March 25, 2008

The Sadrists' Mistake

The Guardian claimed that the "surge" in Iraq was about to unravel because of strike threats from Sunni militiamen they reported last week, but if you head over to a newly-redesigned Pajamas Media today, you'll see that the threats of a strike were resolved weeks before the Guardian stories ran.

The stories were an attempt to grab defeat in the media while the threat of actual defeat on the ground seems ever more fleeting.

Yesterday, left-wing surrogate McClatchy Newspapers—they even has the ridiculous "Truth to Power" tagline—attempted to claim defeat from the opposite perspective, noting that some of the Sadrists in Iraq seem to be feeling a bit rambunctious after a long period of relative silence.

The left side of the blogosphere, always willing to latch on to even the hint of bad news without even pretending to vet their sources, were quick to declare this as reason 6,578,902 that we've already lost the war in Iraq and it is time for our troops to come home, or to at least within spitting distance.

Reality, of course, is another story.

It has long been known that at some point the Iraqi government would have to take on the criminal element that gravitated to the Sadrists, and unfortunately for these Sadrists, they waited far too long to engage. They haven't stood a chance of a military victory against IA forces for at least two years, which is why al Sadr himself continues to issue ceasefires from the safety of Tehran. Recent attempts by Sadrists to use threats and the force of arms for political ends is now likely to consolidate the power of the central government behind a string of Sadrist defeats in Basra and Baghdad.

Those on the left seem to think that any deviation from stasis in Iraq is a sign of failure, but the fact is that for a society to be stable, the government must first establish a monopoly of force.

Part of that involves either incorporating or destroying militias. In Sunni provinces, the Iraqi government is slowly incorporating the Sons of Iraq into both security and non-security positions even as they root-out the remains of al Qaeda. In Shiite areas including parts of Baghdad and Basra, this means eliminating the influence of criminal gangs hiding under al Sadr's banner.

The conflict isn't exactly a welcome development—even a temporary increase in violence will impact the innocent—but the longer-term consolidation of power by the federal government requires an eventual dissolution of Sadr's militia. Most hoped that such a dissolution of al Sadr's power would be purely political in nature, but the Sadrist gangs seem to have made the mistake of engaging Iraq's modernized security forces directly, the resolution of the long-expected inter-sect conflict will likely be more immediate than most expected, and much to Muqtada al-Sadr's dismay.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 25, 2008 10:18 AM

To summarize our current CounterInsurgency Warfare doctrine, it isn't about killing them all and letting God sort them out, its about convincing the enemy to stop fighting, then kill the rest who refuse to put down their arms. "Some people you just can't reach" says The Captain in Cool Hand Luke. This is exactly what you are seeing. Sadr doesn't want a war, that's why he extended the ceasefire. Now the last of the dead enders are going to stir up some trouble, whis is the way they wants it. Well theys get it.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at March 25, 2008 11:09 AM

The War against The War was lost long ago and not merely when Kerry went down to such well deserved defeat. Certainly if the citizenry agreed that the war were lost as of course they were saying even then, the Boston Brahmin would have won handily. No dice. Okay, so let's get a Dem majority in the Congress. Done and done. But even the Unblinking Nancy knows that the solutions the Dems promise to their braindead followers are obsolete at best. But promise they must or lose the Kos crowd and therefore the primaries. Obama showed some sense actually, in the Samantha Power incident. I hope to hell, as she said, that he meant to deal responsibly with Iraq regardless of campaign promises. Hillary was no doubt likewise bent on being sensible once in office. But now she must, if she serves her ambition, get even to the LEFT of Barry for baroque tactical reasons. Would either of these geniuses have fared better or differently from W in Iraq and with Iran? We'll never know because once the question is Who will fight the war better? McCain mops the floor with either or BOTH of these flyweights, other objectionable positions aside. So, sorry Lefties. You are not going to get the chance to throw this one. Even Edwards would not commit to withdraw forces WITHIN HIS FIRST TERM! That would have been five more years of war at that time. This is what the leftiest contender and stupidest man in American politics realized was a minimum. The backlash, well, that's where we are now but the Defeatists, properly understood, are roundly defeated.

Posted by: megapotamus at March 25, 2008 11:17 AM

The Left is for anything that even gives a hint of making it look like America is losing. They hang on anything slighly bad, and ignore anything good.

Posted by: William Teach at March 25, 2008 12:41 PM

I've been looking for the link. But, a recent story indicated that the Iraqi government has been planning to go after the Sadr/Badr bunches down Basra way because they are effectively the mafia robbing the government and any legitimate business blind, killing people they don't like, destroying homes, burning businesses, etc, etc, etc.

Much of the oil that goes missing is filtering through the hands of the Sadrists and Badrists. they hi-jack any shipping transportation not guarded by the military, extort protection money, etc, etc, etc. No legitimate business can be done without them and they make business too expensive so iraq's economy is suffering.

Then there is that really interesting Time's piece from a day or so ago about the Quds trained Shia militia who keep setting up IEDs, attacking the government and US forces. Iran has been talking out of two sides of its face. The Iraqi government could not be seen, once again, to be pro-Iranian and let these forces keep getting away with it. Nor could Maliki be beholden to Sadr in the government anymore if he hoped to establish a legitimate government for everybody.

It's also a good way to remind the Iranians that maliki will shake their hands and smile big on the front lawn while discussing economics and electricity, but he will be killing their proxies in the back forty.

Posted by: kat-missouri at March 25, 2008 03:22 PM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 03/28/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Posted by: David M at March 28, 2008 10:21 AM