Thursday, March 15, 2007

Expert: Shiites big winners in Baghdad crackdown, but Shiite resistance could doom surge

An Sunni man holds his mother after she suffered a panic attack following the questioning and near-detainment of her son in a house-to-house search, part of the 'security crackdown' in Baghdad

WASHINGTON, March 14 (UPI) -- Strong Shiite resistance could destroy the U.S. surge strategy to secure Baghdad. a leading U.S. military analyst warned Wednesday.

"If the fighting in Baghdad should trigger a major Shiite resistance, even by one major faction like Moqtada al-Sadr's, the United States will probably see the Iraqi government fatally weakened if not collapse," Anthony H. Cordesman, who holds the Arleigh A. Burke chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic Studies wrote in his study, "New Strategy in Iraq: Uncertain Progress towards an Unknown Goal" released Wednesday.

"If the Shiite militias in Baghdad continue to stand down, and U.S.-led operations continue to focus on local security and defeating the Sunnis, the end result of creating "white spots" in Baghdad will be to solidify Shiite control over most of the city and province, segregate Sunnis, and push Sunnis into divided areas outside the city," Cordesman wrote.

Read the rest at UPI

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