Thursday, July 19, 2007

Misreading Iraq, Again

Robert Parry:

George W. Bush and his neoconservative supporters are hailing some signs of cooperation between Iraqi Sunni tribal leaders and U.S. forces in rooting out al-Qaeda extremists in Anbar Province as proof that Bush’s military occupation of Iraq is finally working and should not be ended by Congress.

...But the Anbar evidence could be read almost exactly the opposite way: that it is the growing belief among Sunnis that the American occupation is nearing its end that has caused some of them to view the U.S. military as a lesser evil and position themselves for what they perceive as the next phase of the conflict.

Anticipating a U.S. departure, these Sunnis are now more concerned about defending Sunni territory against the Shiite-dominated government army as well as eradicating al-Qaeda extremists whose indiscriminate killings have offended Iraqis of all stripes.

In other words, believing that the U.S. public and Congress will force Bush’s hand on military withdrawal, these Sunnis see the need to secure American armaments to match up against their Shiite rivals (if an intensified civil war should ensue), and they see the hyper-violent foreign jihadists as a threat to the province’s traditional Sunni power structure.

From this angle, the Anbar developments underscore why it's a good idea for the U.S. government to make clear its intention to leave Iraq, not what Bush and neocons see, another reason to extend the occupation indefinitely.
Well put.