Peter Galbraith, an advocate of a "three-state" solution for Iraq, i.e., separate Sunni-Arab, Sunni-Shi'a and Kurdish states, writes on The Surge New York Review of Books 02/15/07 (03/15/07 edition):
At best, Bush's new strategy will be a costly postponement of the day of reckoning with failure. But it is also a reckless escalation of the military mission in Iraq that could leave US forces fighting a powerful new enemy with only marginally more troops than are now engaged in fighting the Sunni insurgency. The strategy also risks extending Iraq's civil war to the hitherto peaceful Kurdish regions, with no corresponding gain for security in the Arab parts of the country.Tags: iraq, iraq war, peter galbraith
Until now, US forces in Iraq have been fighting, almost exclusively, the Sunni Arab insurgency. Bush's new plan calls for the US military to initiate operations against the Mahdi Army (and related militias) as well, a measure that could mean US forces will become embroiled in all-out urban warfare throughout Baghdad, a city of more than five million. In addition, the Mahdi Army has members throughout southern Iraq, in the Diyala Governorate northeast of Baghdad, and in Kirkuk. While many Shiites do not support al-Sadr (the Mahdi Army has had armed clashes with the Badr Organization belonging to the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, or SCIRI, one of the two main Shiite parties), the Mahdi Army is a formidable force comprising as many as 60,000 armed men. With Bush ratcheting up the rhetoric against Iran, the Iranian government may see a broad-based Shiite uprising against the coalition as its best insurance against a US military strike. It has every incentive to encourage—and assist—the Mahdi Army in organizing such an uprising. Iran has sufficient influence with Iraqi Shiite groups—including SCIRI—to ensure at least their neutrality in a clash with the Mahdi Army. ...
George W. Bush has said he will leave the problem of Iraq to the president elected in 2008. Rather than acknowledge failure in Iraq — and by extension a failed presidency — Bush has chosen to postpone the day of reckoning. It is a decision that will cost many American and Iraqi lives, will leave the United States weaker, and will prolong the decline in American prestige abroad caused by the mismanaged Iraq war. And it will not change the truth that the President so desperately wishes to escape: George W. Bush launched and lost America's Iraq war. (my emphasis)