Best Defense

Iraq: the unraveling again

I have no idea what is going on Iraq politically as we head into the seventh month of mucking around trying to form a government. Minor violence continues. U.S. troops are still getting shot at. And there is more evidence that Iran won the war in Iraq. Fouad Ajami says on the editorial pages of ...

stéfan/flickr
stéfan/flickr

I have no idea what is going on Iraq politically as we head into the seventh month of mucking around trying to form a government. Minor violence continues. U.S. troops are still getting shot at. And there is more evidence that Iran won the war in Iraq. Fouad Ajami says on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal that we are not to worry — but are we to take his advice, given his "they’ll greet us with flowers" track record? I mean, this is the guy Cheney cited in his August 2002 VFW speech in which, for the first time in U.S. history, a vice president took it upon himself to declare war. Anyway, the fact that Mookie is the kingmaker in Iraq now tells me that Prof. Ajami is whistling past the graveyard. The news side of the Wall Street Journal reports that, "A senior leader in Mr. Maliki’s party said Mr. Sadr’s movement had demanded key ministries, a 25 percent quota of all government jobs, including in the army and police, and the release of more than one thousand of his followers from prison." In other words, worry. It will be interesting to see the relationship between American advisors and units commanded by Sadrists. ("Hey, were you at the Route Gold all-night firefight back in spring 2004? So was I!") And Jwing says that Iran has activated a new Special Group in Iraq.

Thinking of the politics of Iraq, as we wait for a government to form, reminds me of Hilaire Belloc’s little poem about "The Dromedary":

The Dromedary is a cheerful bird:

I cannot say the same about the Kurd.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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