The Descent of Iraq
To that effect, then, al-Sadr has posed as a moderate, a deeply weird thought in and of itself, even by Iraqi standards. According to some intelligence (and one must obviously be cautious in choosing which lie to embrace), in trying to rein in his more violence-prone followers, al-Sadr's purges of insubordinate commanders under him has driven them to become provisionalized as "Special Units" funded by Iran and other forces that will benefit from the mayhem created by an American-supported central government unable to exercise even minimal control over the country it supposedly governs. The rival Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (ISCI), another Shia faction, is ostensibly funded largely by Iran, as is al-Sadr, himself, and his political wing; but because the ISCI is dominated by more urbane, wealthy Shias, the Bush Administration has chosen to throw the lot of the United States behind it, hoping that, in doing so, a relatively friendly political/military countervailing force would win upcoming elections and suppress the more urban, gritty Shias of al-Sadr's faction, perhaps eventually breaking the back of his thuggish Mahdi Army.
One of many deterrents to a final victory by Prime Minister Maliki's forces is that quite a few members of the government's own military and police contingents are aligned with or sympathetic to al-Sadr or some other faction (of which there are scores); and to make matters even more interesting (read that, "really complicated"), as noted above, while U.S. analysts, tacticians, strategists, and politicians are focused upon Iranians as the shadow agents provocateurs in this drama, plenty of other countries and their intelligence agencies are in the mix, too, providing everything from intelligence to disinformation to war matériel. Even the United States governmenthaving as little credibility as it does, anyway, in its pronouncementswould sound like a cabal of conspiracy theorists if anyone were to say officially that these other countries are, and have all along been, far more a part of the problem than contributors to some solution favorable to American interests.
Fortunately for common sense, however, most of the spiraling violence is nothing other than a brutal, armed expression of putative power centers clashing over control of resources. Sooner or later, these aspirants to the throne of King Oil would have been compelled to slug it out, given that this is historically and traditionally the way ownership rights are established and enforced when it comes to vast, valuable resources, be they diamonds, precious metals, or hydrocarbons. It seems at this point that "sooner" rather than "later" has become the option of choice. Note here (and this point is being made by virtually no other analyst) that the timing of this explosion of violence in Iraq comports quite conveniently with the recent leap in world oil prices to over $100 per barrel. That is not coincidence.
It goes without saying, of course, that none of this horrendous violence would be happening if the United States, along with a handful of faithful allies, had not invaded Iraq and utterly destroyed a stable, if authoritarian, sovereign state. Although retrospect is irrelevant, now, it might still be worth asking if anyone notices that Saddam Hussein managed without breaking a sweat to do what the combined armed forces of the United States, Great Britain, and other countries have over five years been unable to do, despite incurring a cost to date of more than half-a-trillion dollars, 4000 American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, a million Iraqi refugees, and a dream-come-true opportunity for political hegemony for Iran, as well as for such other countries as China, Russia, Syria, and, yes, even Israel and a few of our purported friends in Western Europe.
George W. Bush will leave office fairly soon. We as a nation will eventually move on. We as individuals, for the most part, will deny personal blame for the enormous tragedy that was once the nation of Iraq.
The Iraqis, on the other hand, will continue for a long, long time to live in the Hell we (yes, we) created of their world. Someday, perhaps a few of those Iraqis, their children, or their children's children, will bring that Hell back to our shores.
Then, of course, we shall once again be thoroughly shocked, outraged, and ready for battle.
History will not repeat itself; history will, instead, fulfill our failure.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
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