Monday, March 19, 2007

Opinion (Michael Schwart): Surge and Destroy

If you are trying to figure out how the new Bush strategy is progressing, or just trying to figure out what is happening in Iraq, here is a diagnosis and a bit of a prognosis.

In his speech, Bush promised three prongs to his new strategy: (1) attacking and neutralizing Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia; (2) confronting Iran; and (3) a new offensive against the Sunni insurgents.

Neutralizing the Mahdi Army: Since 2004, cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has been the Shiite the Bush administration has most loved to hate. Early in the war, occupation officials tried to have him arrested and fought three large battles (two in Najaf, one in the vast Baghdad slum of Sadr City) in an attempt to suppress his guerrilla militia, the Mahdi Army. Each time, he and his forces, deeply entrenched in Sadr City, have bounced back stronger and more popular than ever. In its fourth manifestation, the intention to dislodge, disrupt, or destroy the Mahdi Army appears guaranteed to fail. It is just a matter of what sort of failure the U.S. will choose.

Read the rest at Middle East Online