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August 21, 2005


But Von says we should simply stay the course...

Oh wait, "stay the course" isn't a policy.

Billmon's latest seems particularly apposite.

A civil war is also more likely.

A civil war has been on since at least February.

This summer, SCIRI tried to have the Badr Brigade declared a legal political party (per Salam Pax).

I assume you all know about this.

Be it from militias or government security, it seems that Iraqis don't have much to rely on in their country. I guess that "freedom and democracy" are harder than we thought.

McDuff: yes; had I read it closer to the time it was written, I would have posted on it.


In 2003 shortly after the occupation began, the US made the decision to allow the militias to continue -- they had no choice. Not enough troops to provide security (which the militias help out on, along with their own agendas), and not enough troops to fight militias that might resist disbanding.

Militias are the future of an Iraqi armed force to fight insurgents. Pretending otherwise is just foolish. The US may hope to train non-militia forces to serve that role, but ultimately it will be militias. As more power flows to Iraqi factions, they will use the power of the state to further arm their militias -- not the reverse (disband militias in favor of a stronger non-partisan fighting force).

Iraq the democracy will be ruled by the gun.

Nell: "A civil war has been on since at least February."

From the CS Monitor:

Finding a way to head off civil war is at the heart of all the major initiatives - including the talks over a new constitution - in Iraq. But by most common political-science definitions of the term, "civil war" is already here.

"It's not a threat. It's not a potential. Civil war is a fact of life there now,'' says Pavel Baev, head of the Center for the Study of Civil War at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway. He argues that until the nature of the conflict is accurately seen, good solutions cannot be found. "What's happening in Iraq is a multidimensional conflict. There's international terrorism, banditry, the major foreign military presence. But the civil war is the central part of it - the violent contestation for power inside the country."

What this means in practical terms, is that an immediate US withdrawal isn't likely to bring peace to Iraq, say analysts. Nor is simply "staying the course," if it isn't matched by a political peace treaty among the warring parties - a role that a new constitution, facing a midnight tonight deadline, could fill.

The Civil War started the day Baghdad fell.

America's naiveté was able to put make-up on this monster...but it's wearing thin.

There's a lot to be afraid of here. Thanks for the notes on the idea of monopolizing military force. As Iraq falls into empowered and armed thuggery, seems like there's only one way to go.


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