The fragility of the surge is coming to light.
While the surge has been sold as a new strategy, the failings are identical to previous efforts. In the past, the efforts of US forces to establish security have been compared to stepping on a water balloon, which highlights the futility of focusing on hot spots at the expense of others. Well, the pattern appears to be continuing.
Security is deteriorating in southern Iraq as rival Shiite militias vying for power have stepped up their attacks after moving out of Baghdad to avoid U.S.-led military operations, according to the latest quarterly Pentagon report on Iraq released yesterday.
As for the much touted successes of winning over the Sunni tribal chiefs and the heroic efforts of the occupation troops to pursue Al Qaeda, it was revealed today that much of the so-called success comes down to bribes. Not only are US forces arming the Sunni insurgents, but they are dangling dollar bills in front of them to stop them shooting.
Three days later, the assassination of Abu Risha in Ramadi dramatically undercut Bush and Petraeus’ claims of Anbar victory and peacekeeping. But what else is the administration keeping from us about Anbar?
Rowley’s report, which includes interviews with candid U.S. soldiers and footage of a military commander handing a Sunni leader a wad of cash, suggests the role of bribery and coercion in building alliances that serve short-term goals in Anbar province, but in the long run deepen a multisided civil war. I talked to Rick Rowley about his report and what he thinks it indicates about Iraq’s future.
As for the dog and pony photo-ops we have been seeing of late, it appears that even those shows may be coming to an end.
The United States on Tuesday suspended all land travel by U.S. diplomats and other civilian officials in Iraq outside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, amid mounting public outrage over the alleged killing of civilians by the U.S. Embassy’s security provider Blackwater USA.
It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.