Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,
Insomnia
insomnia

Nevermind Petraeus... what do the Iraqis think?

(Short answer: They overwhelmingly feel that the Surge is making things worse.) 

A new poll, conducted by ABC News, Britain's BBC, and Japan's public broadcaster NHK, indicates that seventy percent of Iraqis surveyed feel that security has worsened where the added "surge" forces were sent, with another 11 percent saying the buildup has had no effect on security.

Frankly, to me, this is shocking, in that the Kurds, about 25% of the total Iraqi population, have strongly supported the occupation in polls up to this point. In other words, if the Kurdish pro-occupation stance still exists to a large part, then almost all the Sunni and Shi'a -- those predominantly affected by the surge's deployment -- want U.S. forces out.

It also points towards a great deal of (self?)deception on the part of the U.S. military and its leaders as far as what is happening in Iraq.  As I noted recently, the rush of Iraqis fleeing their homes due to threats and civil violence has increased sharply, with Baghdad becoming largely depopulated of its once dominant Sunni population.

In other words, ethnic/sectarian cleansing.

Said Arikat, a spokesman for the United Nations in Baghdad, recently said that sectarian cleansing by Shi'ite death squads is continuing, and that people are fleeing in greater numbers that ever. 

"Despite the surge, despite the efforts being conducted, people are still fleeing. . . Bodies are still being found. Baghdad is definitely becoming a Shi'ite city. Sunnis are fleeing." 

Iraq's ambassador to the United States, Samir Sumaida'ie, also recently acknowledged that increased "homogeneity" has been a major cause of a decrease in violence inside of Baghdad. 

Statistics collected by the Iraqi Red Crescent indicate that the number of internally displaced Iraqis has more than doubled, from 499,000 to 1.1 million, since the start of the troop "surge."

So, indeed, the U.S. *HAS* helped make Baghdad safer... for the followers of Moqtada al-Sadr, whose supporters now quietly dominate the majority of neighborhoods in Baghdad, providing many of the social services that the U.S. and the Iraqis have been unable to deliver themselves. Under the current circumstances, Sadr doesn't *need* to rely on his militia to help remove the last remaining Sunnis, as the general Shi'a population of Baghdad are doing it themselves, with police forces turning a blind eye to such actions.

The nature of this problem is highlighted in a recent report that indicates that Iraq's largely Shi'a police force is riddled with militia, and should be entirely disbanded and reformed. 

"The national police have proven operationally ineffective," were the conclusions of a panel headed by retired Marine General James Jones, former top U.S. military commander in Europe.

"Sectarianism in its units undermines its ability to provide security; the force is not viable in its current form," the report said. "The national police should be disbanded and reorganised."

Iraq's Interior Ministry, however, flatly refuses this idea. It simply is not going to happen for political reasons, and the U.S. has no ability to make it happen.

In other words, the police not only can't do anything without militia knowledge, can't effectively act against militia forces, and non-militia officers in the force are basically pressured to turn their backs on militia violence, lest they be informed on by their co-workers, and personally targeted. Anonymity is vital if you want to be an Iraqi cop and not face reprisal attacks, but if you cross the militia forces and one of your pro-militia co-workers knows about it, you and your family can very easily become public targets.

At this point, it's nearly impossible for the coalition to build a stable, democratic Iraq, because... well... the underpinning of any such stable society is entirely dependent on its people. You could get all the leaders in Iraq to forge a power-sharing agreement, but it would still fail outside of the Green Zone. In the case of Iraq, those people are entirely too divided to support *A* stable society. Maybe a few seperate states who strongly distrust each other, but one democratic Iraq? Not likely.

"He shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." [Matt 7:6-27]

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