January 20th, 2005

fashionable

Leading Iraqi politician demands timetable for U.S. withdrawl.

Juan Cole has some very interesting news about the political situation in Iraq. It confirms something that I've suspected for awhile -- that a future elected Iraqi government will set a timetable for the withdrawl of the U.S. Coalition from Iraq.

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who I've discussed previously, gave a press conference on Wednesday, in which he stated his intent for Iraqis to resume full control of Iraq's security as soon as possible.

The party platform for the United Iraqi Alliance which he heads specifically says that if they win, they will demand a timetable for the withdrawl of foriegn troops from Iraq. The British Government, hurting politically from its involvement in Iraq, apparently supports just such a timetable, but seem to believe that the U.S. are, for the moment, dodging the issue. This hints at the strong possibility of Hakim legitimizing Iraqi religious paramilitary groups and using them as part of a stabilization force. Given that Hakim is hinting at giving his "Badr Brigades" a significant role in stabilizing Iraq, and that they were trained in Iran and have been enforcing a kind of de facto Shar'ia in Basra, it's understandable why the Bush administration has little to say on the subject.

Bush will obviously want to spin a victory out of this mess, but really, it just doesn't exist... especially when he could've achieved a more effective end game in half the time with a third as many dead soldiers and Iraqis.