Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Iraq

Instapundit does a drive by link to this post about the decrease in violence in Iraq (graphical presentation). By this measure, the surge has met its objective. You can follow the slight increase in violence at the beginning of the surge to the dramatic decline during the surge to where it now sits, somewhere around 2005 levels.

The good news: we now know the number of boots on the ground required to keep the country under some degree of control. The bad news: as we already knew, the surge is not sustainable. It was a temporary measure to buy Iraq some time for political progress (which it mostly has not made).

So what happens next?

I suspect certain nefarious forces have been laying low during this time period and are now waiting for an opportune moment to reinsert themselves into the picture. The militias of the South, for example, and particularly the Mehdi Army, are simply biding their time. The Sunni, including their contingent of Insurgents anti-al-Qaeda Freedom Fighters, freshly re-armed by the US, are busily organizing themselves back into relevancy (and as an ethnic minority in Iraq that would seem a wise thing for them to do). The Kurds, currently preoccupied with Turkey and the PKK (that's another story), have quietly put off their big Kirkuk referendum until mid-2008. The referendum, previously due at the end of 2007, was to allow the people of Kirkuk to decide whether to shift Kirkuk to Kurdish control or whether to allow it to remain under Iraqi control. Hmmmm... I wonder how that's going to turn out.

No matter how I look at it, I keep coming back to the same conclusion: the real fireworks in Iraq are going to begin when we start trying to divide up the power and allocate control of the resources.

I don't understand why anyone would be so quick to look at the surge as a great indicator of impending victory. All we've done is correct the chaos that resulted from Rumsfeld's poor military strategerizing and Bush's political stubbornness. We have yet to prove the neocon's grand Theory of Iraq. And quite frankly, I'm not holding out hope since it never made any sense.

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