Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Opinion (Edward N. Luttwak): To help Baghdad, let it fend for itself

The sooner President George W. Bush can get his extra troops for a "surge" in Iraq, the sooner he will be able to announce that all U.S. troops are coming home because of the inevitable failure of the Iraqi government to "live up to its side of the bargain."

In fact, in the run-up to the surge proposal, it is unlikely that there was any real bargaining before Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki was induced to issue promises — particularly in terms of government troops taking on Shiite militias — that he cannot possibly fulfill. Maliki, it seems, simply agreed to whatever was asked of him, to humor the White House and to retain American support for a little while longer.

For the Iraqi Army and police to disarm the Shiite militias, the prime minister would have to be a veritable Stalin or at least a Saddam Hussein, able to terrorize Iraqi soldiers into obedience. Maliki, of course, has no such authority over Iraqi soldiers — indeed he has little authority over his own cabinet, the members of which mostly represent sectarian parties with militias of their own.

Read the rest at International Herald Tribune