As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Toward Hopefulness In Iraq?

This incursion into Sadr City appears to have been net with little resistance. And the Basra operation does appear to be improving, with the Iraqi security forces performing well.

I'm not quite as hopeful as Kevin Drum about this; the Sadrist elements may have just melted away just like insurgency elements have dozens of times, and in the long-term multiple problems (like resolving Kirkuk, bringing those armed Sunni groups into the government, Maliki's poor leadership) remain. Indeed, even in this "good news," the Sadrists are claiming that Maliki's forces are breaking the cease-fire, there are ominous warning signs.

But I'm not averse to broadcasting good news from Iraq, and indeed I seek only the best possible outcomes. An Iraqi security force that can sustain itself and carry out missions on its own is key to our eventual exit. However, you have to understand that these operations are intended to take out political rivals to Maliki, as much as they're talking about "thugs" and "criminal elements." I do think that rooting out Sadrists in Basra and Sadr City might make the lives of Iraqi citizens easier, but if the militia members making their lives horrible were allies of Maliki we wouldn't be seeing these actions at all. So it's hard for me to give sanction to one set of suppression as opposed to another.

Let's see where this goes instead of playing armchair generals.

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