Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Sunni fighters returning to insurgency

It isn’t surprising, but it is sad to see. I think it probably was inevitable, given the sectarian Shiite ascendancy and the ultimate victory of Iran in the war, as shown in this Guardian article. (I don’t always believe British newspapers, which tend to report rumint, but the Guardian article is supported by the fact ...

Mahmud Saleh/AFP/Getty Images
Mahmud Saleh/AFP/Getty Images
Mahmud Saleh/AFP/Getty Images

It isn't surprising, but it is sad to see. I think it probably was inevitable, given the sectarian Shiite ascendancy and the ultimate victory of Iran in the war, as shown in this Guardian article. (I don't always believe British newspapers, which tend to report rumint, but the Guardian article is supported by the fact that old Maliki is visiting Tehran today. He supposedly also is going to Qom, temporary home of one Moqtada al-Sadr.)

More evidence, I would say, that the surge worked tactically (that is, improved security and so enabled Uncle Sam to edge toward the exits) but failed strategically (that is, didn't lead to a breakthrough in Iraqi politics).

I think the big question is how far the Sunni Awakening reversal will go. Is this the beginning of the next phase of the war? I dunno. And how much will U.S. troops be involved? Again, an open question. I am hearing through the grapevine that things are getting friskier.

It isn’t surprising, but it is sad to see. I think it probably was inevitable, given the sectarian Shiite ascendancy and the ultimate victory of Iran in the war, as shown in this Guardian article. (I don’t always believe British newspapers, which tend to report rumint, but the Guardian article is supported by the fact that old Maliki is visiting Tehran today. He supposedly also is going to Qom, temporary home of one Moqtada al-Sadr.)

More evidence, I would say, that the surge worked tactically (that is, improved security and so enabled Uncle Sam to edge toward the exits) but failed strategically (that is, didn’t lead to a breakthrough in Iraqi politics).

I think the big question is how far the Sunni Awakening reversal will go. Is this the beginning of the next phase of the war? I dunno. And how much will U.S. troops be involved? Again, an open question. I am hearing through the grapevine that things are getting friskier.

(HTs to RS)

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. Twitter: @tomricks1
Tag: Iraq

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