I don’t know that this is the last word on the whys and why nows of the current flare up of violence in Iraq ( as I write this there are reports that things are going from boil to simmer – Moqtada al-Sadr has ordereFd a cease fire) Five Things You Need to Know to Understand the Latest Violence in Iraq, but a few things that much of the press and of course the wingnuttery is missing,
The real source of conflict in Iraq — and the reason political reconciliation has been so difficult — is a fundamental disagreement over what the future of Iraq will look like. Loosely defined, it is a clash of Iraqi nationalists — with Muqtada al-Sadr as their most influential voice — who desire a unified Iraqi state and public-sector management of the country’s vast oil reserves and who forcefully reject foreign influence on Iraq’s political process, be it from the United States, Iran or other outside forces.
When Bush, McCain and their right-wing echo keep pounding their little fists on the table claiming the right to stay in Iraq and micro-manage their government that simply adds fuel to the nationalist’s rhetoric and unnecessarily endangers the lives of American forces and those Iraqis that are keeping their heads down just trying to survive. Another instance where insecure Conservatives, anxious to show off the size of their codpiece could care less about the consequences of their words.
Muqtada al-Sadr as a “renegade,” “radical” or “militant” cleric, despite the fact that he is the only leader of significance in the country who has ordered his followers to stand down. His ostensible militancy appears to arise primarily from his opposition to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.
You don’t have to like al-Sadr to acknowledge the realities of the political dynamic. He isn’t popular because he is saying the wrong thing. Since we’re occupying a country where every side is guilty of some reprehensible behavior at some point and Bush has been happy to supply arms and money at one point to Sunnis that had associations with al-Qaeda, the argument that al-Sadr can’t be included in the political process doesn’t fly. Well except the government that Bush put in place seems tolerant of an American presence even if the majority of the population wants America out (pdf). All those purple fingers seemed to mean was that the Iraqi people had one option, the right, much like us Americans to go along with what the Bush cabal wants. In short, until Bush manipulated America into Iraq they had nothing like the low level genocide that has taken place the last five years. Leaving would be better for Iraq and us. The right-wing cry that Iraq will tumble into chaos if we leave after creating the conditions for that chaos is Big Brother speak at its most tragic. Bush and McBush only seem to be determined to waste more American lives and tax dollars for one reason and it has nothing to do with America’s security, its to save the Conservative movement from yet another in a long series of screw-ups from another failure; the kind of foolish false pride one would expect from a petulant six year old. The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War
Ending the U.S. war effort entails some risks, of course, but they are inescapable at this late date. Parts of Iraq are already self-governing, including Kurdistan, part of the Shiite south and some tribal areas in the Sunni center. U.S. military disengagement will accelerate Iraqi competition to more effectively control their territory, which may produce a phase of intensified inter-Iraqi conflicts. But that hazard is the unavoidable consequence of the prolonged U.S. occupation. The longer it lasts, the more difficult it will be for a viable Iraqi state ever to reemerge.
It is also important to recognize that most of the anti-U.S. insurgency in Iraq has not been inspired by al-Qaeda. Locally based jihadist groups have gained strength only insofar as they have been able to identify themselves with the fight against a hated foreign occupier. As the occupation winds down and Iraqis take responsibility for internal security, al-Qaeda in Iraq will be left more isolated and less able to sustain itself. The end of the occupation will thus be a boon for the war on al-Qaeda, bringing to an end a misguided adventure that not only precipitated the appearance of al-Qaeda in Iraq but also diverted the United States from Afghanistan, where the original al-Qaeda threat grew and still persists