Friday, July 14, 2006

Why are the Islamists in control?

Why is it that the various Islamists have control of the streets in Baghdad? Why are they waging their shadow civil war under the noses of the Coalition and the elected Iraqi government?

I am increasingly depressed by what I read in the Iraqi blogs: everyone who can is running away. The shadow civil war goes on without much interference from the government, with a few exceptions, like the two recent raids by the police on the Mahdi army, with U.S. backup. Zarqawi is dead, but the Mujahadeen Shura Council still controls whole neighborhoods and cities, forcing people to stay inside and give up on life except for mere existence.

I once read an account of the civil war in Bosnia. Croats, Muslims and Serbs all had a common observation: it only took a savage and violent minority to drag everybody into a civil war. Once you've seen a few friends or family members die at the hands of the 'other' you have no choice but to arm yourself and avoid all contact with the 'other' even though y0u may have no common desire for war.

Of course I don't know what the percentages are. How many Shia really support the Mahdi Army? How many only support them out of fear of the Sunni Shura Council, and vice versa, of course, for the Sunni?

When you look at this post by Iraq the Model, you have to think that there must be a significant population on both sides that doesn't want this, but are dragged into it by the thugs. But they clearly have no power, the people writing on these message boards. They are Internet fighters only. The real power lays in the hands of the thugs.

And regarding the recent craziness: how many Lebanese Shia really support Hezbollah, and how many merely have no choice since they live under their rule? Somehow I doubt those Hezbollah fucks tolerate any other kind of political movement in their areas of control. (I should point out here that I make no distinctions between the Badr militia, the Mahdi militia, the Hezbollah militia, and so forth. They're all the same, they have the same methods, same fascist agenda, same sponsor: Iran)

We have a good idea just how many Israelis don't support current policy. That's because they're free to organize and air their opinions. But we have no idea about the Muslim side, except for a handful of English blogs.

The thing that drives me crazy about the situation in Iraq is that the government, which theoretically represents the will of the people, can't control the militias because they don't have a monopoly on force. It drives me insane that we've had three years to build an army and police and this is what we've got to show for it. In three years between 1941-44, the U.S. raised over a hundred divisions. Yet we can't raise six or seven Iraqi divisions to control the country? Why is it that Moqtada Sadr can raise an army of thousands and control huge swaths of urban landscape, but we can't raise a single effective division? One reason I can think of is awful: only his followers are really willing to fight, and all the other Iraqis either won't fight, or support the civil war. I hope the real reason is our simple incompetence in recruiting and equipping and training an army.

Recently I saw that a new Iraqi armored brigade is being formed, using old cast-off Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers! Why? We shouldn't be arming them with old T-55 tanks and expect them to fight, we're just setting them up for failure. The Iraqi people will never have any faith in the government, or democracy, if the streets aren't brought under control.

There is no excuse. The world's superpower should be able in three damned years to build an army that can fight off Moqtada Sadr! He did it rapidly, so why can't we?

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