Monday, November 24, 2008

Iraq: The War Continues

The media has mostly dropped their coverage of the occupation of Iraq, but the war continues. Three bomb attacks in Baghdad killed at least 20 people. One of these attacks was a suicide bombing near an entrance to the U.S.-protected Green Zone.

These attacks come as Iraqi lawmakers prepare for a vote this week on a security pact with the U.S. and are seen by some as “a calculated show of insurgent defiance” towards the agreement.

The Iraqi parliament has postponed its vote on the proposed US-Iraq security pact from Monday to Wednesday. MPs had complained that there were not given enough time to study its provisions. It is still not clear how the Sunni Arab MPs will vote; without their support, the agreement would likely be seen as a joint Shiite-Kurdish conspiracy.

There is also evidence that the situation is tenuous with both the Sunni's and Kurds. Kurdistan continues to act as an independent country. It was revealed on Saturday that the Kurdish authority have been importing arms from Bulgaria without informing the central government in Baghdad.

Sunni Arabs in Iraq have considerable grievances against the Shia dominated government in Baghdad, though they may be willing to cooperate with it if money and works project flow to their regions. There is still some fear that the central government in Baghdad will not maintain payments to the Sons of Iraq, and Awakening Councils, who ended their insurgency and went on to the American payroll. Now that the Iraqi government has taken over these payments, any disruption or cancellation could lead to serious problems. At the same time the presidency council in Iraq is now criticizing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for building up tribal levies of Shiite Arabs into forces supporting the Prime Minister and his party. There are rumors in Iraq that these are militias that are loyal to the Da'wa or Islamic Mission Party. One of Da'wa's weaknesses has been that it does not have a powerful militia like the Sadarists, the Kurdish parties, or the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. This may play a role in strengthening his party against his Shiite rivals. Maliki has defended the Support Councils as a natural outgrowth of the Sahwa Awakening movement that began in the western province of Anbar in 2006, when the US allied with local Sunni militias to drive out Al-Qaeda.

There are some who look at this with hope. I don't, I see armed camps preparing for another war. Iraq still is in great danger of following the same path as Lebenon.

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