled from the city during Saddam Hussein's rule must be allowed to return. A census would then be held to determine which ethnic group was a majority of the population. Many Kurds have returned to the city, but a census has not been conducted.

These stories clearly illustrate the primary reason the surge has failed: the Iraqis don't want it to succeed. Iraqis are far more interested in pressing their advantage and going for broke in the high stakes free-for-all that is taking place in that country right now. The polarized sectarian groups are further away from reconciliation and cooperation now than they were at the beginning of the surge. If anything, the surge has contributed to the increasing political paralysis in Iraq by reducing the pressure on the Iraqi government to take immediate action to reconcile the country's bitterly divided factions. This is, of course, the exact opposite effect of what was intended.

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Comments (3)

Steve Crickmore:

'The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope, the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan, all the earmarks or 'benchmarks' of the surge...I tend to agree with you Larkin. Read in today's Salon
A surge of phony spin on Iraq
'Bush's backers are peddling a sunny view of the president's strategy -- despite Iraq's political chaos and soaring death counts.'

By Juan Cole


What? How is ANY of that an indication of the surge failing?

A little heads up on the matter: the surge is a military operation, not political.

Hence, your post is moot.

And, Steve ..., cite Juan Cole at your peril. I'd challenge ol' Juany to show me his stats of this "soaring death count" while reports, lately, have stated the exact opposite.

Cole's a tool who is bashing what is popular to bash so that he can *gasp* sell his new book.

Lee Ward:

Clean up on aisle 5! Bring a mop...


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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