I was basically incommunicado yesterday due to some work related travel so I am just getting caught up on the situation in Iraq.
It appears that the media is getting ready to portray the current fighting as a failure of the surge, but I see it is the next logical extension of that strategy.
One of the purposes of the surge was to give Iraq a chance for political reconciliation to take hold while sectarian violence was suppressed, and while the reconciliation has gone slower than many (myself included) would like it is proceeding. With that in mind the next thing that needs to be accomplished is establishing the legitimate authority of the government. That can't happen when extra-governmental forces can essentially seize control of a town or region and act contrary to the policies of the government. That is what has happened in Basra, and to an extent in Sadr City. And that is what is being confronted. So what we have is the collapse, or near collapse of one insurgency and now the confrontation with another separate but parallel insurgency. If the Iraqi government is successful in their effort then it will go a long way towards cementing it's position, and the sooner that happens the sooner American forces can draw down.
On the other hand if the Iraqi Army gets their asses handed to them be ready for a long hot summer because at that point the successes of the surge will unravel.
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