Once again I have to point to Juan Cole. In one simple paragraph he points out the futility of the matter. I'm willing to bet that 99% of American's wouldn't be able tell who is affiliated with whom in Iraq. Who exactly are we fighting there? Who is our enemy? Is it Alqaeda or the Mahdi army? The sad answer is that we just don't know.So we will continue to spill blood and treasury for what exactly? I'm still looking for an answer.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
McCain, the Retired Military "Analysts" and the Myth of al-Qaeda in Iraq
I am quoted in this NYT piece today on John McCain's allegations that the US is fighting "al-Qaeda" in Iraq and that there is a danger of "al-Qaeda" taking over the country if the US leaves.Those allegations don't make any sense. McCain contradicts himself because he sometimes warns that the Shiites or Iran will take over Iraq. He doesn't seem to realize that the US presided over the ascension to power in Iraq of pro-Iranian Shiite parties like Nuri al-Maliki's Islamic Mission Party and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. So which is it? There is a danger that pro-Iranian Shiites will take over (which is anyway what we have engineered) or that al-Qaeda will? It is not as if they can coexist. Since the Shiites are 60 percent and by now well armed and trained, and since the Sunni Arabs are only 17 percent of the population and since only about 1 percent of them perhaps supports Salafi radicalism--how can the latter hope to take over?Even if McCain only means, as his campaign manager tried to suggest, that "al-Qaeda" could take over the Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, that doesn't make any sense either (McCain has actually alleged that al-Qaeda would take over the whole country.) The Salafi radicals have lost in al-Anbar Province. Diyala Province, one of the other three predominantly Sunni areas, is ruled by pro-Iranian Shiites. That leaves Salahuddin and Ninevah Provinces. Among the major military forces in Ninevah is the Kurdish Peshmerga, some of them integrated e.g. into the Mosul police force. Hint: The Kurds don't like "al-Qaeda", i.e. Salafi radicalism. Jalal Talabani is a socialist.