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September 05, 2007

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Yep. George Bush is a bold faced liar. Anyone up for yellow cake at the victory party?

I agree with Bush recognizing the success of a "bottom up" approach for peace within some Sunni areas, but I do not agree with any attempts for him to claim credit for this being a result of US military occupation.

I have believed for at least the last year that peace will have to be established from the bottom up, enforced by those who are from the very communities they protect. They are the ones who actually know and care about those whom they police and they can be trusted by the community. A top down peace enforced by a central army has failed to work because it lacks decisive and loyal cohesion and is wrought with deadly corruption and splintering self interest.

But to be clear, it appears the peace we see today in al Anbar is a result of the effort of Sunnis on their own behalf. We did not 'pacify' them and they are not our 'allies'. They still want us gone as much as anyone else in Iraq.

Moreover, the bottom up mechanism for peace being established that we are witnessing in Anbar arguably is evidence that if we begin withdrawing, subsequent chaos and genocide (the neocons' favorite threat in the debate against withdrawal) would not be the expected outcome for most of the country.

Exceptions would be places like Baghdad where large numbers of Sunni and Shia mix in an urban jungle. Even so, it appears that much of the ethnic cleansing and ethnic displacement that is so feared in the absence of our troops appears to have already been well underway and gone far despite our presence and in spite of the 'surge'.

And now we’re pinning out hopes for lasting stability in a baathist stronghold on heavily arming the same factions led by "tribal chieftains" who not long ago were ordering their followers to shoot at and blow up our soldiers and marines.

What did they used to call it when you were in a war with somebody and they were killing your soldiers, and then later on, you stop fighting them, let them keep some of your guns, and then withdraw? There was a term for it, I can't remember it.

Ah, yes. "Losing a war." That was it.

Comment to "Dismayed" . . . I thought I remember reading a few days back that ethnic cleansing has been mostly accomplished in Western Baghdad, which is why the violence in Western Baghdad has decreased. (But, alas, I can't remember the source.... can anyone help?)

I think you are referring to this Huffington post article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/09/03/newsweek-ethnic-cleansin_n_62909.html

I might also direct you to an article "The war as we saw it" that originally ran in the NY time opinion page just a few weeks ago. Truthout has it posted here:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/081907A.shtml

I thought it a pretty dead on assesment written by soldiers who had been on the ground and was a amazed that it was little noticed.

Don't know why your question made me think of that commentary, but one seems to illuminate the other.

I agree with those who state that 'the surge' did not "pacify" Al Anbar. However, I don't think that it is a "bottom-up" development. In fact I think that Cheney's trip to the House of Saud in May was the commencement of a new approach to the Iraq occupation debacle. Here's my take:

Bush in Anbar province – Portent of the New Strategery

Of course, Bush was actually ensconced at the Al Asad Air Force Base, an “island” fortress with some 12 miles of desert moat on all sides. In the new Iraq strategy, though, this will be the main base of U.S. operations in southwest Asia for at least the remainder of the Bush regime. As I have diaried in the European Tribune, I think that we have embarked on a two- or three-state (if Kurdistan is allowed to survive) solution to the national problem, formerly known as Iraq.

To summarize the previous diaries: Iraqi Sunni and Shi’a warriors are proxies in the competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran (respectively) for regional – and sectarian – domination. The U.S. now agrees with Saudi Arabia that the idea of nationhood for Iraq is not achievable. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have reason to believe that the most productive petroleum deposits probably lie, undiscovered, under the sands of western Iraq – the home of the Saudi’s Sunni brethren. The line of U.S. forts from the western Kurdish region to the air base in Basrah province, running through Baghdad, will be the demarcation line between Sunni and Shi’a regions.

The recent “quiet” in Al Anbar is due to Saudi influence on the Sunni tribal chieftains in this western region. (As a related benefit of this influence, the “surge” in Baghdad was partly implemented by reduction in ground forces in the western regions. The reduction in numbers of U.S. troops and in the aggressiveness of U.S. operations there – other than in Fallujah – created conditions for the Sunni population to feel an improvement in their situation, making them more amenable to this new plan.)

Ayad Allawi is being promoted as a new leader for a new government. He – or some other U.S./Saudi creature – will oversee a federal solution, where the regions will be far more autonomous than envisioned in the past national scheme. The line of demarcation will become a “frontline” for U.S. forces to defend the Sunni west from the Shi’a east. Attacks from the east will then be treated as Iranian provocations and will serve as justification for major missile and bombing attacks on Iran.

In the context of a ‘genuine’ frontline, such rationales will work once again, both with respect to the morale of the armed forces and – maybe – of the support of the U.S. population. The relatively secure western region can then be explored, and the oil fields will be developed. At that point Syria can be easily separated from Iranian influence; the pipeline system in Syria will be augmented to take on western Iraq oil, and Syria will bank the toll fees.

Militarily, the situation becomes a combination of classic 20th century warfare: a secure rear area, overwhelming firepower on a hair-trigger frontier, and logistical support and major airpower centered at the most secure base in the region – the air base that Bush just visited. Giving up on a national solution ends the Viet Nam analogy; the only fish swimming in the desert seas will be “friendlies” – any non-native species will soon be dead. There will be woe unto the seventh generation of anyone caught sabotaging any device related to an oil facility. In fact, forget the idea of a second generation, let alone a seventh.

OK – this diary does not add much to my previous, related articles. It was more prompted by the graphic effect of Bush’ visit to the new military nerve center for U.S. meddling and mayhem in the area. It will be interesting to see what part the “Biden plan“ may play in next week’s reports, testimonies, debates, and general bushwah. If partition is not effectively the main strategy by the end of September, I think that they will roll it out in the next Friedman Unit, after the Democrats roll over.

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