In the Arena

Iraq Roundup

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This is a great piece of journalism by Sabrina Tavernise. Earlier in the war, an announcement that the Iraqis were rolling up Sadr’s henchmen would be greeted with unqualified huzzahs from the press and Bush administration. Not anymore. This detail was especially telling:
In an interesting twist, the militia’s leadership has not visibly fought back against the crackdown. American commanders say that the arrests do not draw the howling objections they used to in 2004, because Mr. Sadr’s militia has splintered so deeply since then that the members they are arresting are more criminal than political and considered by Mr. Sadr to be disloyal renegades.
In that assessment, Mr. Sadr could even be using the government and the American military to purge his own ranks of undesirables.

In fact, I’ve become pretty suspicious about Maliki’s motivations in general, especially his asking for more Iraqi troops and military equipment. Everyone seems to think training more Iraqis is a good idea, but isn’t it possible that we’re just creating bigger and better Shi’ite militias down the road? Sadr is, after all, Maliki’s primary source of political support. My guess is, Maliki and Sadr are milking us for what they can get now and waiting us out. Eventually we’ll leave and they can resume their ethnic cleansing campaign.