The U.N. Security Council agreed Wednesday to an Iraqi request to extend the mandate of the U.S.-led multinational force after the country's foreign minister said the troops were "vitally necessary."
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the council members that despite the senseless violence "the government has made tremendous strides toward the day when security will be provided by a self-sufficient, Iraqi national security force."
"While Iraqis will always be grateful for their liberation from an absolute despot, no Iraqi government official — indeed, no Iraqi citizen — wants the presence of foreign troops on Iraqi soil one day longer than is vitally necessary," he said.
"But today, and for the foreseeable months at least, the presence of (multinational) troops is vitally necessary not only for Iraq but also to safeguard regional security and stability," Zebari said.
Last year the Security Council extended the force's mandate for a year starting Dec. 31, but authorized a review of the mandate by June 15.
That sort of vitiates the "illegal war" crowd's argument, doesn't it - especially from the "international condemnation" stand point.
With the influx of tens of thousands of additional combat troops into Iraq now complete, American forces have begun a wide offensive against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia on the outskirts of Baghdad, the top American commander in Iraq said Saturday.
The commander, Gen. David H. Petraeus, in a news conference in Baghdad along with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, said the operation was intended to take the fight to Al Qaeda’s hide-outs in order to cut down the group’s devastating campaign of car bombings.
The comments by General Petraeus were a signal that the United States military had yet again entered a new phase in Iraq, four months after the start of the so-called troop surge and a security plan focused on dampening sectarian violence within Baghdad. They reflected an acknowledgment that more has to be done beyond the city’s bounds to halt a relentless wave of insurgent attacks that have undercut attempts at political reconciliation.
Well actually its not an acknowledgment of that at all, it is, instead, something which was expected when the city of Baghdad was flooded with troops, i.e. it would displace the violence "beyond the city's bounds".
The center of gravity for the operation is Baghdad. If we don't tame Baghdad, the rest is mostly irrelevant. Tame Baghdad and eventually the rest can be tamed as well. The problems of "reconciliation" aren't founded in problems outside of Baghdad. They're founded on violence and problems inside Baghdad. So in essence you have a two prong effort going on. One, move into some of the more violent areas of Baghdad:
Earlier, in the news conference, General Petraeus acknowledged that the results of the Baghdad security push had been mixed so far.
“We are ahead in some areas and behind in others,” he said.
He said troops would continue operating in neighborhoods of Baghdad to calm Sunni-Shiite tensions and “ensure that fault lines do not once again produce a spiral of violence.”
Secondly, they're targeting al Qaeda in the 4 provinces which ring Baghdad with an eye on severely curtailing their ability to operate (with a particular eye on finding the car bomb factories).
The new emphasis on attacking the insurgent cells and bomb-making factories outside the capital is expected to be a sustained one, involving tough fighting.
So now Harry "I'm more in touch with what's going on in Baghdad than Petraeus is" Reid can start the clock on the operation he preemptively declared a failure before it began.
That sort of vitiates the "illegal war" crowd’s argument, doesn’t it - especially from the "international condemnation" stand point
The answer that question depends almost entirely on whether not you consider the current Iraqi government to be illegitimate. Which I will guarantee you, will be the next argument put forward by such people...
The problems of "reconciliation" aren’t founded in problems outside of Baghdad. They’re founded on violence and problems inside Baghdad.
There is no "reconciliation." The entire south was ceded long ago to al Sadr/Iran, and the west was surrendered to the Sunni tribes. We’re presently arming and training a 30,000-strong Sunni militia that will be the national army of an autonomous state. These Sunnis are the same enemies we deliberately failed to defeat, the same enemies that have killed our troops across the Sunni Triangle for years.
The center of gravity for the operation is Baghdad. If we don’t tame Baghdad, the rest is mostly irrelevant. Tame Baghdad and eventually the rest can be tamed as well.
As per the above, there is no intention of taming the rest, and there never was. That’s how we got into this miserable situation. The White House goal has always been to take a political exit, and Iran has been allowed to kill hundreds, maybe thousands of our troops with impugnity in order to preserve the possibility of the negotiations now underway. Even peaceful measures to overthrow the mullahs have been avoided in pursuit of the Administration’s Grand Bargain with Iran.
It is true however that Baghdad is a center. Without a nominal government in Baghdad, there would be no entity to which the Bush administration can turn over "control" of Iraq to as it makes its exit. Even a pretense of "mission accomplished" can’t be ginned up if Baghdad is in flames.