TPJ: So going into the sixth year of this war the Iraqi military and police STILL can't and won't fight on their own. In many cases defecting members are turning in their guns because they do not want to fight their Shia brothers.
Mr al-Maliki has gambled everything on the success of Operation Saulat al-Fursan, or Charge of the Knights, to sweep illegal militias out of Basra. In Baghdad, the Mahdi Army took over neighbourhood after neighbourhood, some amid heavy fighting, others without firing a shot.
In New Baghdad, militiamen simply ordered the police to leave their checkpoints: the officers complied en masse and the guerrillas stepped out of the shadows to take over their checkpoints.In Baghdad, thousands of people marched in demonstrations in Shia areas demanding an end to the Basra operation, burning effigies of Mr al-Maliki, whom they branded a new dictator, and carrying coffins with his image on it.
Later Saturday, the military announced that two American soldiers had been killed by a roadside bomb in Shiite-controlled eastern Baghdad.
“Unfortunately we were expecting one thing but we saw something else,” said Ali Hussam, 48, a teacher, who said that after Saddam Hussein the people of Basra hoped for peace. “But unfortunately with the presence of this new government and this democracy that was brought to us by the invader it made us kill each other.”
“And the war is now between us,” he said.TPJ: One resident of Basra who had worked as a translator with the British army had no hope for a stable Iraq after 5 years of war. "The police in Basra are useless and helping the Mahdi Army. The militia are hiding among the civilians. This country will never be safe, I want to leave for ever. I don’t know how to get out of this hell.”
A lot of experts that I have read are saying that the only reason Maliki is going after Sadr's army is because he fears losing power and control in the government to Sadr's party in the upcoming election. So-called, "Democracy" hasn't changed anything over-there, they still are using power to settle old rivalries and control the levers of government. Democracy is just seen as a new tool to gain an edge on long-time enemies.
This is an area of the world that has many different ethnic and religious groups that have fought for generations and will only stop when they are ready. We can artificially separate them with our "surge" troops and obtain a certain amount of stability but the rivalries still burn underneath and will outlast our resources to maintain that separation.
We think that we are the reason that violence has slowed but the real reason is because the various factions have established a fragile cease-fire and are now showing with this renewed violence of who is in charge. If they want to kill each other then they will and do find a way to battle and will always do so.
The BIG problem that many have refused to face is that most Iraqis are more loyal to their religious groups and clans than the government. It is fairly common in many parts of the world such as the Middle-East, Africa and parts of Asia. We naively think that citizens in every country get along and integrate into a greater society as easily as we do for the most part. In reality, the cohesive nature of modern Democracies are very rare in the vast scheme of things. In America we believe the world to be simple, black and white with a simple solution and answer to everything.
The American experiment has succeeded against the odds of historical patterns of shifting power blocks that constantly jockey for position from decade to decade and into the centuries. America is relatively young as countries go and so we haven't had enough history for major differences to form resulting in a series of wars. Whereas most of the old world has had centuries of history fighting wars over ancient and passionate differences.
The only time that we have had a real split amongst our countrymen was during the civil war and that was over a hundred and twenty some years now. Yet subtle grudges and rivalries still remain in the south. So imagine differences that have existed since the 600's and back to the Biblical era and you'll have a good idea why Iraqis have such a drive to fight for power and control of their land. This history of battles and fighting back and forth for power and control is even more passionate when you throw in the dedication of fighting for your religion which you see is your God's will. If you are fighting in the name of God then you are willing to go to any length to maintain the struggle and defeat your enemies.
In Iraqis haven't settled their ancient differences by now then how do we think that spending a decade or even a hundreds years as McCain wants will solve problems that have existed for century after century.
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