February 20, 2006

Getting Out

This is interesting:

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq warned Iraqi politicians Monday they risk a loss of American support if they do not establish a genuine national unity government, saying the United States will not invest its resources in institutions run by sectarians.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad delivered his blunt warning during a rare press conference after signs that talks on a new government following the December elections were not going well because of sharp differences among the country's Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political parties.

Failure to establish a unity government that includes a strong role for Sunni Arabs would fail to undermine the Sunni-dominated insurgency and throw into question U.S. plans for a phased withdrawal of the 138,000 American troops here.

The Shiite and Kurds have felt empowered to freeze out the Sunni, knowing that US troops will protect them when the Sunni turn to violence. This is a move to take away that safety blanket and force a hard political choice on the Shiite and Kurds. Now it could turn out they can't unify with the Sunni (or each other) Which means some form of civil war. Which is a war the US Ambassador just said we won't fight.

1 comment:

Larry Rosenblum said...

Wow. It almost seems like a rational statement coming from the Bush administration. However, it is really probably the opening shot of the 2006 campaign, when Bush will pull a few troops out and promise more in 2007 "if this" and "subject to that" - things that (surprise!) don't happen when we actually get to 2007.

And while we may eventually withdraw from day-to-day hostilities, as the Iraqis start killing each other in earnest, we are not likely to leave Iraq entirely any time soon. Bush's "reconstruction" has actually been all about the construction of four permanent bases and a huge US embassy compound. Here's a link (thanks to Kevin Drum):