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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Duh: Violence in Iraq up after US Exit

Like this wasn't predictable. Obama's decision to pull our troops out of Iraq in the days before Christmas was a direct appeal to his far left base for 2012. It was also made more politically palatable because of the exploding national debt, for which he is largely responsible. The consequence of his decision, however, has been increased violence in Iraq.

Via Washington Post:
Violence appears to have increased sharply since U.S. troops left Iraq a month ago, as insurgents have unleashed a wave of furious bombings targeting Baghdad neighborhoods, Shiite pilgrims and police facilities in Sunni areas.

The deadly attacks have roots not only in the troops’ departure but also in a domestic political crisis that erupted in its wake. Shiite and Sunni leaders have squared off in a power struggle, one that analysts say insurgents are trying to turn into a full-scale civil war. How the politicians handle their own mess, and the attacks, will determine Iraq’s ability to hold itself together.
There are multiple indications that Iraq's Shiite government is closely aligned with Iran. Iraq's Transportation Minister, Hadi al-Ameri, has a long history of allegiance to Iran. Here he is bowing to and kissing the hand of the Ayatollah:

Back to the Post article:
U.S. officials never promised the transition would be easy. At a ceremony in Baghdad two days before the last troops left, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta sounded a note of caution.

“Let me be clear, Iraq will be tested in the days ahead — by terrorism, by those who would seek to divide, by economic and social issues, by the demands of democracy itself,” he said.

Even as Panetta was speaking, security forces loyal to Maliki, a Shiite, were moving to arrest Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni, on charges that he used his bodyguards to run a terrorism squad. Hashimi fled to a semiautonomous region of Kurdistan, where leaders provided refuge even as Maliki demanded his return to Baghdad to face trial. At the same time, Sunni leaders walked out of parliament and boycotted cabinet positions to protest what they said was Maliki’s move to create a Shiite-controlled dictatorship.
Making this more noteworthy is that Shiite al-Ameri is a confirmed terrorist, yet he is in Iraq's cabinet while the Sunni Vice President had to flee to avoid arrest.

Such things make the words of US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta one month before the Iraq pullout quite puzzling; they should prompt some major head-scratching:
"My view is that the region largely rejects Iran and its intentions. And I think Iraq is at the top of that list."
Again, in light of al-Ameri's prominence in the Iraqi government (he was given the red carpet treatment by the Oval Office on December 12th) and the arrest warrant of the Sunni Vice President, Panetta's statements to Senate Armed Services Committee one month before the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq are belied by the facts.

h/t Hapblog

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