Thursday, February 22, 2007

British withdrawal from Iraq

Dick Cheney says that the British announcement that they are pulling troops out of Iraq is more of that fabled good news that we keep hearing rumors about: "Well, I look at it and see it is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well." Gosh, Dick, that's great.

Military analyst Anthony Cordesman has a different view, as he explains in The
British Defeat in the South and the Uncertain Bush "Strategy" in Iraq: "Oil Spots," "Ink Blots," "White Space," or Pointlessness? (Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS]) 02/21/07.

This report contains some information from earlier reports of his, like
The New Bush Strategy for Iraq: What Are the Chances of "Victory?" 02/05/07.

The difference in the usage of quotation marks in the more recent title gives a good sense of how quickly his overall assessment of the prospects for the Cheney-Bush policy in Iraq is cathching up to his grim view of the situation on the ground.

Basically, he says the Bris have been defeated in Basra. Defeated politically and defeated militarily and all they are doing at this point in strenthening Shi'a militia control of the official security forces there. So they're leaving.

While he still holds out a quickly-shrinking strand of hope for the US policy, let's just say he seems to be leaning toward the "pointlessness" response to the question in his paper's title:

The irony is that British defeat and force cuts may well have the same de facto effect as the new set of US military operations in Baghdad. If the Shi'ite militias in Baghdad continue to stand down, and US-led operations continue to focus on local security and defeating the Sunnis, the end result of creating "white spots" in Baghdad will be to solidify Shi'ite control over most of the city and province, segregate Sunnis, and push Sunnis into divided areas outside the city. In effect, both the UK and US may end up acting to expand Shi'ite influence in very different ways. (emphasis in orginal)
Y'all have done a "heckuva job", Bush and Blair and Cheney!

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