St John McBush says US succeeding in Iraq
We're succeeding. I don't care what anybody says. I've seen the facts on the ground," the Arizona senator insisted a day after a roadside bomb in Baghdad killed four U.S. soldiers and rockets pounded the U.S.-protected Green Zone there, and a wave of attacks left at least 61 Iraqis dead nationwide.Now McClatchy sees things a little differently:
Is 'success' of U.S. surge in Iraq about to unravel?
BAGHDAD — A cease-fire critical to the improved security situation in Iraq appeared to unravel Monday when a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in west Baghdad and issuing demands of the central government.The only way the obvious reduction in violence could be maintained was for political reconciliation to occur. It has not and in fact because of the actions of the al Malaki government it has become even less likely. As we have pointed out here before the main reason violence is down in Baghdad is that the ethnic cleansing of the city was nearly complete before the surge began. As McClatchy notes another big reason was the truce by Sadr's Mahdi Army which is on the verge of breaking down in large part because of actions by the al Malaki government. And a third reason is the Awakening Council model of Sunni militia members which is also on the verge of breaking down at least in part because the al Malaki government fears them and so refuses to give them official legitimacy. We have seen an increase in the violence every month this year and without any movement on the political front we can expect that to continue. McClatchy also points out that coverage of Iraq has decreased dramatically over the last year. As the violence increases again so will the coverage. Iraq will once again be a big issue long before November which will make life very difficult for Mr McCain.
Simultaneously, in the strategic southern port city of Basra, where Sadr's Mahdi militia is in control, the Iraqi government launched a crackdown in the face of warnings by Sadr's followers that they'll fight government forces if any Sadrists are detained. By 1 a.m. Arab satellite news channels reported clashes between the Mahdi Army and police in Basra.
The freeze on offensive activity by Sadr's Mahdi Army has been a major factor behind the recent drop in violence in Iraq, and there were fears that the confrontation that's erupted in Baghdad and Basra could end the lull in attacks, assassinations, kidnappings and bombings.