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View Diary: Bush in deal with Iraqi insurgents, a major policy shift? (37 comments)

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  •  asdf (4.00)
    There was an interesting interview with a US officer based in Sadr City on Channel 4's Dispatches strand a couple of weeks ago: basically, according to this officer, the US military are under explicit orders not to touch Sadr - and there's a very good reason for this.

    It's not that Sadr has become an ally all of a sudden, as he manifestly is not - it's that the US has now realised that it's "fate" hangs in the hands of the religious Shia in Iraq; and that if it makes the mistake of provoking a full spectrum Shia insurgency, which arresting or killing Sadr would certainly do, then the bulk of the US military component stationed in Iraq will simply never come home. That is not a palatable outcome.

    The US has essentially checkmated itself - it has forgotten that it has no friends in Iraq, and is doing the hard work of fighting the Shia's enemies, whilst the Shia hold the sword of Damocles over their heads. This is not a simple case of blowback at all - this is an inversion of the old imperial divide and rule strategy in which the religious Shia have largely stood aside whilst their enemies fight each other, weakening themselves in the process, and who will become desperate, eventually, to accept whatever decent bargain they can get.

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