Renewed Fighting in Iraq

Just a couple of weeks ago, we had Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, and other conservatives– including President Bush– touting the success in Iraq. They were throwing out statistics showing that the violence has decreased. What they didn’t tell us was that we are paying several Sunni factions to lay down their arms. It is my understanding that these payments are scheduled to stop soon and there are no plans to continue them.

Intense fighting has broken out in Basra. Basra is a city that has little or no Sunni presence. So who’s fighting? Shiite factions are. This underscores what I’ve been saying for over four years: There are no simple solutions in Iraq. It’s a complex situation. The fighting is not just Sunnis versus Shiites. Instead, each one of these larger groups can be broken down into regional factions.

Basra is a city in southern Iraq. It has been a remarkably quiet city throughout the last five years. The city was under British control until they pulled out several months ago.

Fighting has also broken out in Baghdad, again. There is more evidence that the Iraqi army, which we’ve been pouring millions of millions of dollars into, is disintegrating before our eyes. Iraqi soldiers are taking off their uniforms and blending into the crowd. Our soldiers, who have been supporting the Iraqi Police force, now have to take more and more of the fighting responsibility.

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From New York Times:

The American military conducted airstrikes to back up stalled Iraqi forces in Basra and battle Shiite militias in Baghdad as continued violence and political infighting worsened the prospects for any timely reconciliation among Iraq’s warring factions.

Although American officials have emphasized that the campaign in the southern port city of Basra is directed by Iraqi forces, they have failed so far to wrest control of neighborhoods in Basra from Shiite militias and asked the Americans and British to step in. The Iraqi military has no air support. (more…)