The grand strategy of the Iraqi Army assuming national security duties is the centerpiece of the Bush strategy (as it were) for eventual U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Unfortunately but realistically, when and if the Iraqi Army is supposedly ‘ready’ somewhere down the line, it appears that the absence of U.S. forces will faciliate an even greater debacle than the current Sunni-Shiite-Kurd blood bath.
This appears inevitable.
If it is unpreventable, why not depart and let the horror take place now rather than later?
What’s the benefit of postponement?
Why have more U.S. soldiers killed and maimed? For what purpose? The enemies-at-each-other’s-throats within Iraq are only biding their time, performing lower-level numbers of murders and such–waiting and girding for the big battle.
Credit the Knight-Ridder media entity and Tom Lasseter here for once again portraying the reality that is Iraq.
Sectarian resentment extends to Iraq’s army
By TOM LASSETER
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Oct. 12, 2005
BAGHDAD, Iraq Swadi Ghilan’s two sons were dropping their sister off at high school earlier this year when a carload of Sunni Muslim insurgents pulled up and emptied their AK-47s into their bodies. In broad daylight his children were torn to pieces, their blood splashed against the windshield as they screamed and died.
Ghilan is a major in the Iraqi army and a Shiite Muslim, the sect that makes up some 60 percent of Iraq’s population. Now, more than ever, the grieving father says he wants to hunt down and kill not only Sunni guerrilla fighters but also Sunnis who give those fighters shelter and support. By that, he means killing most Sunnis in Iraq.
“There are two Iraqs; it’s something that we can no longer deny,” Ghilan said. “The army should execute the Sunnis in their neighborhoods so that all of them can see what happens, so that all of them learn their lesson.”
The Bush administration’s exit strategy for Iraq rests on two pillars: an inclusive, democratic political process that includes all major ethnic groups and a well-trained Iraqi national army. But a week spent eating, sleeping and going on patrol with a crack unit of the Iraqi army – the 4,500-member 1st Brigade of the 6th Iraqi Division – suggests that the strategy is in serious trouble. Instead of rising above the ethnic tension that’s tearing their nation apart, the mostly Shiite troops are preparing for, if not already fighting, a civil war against the minority Sunni population.
Ghilan’s army unit is responsible for security in western Baghdad, where many Sunnis live. But the soldiers are overwhelmingly Shiite, and, like Ghilan, they’re seeking revenge against the Sunnis who oppressed them during Saddam Hussein’s rule.
U.S. officials hope that Saturday’s constitutional referendum will help salve the nation’s wounds. Many of the Shiite officers and soldiers said they look forward to the constitution and December elections for a different reason. They want a permanent, Shiite-dominated government that will finally allow them to steamroll much of the Sunni minority, some 20 percent of the nation and the backbone of the insurgency.
American commanders often refer to the 1st Brigade as a template for the future of Iraq’s military. It was the first in the nation to get its own area of operations, the tumultuous western side of the Tigris River in Baghdad, and one of the first to take over a base from U.S. forces. It’s one of the rare Iraqi units with a command competent at the brigade level, instead of just smaller company or battalion-based units.
The Iraqi troops consult with American advisers daily. On big raids in dangerous areas, the Americans often take the lead with their superior firepower.
But day to day, the Iraqi officers mostly run their own show, carrying out most of the patrols and running checkpoints without help. Increasingly, however, they look and operate less like an Iraqi national army unit and more like a Shiite militia.
The brigade last week raided the home of Saleh al-Mutlak, one of the most prominent Sunni politicians in the country, a day after an Iraqi soldier was shot and killed in the neighborhood. Soldiers said some gunfire had come from the direction of Mutlak’s house during the raid on his neighborhood.
Arab satellite news stations carried images of a car with its windows smashed in Mutlak’s driveway, and Mutlak held a news conference, saying that the soldiers who came into his home were thugs.
Sgt. Maj. Asad al-Zubaidi said Mutlak was lucky he wasn’t shot.
“When we are in charge of security the people will follow a law that says you will be sentenced to prison if you speak against the government, and for people like Saleh Mutlak there will be execution,” Zubaidi said. “Thousands of people are being killed by Saleh Mutlak and these dogs.”
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