Progress in Iraq Posted by: Jon Henke
on Friday, July 07, 2006
Last month, I pointed out that a "Sunni buy-in to the political process" seemed to be underway with the Sunnis apparently seeking political detente by working against the insurgency. The big question going forward would be whether the Shiites would reciprocate by dealing with the Shiite militias. Without that reciprocity, there could be no political accomodation; without political accomodation, a pluralistic democracy would not work in Iraq. With such accomodation, though, we could see the fruitiion of a stable, democratic government in Iraq. i.e., victory.
Iraqi forces backed by U.S. aircraft battled militants Friday in a Shiite stronghold of eastern Baghdad, killing or wounding more than 30 fighters and capturing an extremist leader who was the target of the raid, Iraqi and U.S. officials said.
In another operation, Iraqi troops backed by U.S. soldiers arrested a top regional commander of a Shiite militia near the southern city of Hillah, an American statement said. The moves appeared part of a crackdown on sectarian militias blamed for the escalation in Shiite-Sunni violence that has raised fears of civil war in recent months.
As Ed Morrissey adds, "the Iraqis and Americans have decided to focus on one of the toughest tasks in cleaning up Baghdad: Sadr City." No conclusions can be drawn yet. Effort is not success; progress is not victory. Still, the mere fact that this kind of reciprocal concrete accomodation is occurring is, I think, very strong evidence that Iraq is on the right path.
The Belmont Club notes a cogent Iraq the Model analysis, in which Mohammed speculates that "we're facing an Iraqi version of Hamas here; one foot in the cabinet and the other in the insurgents' trench and talking about an armed wing working independently from the main body is merely an attempt to make the part who's involved in the government look innocent form the violence committed by their associates."