Let's take a look at Iraq
To secure Baghdad and stop the sectarian killings, you need to confront Sadr. But, Maliki says you can't.
The Boston Globe:
The Boston Globe:
Yesterday, a joint US-Iraqi military raid targeting a kidnapping-and-torture operation in Sadr's stronghold in eastern Baghdad erupted into a two-hour, helicopter-supported battle with Sadr's increasingly formidable militia. The raid demonstrated the Americans' determination to challenge Sadr's militia before it grows stronger, even as they seek to avoid a full-fledged military confrontation.The AP:
Attacking Sadr carries significant risks for the United States as well as the Iraqi government. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite who relies on Sadr for political support, said yesterday he was ``very angered" by the raid, and warned that such operations could ruin his efforts to bring about national reconciliation.
Maliki's comments show just how significant Sadr's populist political movement has become. ...
After the Sadr City attack, President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, met with the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., to discuss security operations in Baghdad. Talabani said he told Casey "it is in no one's interest to have a confrontation" with Sadr's movement.But the Times of London reports this troubling development:
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Casey did not mention Sadr but said he had discussed plans with Talabani to bring "fundamental change to the security situation in Baghdad."
Casey said he hoped the new operation would "change the situation significantly prior to Ramadan," which begins in late September. "To do that," he said, "it will take the cooperation not only between the Iraqi security forces and the coalition, but with all of the people in Baghdad working together to combat terrorism.
"All the security operations are designed to protect the population. And if the people of Baghdad can cooperate with the security forces, that can happen very quickly."
But as 3,700 extra US troops were deployed on the streets of Baghdad its terrified citizens, having lost faith in the Iraqi security forces, are forming their own militias.Then there is this from Mosul, Azzaman:
The Times learnt yesterday that Tareq al-Hashemi, Iraq’s Sunni Vice-President, is forming a unit of the National Guard that will act as his personal bodyguard and fend off attacks against Addumiyah, a Sunni district surrounded by overwhelmingly Shia districts.
It will be the first official Sunni militia group and a counter to security forces that have been heavily infiltrated by Shia militias.
The left bank of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city in terms of population, has fallen to rebels fighting U.S. occupation troops and the Iraqi government.There are not even enough forces for this Baghdad security operation.
“Half of Mosul has been in rebel hands for three days and there is no sign that the government has the ability to restore its authority,” a provincial official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
The Tigris River bisects Mosul, a city with a strategic location bordering the semi-independent Kurdish enclave in the north. Mosul is also a major oil center.
Residents said the rebels have spread their control on the left bank of the city which controls major roads leading to Turkey and the Kurdish cities of Dahouk and Arbil.
Traffic on the city’s five bridges is suspended as U.S. helicopters and warplanes roam the skies.
The city’s inhabitants, estimated at more than 2 million people, do not venture to leave their homes.
Iraqi police patrols are only visible in the right bank of the River Tigris and fierce clashes are reported even there.
Lt. Gen. Wathiq al-Hamdani, Mosul’s police chief, said in a press conference that his men had killed 20 rebels in the past few days.
U.S. troops, which had left Mosul and handed security over to Iraqi forces, rushed to the city and enforced a curfew in many areas.