It IS about time we went after the roots of the majority of problems in Iraq, and one of those IS al-Sadr and his merry band of militias.
A raid involving American forces in Najaf is particularly embarrassing for Maliki. Last week, in an elaborate ceremony, the U.S.-led coalition handed over control of Najaf to Iraqi forces.
"The agreement between the two sides when the security profile was transferred to the Iraqi side is that the Iraqi side should know about any operations or actions done by the multinational forces," said Sadiq al-Rikabi, a political adviser to Maliki.
Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the top U.S military spokesman in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad that the raid was led by 35 soldiers from the 8th Iraqi Army Division Forces, with eight U.S. troops serving as advisers.
"It was an Iraqi-led, planned operation consistent with the fact that Najaf now has been passed to provincial Iraqi control and that the U.S. forces don't operate there independently," he said.
It is time for Maliki and the US to work towards dealing with the root of the problems that are faced in Iraq instead of trying to manage the "symptoms" that stem from those roots.
Captain Ed makes a great point also about this:
Up to now, the US has deferred to Nouri al-Maliki on the question of Sadr, and predictably Sadr has taken the opportunity to grow more aggressive. However, after walking out of the governing coalition recently, Sadr has reduced the deterrent to act against his militias -- and the US took advantage of that opportunity in kind.
The message? The US has tired of Sadr and his death squads, and we have apparently decided not to defer to Maliki on that issue any longer. Maliki no longer enjoys much confidence with the US at any rate, and earlier this month was the potential victim of a government reorganization that got scotched at the last minute by Ali al-Sistani. That failure seems to have convinced American forces to switch to Plan B in order to marginalize Sadr.
Most of us that have the ability to "think" understand that appeasement in any form DOES NOT WORK, and Maliki's constant appeasement to al-Sadr has hindered the US efforts and this needs to end. Maliki does not have the time to learn the lessons that we have already learned Re: North Korea, Iran etc....
Will al-Sadr now start to legitimately try to curb the militias or will it be his door we knock on next?
A couple lines of a NYT article caught my eye:
“I believe everyone, to some extent, is influenced by the militias,” Colonel Miska said. “While some Iraqi security forces may be complicit with the militias, others fear for their families when confronting the militia, and that is the more pervasive threat.”
As it stands, the police and military answer to different ministries, and within the police force the bureaucracy is divided even further between the regular police and the national police. On top of that are about 145,000 armed men who work as protection detail for the Facilities Protection Services, with minimal oversight, according to United States military officials.
This seems to be the bottom line here and although this may not be a popular thought to some of my brethren on the right, and I am admittedly NOT an expert in this area, but from my comfy home reading the news and the military's words which I so often quote here because the MSM doesn't seem to care what they have to say unless it fits with their agenda, I have come to a couple conclusions.
1st. Although I understand our "goal" is to help Iraq stand on its own to be able to defend and sustain itself, that cannot be achieved by allowing fear of militias to determine how situations are handled.
2nd. We should not be handing over security to the Iraqi's until we have already secured Iraq and then we can redeploy after achieving success
3rd. If the Iraqi politicians are making decisions based on fear for their lives or their families lives, they cannot make appropriate decisions.
With those three conclusions in mind, I firmly believe that the only parties that cannot have their families threatened by the militias ARE the US military, we should not be limited to what we can do by Iraqi's political parties.
My final conclusion is this:
The US military should firmly take full control of all security issues, deal with the insurgency, stabilize Iraq and then, only then, train the Iraqi troops to "maintain" the stability WE have created. Then the politicians can do their jobs without fear and the political process can actually work.
This would free Maliki from the political ramifications of going up against al-Sadr, we would be the ones to deal with it.
The old expression about too many cooks in the kitchen fits very well here. There are too many bosses, too many parties that Maliki needs to keep happy and too many militias threatening the families of those that oppose their views.
From all the information available it would benefit us greatly AND get our soldiers home faster if we just "got the job done" instead of trying to pacify everyone at our own expense.
Now, many will say I am over simplifying things when I say "just get the job done", but I do not think we would have that hard a time of getting things done if WE took things out of the politicans hands and let the military do what they there for.... securing Iraq should come before training Iraqi's.
If we have information about one militia setting off just ONE roadside bomb, we should have the ability and the full control to take that militia out without having to go through the political process in which the politicians will just insist that we appease the offending militia.
We wish Iraqi to adopt the policies of Democracy, but we tend to forget or ignore that Iraq has been under the control of a violent dictator for decades before we toppled Hussein, therefore the Iraqi's do not know HOW a non violent democracy works yet.
Imagine America with Democrats and Republicans and either party using a group of people with bombs to further their agenda, would we allow it? Hell NO. So how can we teach the Iraqi's about democracy if we do not put an end to that behavior?
If we are to be the teachers to the Iraqi's about democracy, shouldn't the first lesson be that politics should not be decided by who has more suicide bombers or death squads?
Secure Iraq, train the Iraqi forces, hand it to the politicians AFTER Iraq is secured, and come home.
The next door we knock on should be al-Sadr's.
A special thank you to Conservative Times for cross posting this.
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