Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fighting Other People's Wars

The Iraqi surge is ramping up. Already people are pointing out some reductions in Shi'ite militia actions in Baghdad. Obviously, sitting comfortably in Chicago I don't have a direct line on what is happening half a world away but I don't for one minute believe U.S. forces are dismantling or killing off the Shi'ite militias.

My guess is that Al-Sadr and other Shi'ite leaders see the surge for what it is: political cover to declare a victory and to leave. The murderous thugs are laying low. Meanwhile, the Sunnis, also seeing what is going on. They are the minority and when the U.S. leaves the Shi'ites will get down to the serious sectarian cleansing. So they are making a desparate last stand. The U.S. troops respond to this and start doing the Shi'ite's dirty work for them.

We've effectively, if not intentionally, taken sides in the Iraqi civil war. If and when that war spreads to the wider region we will have alienated the Sunnis, the majority in the region and those sitting on the largest oil reserves. Meanwhile, the Shia lead governments in the region, Iran and Syria, have already been maligned by the U.S.

What a mess we have made! The U.S. will spend decades trying to recover from this.



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