Thursday, January 18, 2007

My two cents for today

The key to decreasing the violence doesn't lie in the governments. It lies in the hands of the Iraqis who do the bulk of the killings and rebuilding. The main problem with the security forces in Baghdad, both the US and Iraqi, is that they are not good policemen. They are good at killing an obvious enemy, but they are not good at dealing with criminal elements like the kidnappers and their helpers, the "chewers". As a result of this policing vacuum, it has been filled by organized crime. Except for the high profile attacks usually by Al Quaida or one its extreme Sunni allies and the surge of Shiite revenge attacks afterwards, the everyday killings have become less personal and more businesslike with money and territory being the key motivators. Sadr's and SCIRI's militias are two competing gangs who unite only when facing the Sunni gangs. Ideologists like Al Quaida and its small number of Sunni extremist allies are becoming more and more marginalized although they continue to perform high profile attacks. It will take time for Iraqis to eventually tackle the gangs effectively, but unlike past US occupations before the Vietnam War, the US and Iraq doesn't have the luxury of having the US stay indefinitely in force. Although Al Quaida is losing ground in Iraq, Al Quaida's war on the battleground that is the American people's will is succeeding, and the American people will not have the US become Iraq's umbrella for a prolonged period because of this. What this means for Iraq most likely soon after the 2008 elections is that instead of one single umbrella maintaining some level of stability until they get their act together, Iraq will be pulled by multiple external forces: Iran and Saudi Arabia being the major opposing ones ones with Syria, Jordan and Turkey playing lesser roles. God help them.

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