In the Arena

Today in Iraq

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Huffington Post has latched on to the news nugget that the dread Ahmed Chalabi is back in Nancy Youssef’s excellent latest from Iraq, but the real value of the story is to show how utterly hapless the central government is…and how the excellent work being done by the U.S. military will be futile unless that situation changes. I’m not sure that putting Chalabi–who holds a doctorate in embezzlement–will change things for the better. In fact, I’m fairly sure it won’t.

Meanwhile, Juan Cole links to a terrific piece in the Telegraph about the anarchy in Basra. As I wrote last week, the biggest U.S. decision right now is whether the engage in the Shi’ite civil war, which seems to spreading and intensifying. Take, for example the Mahdi Army’s alleged role in the kidnapping of 11 Diyala sheiks (both Sunni and Shi’ite). To join this battle–against the Sadrists, I assume–is madness.