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This can’t be right ...
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Al Maliki has emerged as a strong leader due to his actions in Basra?
When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was nearly killed in a mortar attack this spring during an offensive against Shiite militias in Basra, his advisers urged him to halt the operation and go back to Baghdad.

Instead, al-Maliki doubled down, called in thousands of reinforcements and returned to Baghdad victorious.

In the two months since, al-Maliki has begun to shed his image among Iraqis as a weak leader who governs only on behalf of his fellow Shiites. His emergence as a relatively strong leader could help him crack down on militia groups elsewhere, appeal to disaffected Sunnis and ensure the future of a pro-U.S. government in Iraq.

"This is the beginning of a political shift," says Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman, who has strongly criticized the prime minister in the past. "Al-Maliki is in a very strong position now.

"Because he went after … Shiite militias, Sunnis no longer see al-Maliki as sectarian and are to a degree satisfied with him now."
Wait a minute ... according to "informed" sources who show up here at odd times and tell us how wrong it is to be optimistic about Iraq, Basra was a stone-cold defeat for Maliki.

Hmmm ... (oh, "LOL!")
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Previous Comments to this Post 

wow, who knew. I guess that is what you get when you tilt so far to left that you can’t see straight anymore
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
McQ — Nice shot! I half-expected Erb to start babbling about the Grassy Knoll in his explanations of how Maliki had lost at Basra.
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Me...I only believe what Juan Cole tells me. (Yes, that would make me an idiot, but I’m a big hit at liberal cocktail parties.)
Written By: Rich Horton
When the Iraqi government forces take on the Shia militia, its evidence of strong success:

1. The government forces are strong and independent enough to want to eliminate private militias. This is key as any serious government has to have a monopoly on violence.

2. The Sunni problems must be almost nil because the Shia parties have no problem cleaning their own house.

3. The bonus is that the program appears popular which means the Iraqi government forces are at least better than the militias they are eliminating.

4. The anti-Sadr program was backed by all major ethnic groups - while this sounds like a no brainer consider that in Lebanon Hizbollah actually has Christian militia allies who support it over the central government. You’d also wonder if the Kurds would have considered supporting private militias to keep their peshmerga "legal" but I think those are already considered a territorial army or something.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I wonder what made the doctor believe that Basra was lost ?
Juan Cole wrong ? No way baby!
The esteemed Dr. Juan Cole is the authority on the Middle East after all .. or is he just another fool ?
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Which does bring up an interesting question:

Where is Scott Erb?
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
If I learned one thing during the coverage of the Viet Nam War, it was to look at multiple sources before believing anything you see on TV .. and now on the web you need even more to avoid the "cascade."
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Quoting that exemplary genius, Harry Reid of Nevada:

"The war is lost. This war is lost."

An answer to this is one large pie, applied with maximum force to said Harry Reid’s puss.
Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://
Good grief, folks, even the Kagans have to admit that the MSM’s reporting on Basra was right:

Initial setbacks did not deter Mr. Maliki, who continued to send in reinforcements, including Iraqi Special Forces, Iraqi helicopters and the Quick Reaction Force of the 1st Iraqi Army Division from Anbar. Negotiations between Iraqi leaders and Iranian Brig. Gen. Ghassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force, produced a "cease-fire" on March 30.

But operations continued...

So, reading between the lines of the Kagans’ triumphalism, they’re admitting that Maliki had to have Iran save his butt and that his "victory" consisted of taking over a city when Iran, which controls Iraq, had ordered the other side to stand down. Victory! For Iran.

I also like how they say the "sectarian civil war had ended" even though the civil war violence remains at early 2005 levels. We’re back to 2005 deja vu: Iraq is unwinnable and worse off than it was under Saddam, but violence is below 2006-7 levels so conservatives can deny that the civil war exists.
Written By: T.B.
URL: http://
Quoting that exemplary genius, Harry Reid of Nevada:

"The war is lost. This war is lost."
While this is an opportunity where that disgraceful behavior by Reid can be made light of, I would remind everyone that that sort of statement from the Majority Leader on the floor of the U.S. Senate emboldens an enemy and gets our soldiers and Marines killed. Yeah, we can’t know how many because there’s no way to reliably estimate the toll. But I can’t tell you, I can’t begin to express, how sizzling angry I get at the kind of things that come out of the mouths of Reid and Murtha and the whole rotten gang of Democrats.

And yes, I know, that they and the Kos types will answer, "Well, none of them would have died if George Bush hadn’t sent them there on a lie," and that’s why I have said here in the past that it is not the reconciliation of Sunni and Shia in Iraq that is daunting, because the gulf between them is nothing compared to the gulf between the left and the right in this country. And that gulf is growing. Their silence on the left over the better fortunes in Iraq — except for Pelosi’s sick attempt to credit Iran for it — shows them for what they are: miserable cowards.

I would almost like to see the Senate, especially, erupt in a brutal brawl, and to see someone take a cane to Reid, but that place is so far from honor that you can’t even expect a censure vote on a disgusting, repulsive, treacherous statement like that. The people in that chamber on either side don’t care enough.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
...when Iran, which controls Iraq...
TB — This is the part where you and Erb lose me. How exactly how does Iran control Iraq? How and when did that happen? How is it that the US can have 150,000+ troops and billions of dollars of materiel in Iraq if Iran controls Iraq?

It seems to me that you are confusing influence with control. To be sure Iran—a powerful neighbor, an important trading partner, an ally of sorts to Iraqi Shiites and a long-time enemy otherwise—has influence on Iraq but that’s not the same thing as control.

As to the "sectarian civil war" — al-Qaeda touched off the spiraling violence in Iraq by bombing the Golden Mosque and al-Qaeda’s suicide bombers have been responsible for the majority of civilian casualties. It seems a strange civil war that is largely manipulated by an outside force. Now that al-Qaeda’s been marginalized, these deaths have dropped to pre-Golden Mosque levels of ~500 per month. See Casualties in Iraq (May, 2008)

This casualty rate is less than ideal, obviously, but over time I suspect those numbers will decrease. What is your plan for future improvement in Iraq other than to complain and paint its situation in the worst light?
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Huxley, we simple wingnuts cannot hope to comprehend the complexities and many layers (like an onion, or parfait because everybody likes parfait) involved in how Iran really controls Iraq.

Fortunately we have (or had) prof Erb, and now TB to ’splain to us about how it’s all really in the hands of Tehran.
Written By: looker
URL: http://

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