Is Iraq slipping away?

posted at 6:40 pm on August 19, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

It certainly appears to have gone wrong in a hurry.  Today, 95 people died in a series of bombings in Baghdad, blamed on al-Qaeda and other Sunni insurgent groups, which left more than 400 Iraqis injured.  Since the US pulled out of the cities at the end of June, violence has escalated, and even Nouri al-Maliki acknowledges that Iraqi forces have failed to maintain security:

Iraq’s prime minister has blamed Sunni insurgents for a wave of deadly bombings in Baghdad and says the Iraqi government must re-evaluate security to confront the challenge.

Nouri al-Maliki’s statement is the first government acknowledgment of security failings following an increase of attacks since the June 30 withdrawal of U.S. forces from cities.

Wednesday’s bombings killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 400. …

The attacks dealt a new blow to Iraqi government efforts to restore a sense of normalcy in the capital as the overall level of violence remains low compared with recent years. Iraqi security forces have promised to remove concrete blast walls from the main roads in Baghdad by mid-September with the aim of improving appearance and easing traffic congestion.

“The security forces have failed to protect the government buildings despite tight security measures and advanced equipment and this reflects huge shortcomings,” said Saeed Jabar, a 35-year-old government employee. “It is a message to Iraqi officials that they should stop their exaggerations about the stability of this country.”

This will not be a critique of the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq.  They have been a pleasant surprise to the extent that they haven’t changed directions in Iraq.  It’s not even going to be a critique of the Bush administration, which signed the agreement to pull US troops off the line in Baghdad and other cities.  They had little choice, as Maliki and the Iraqi government wanted them out even earlier than July 1 of this year.  Maliki, who won a series of battles with the Mahdi Army to gain control of Iraq, thought his forces were up to the task of full-time security maintenance.

Thus far, though, it looks as though they are inadequate to the task.  In their understandable haste to reclaim their sovereignty and national pride, Maliki and his government apparently forgot that the insurgencies had not ended, but merely switched sides to the Americans after seeing the alternative in AQI.  Those insurgencies remain hostile to Shi’ite governance, and the Kurds aren’t too thrilled about it, either.  It looks as though Maliki beat the Mahdis but didn’t get the Sunnis on board well enough to keep the cities secure.

To some extent, Obama has his hands tied by the SOFA signed before his election.  Clearly, the Iraqis need more assistance, but the Iraqis and Obama will have to agree to more American help in the short term.  Obama apparently is willing to offer it; Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of US forces in Iraq, told the AP that he communicated that to the Maliki government, which is taking the offer of assistance in northern Iraq under advisement.  Hopefully, we can act quickly to tamp down the violence and ensure that we do not lose what we fought and bled to gain in Iraq.

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Thank you Ed.

Sparring with nonsense is fine, but Blueneck was something else entirely.

BadgerHawk on August 20, 2009 at 7:53 AM

Well done Ed.

Jason58 on August 20, 2009 at 9:35 AM

welcome_ghosts on August 19, 2009 at 7:49 PM

Bush Presidency – 8 years
Bozo – 8 Months.

And the attacks have stepped up. Iraq’s been pretty quiet since late last year. Iraq hardly factored into our elections last November.

In the last couple months the bombings have picked up and now this. Is Iraq slipping away? Bozo is handing it over to the terrorists. And now that he’s lost support among libturds for Afghanistan, he will let that go too.

dogsoldier on August 20, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Thank you Ed!

daesleeper on August 20, 2009 at 10:27 AM

As a longtime observer I have to disagree, Ed.

First off, violence is not that high. July was better than any month in 2008 and August will not be at about the 2008 average. Don’t be fooled by headlines.

Secondly, Iraqi security forces have started removing all those blast barriers and dismantling checkpoints. This was bound to lead to more attacks. The difference between now and 2005-8 is that it is much, much harder for terrorists to get away with this sort of thing. It is much more likely they will be caught, and quickly.

TallDave on August 20, 2009 at 10:33 AM

…sorry, s/b “August will be at about the 2008 average.”

TallDave on August 20, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Also, it bears mentioning here that there is a silver lining in this spike: Shia Iraqis are beginning to notice the Iranian arms killing their friends and neighbors. The stolen Iranian elections did not go over well and anti-Iranian sentiment in Iraq among Shia is on the rise (the Sunnis, of course, have always been paranoid about the mullahs).

TallDave on August 20, 2009 at 10:38 AM

“I’m not afraid of August.”–Pelosi

Send her to the voting places in Afghanistan or Iraq.

maverick muse on August 20, 2009 at 11:49 AM

When these trolls show up, just don’t feed them. They want an audience and when they don’t get one, they’ll move on to another blog.

He was an annoying little twerp though ;)

jewells45 on August 20, 2009 at 12:01 PM

GWBush, right or wrong, gave Iraqi Sunnis, Shia, Kurds and Christians the opportunity to co-exist peacefully with a responsible government (that always failed to respond to the depleted Christian population).

Is Iraq slipping away? From us, yes. From themselves, no.

Michael Savage made the point as well as any critic of American involvement fighting a war to nation build.

Once we’re gone, it’s back to usual.

Islam doesn’t hate peoples who share similar lifestyles even though they worship polytheism (Hindi, or MidEastern Christians if debating the Holy Trinity). They hate those living differently, even if they share a faith in the one omnipotent and merciful God/Allah. There’s no getting around the Arabic hatred towards Western European Civilization, and their inbred utter disdain for Europeans/Americans long before imperial colonization, back to the original Muslim pirates attacking European shore communities to profit from their white slave trade that motivated the response experienced through righteous indignation, aka the Great Crusades.

If indeed Islam preaches world domination via immigration to dominate populations, as is occurring, projected to be accomplished within 15 years, the only way the West can compete to remain independent is either through offensive warfare or doing likewise. Occupation is not the same as infiltrating and overwhelming via larger population amassed. Since those of the West prefers living in the West, not the Middle East, the only way to maintain independence or non-Muslim identity as an equal is via self defense.

But that’s not Obama’s strategy. The One advances the ONE VOICE.

I will not follow the Pied Piper over the cliff.

maverick muse on August 20, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Blueneck won’t be back. FYI. We have to do a clean-up after every open registration, and we’re still perusing the threads.

Ed Morrissey on August 20, 2009 at 7:26 AM

Too bad you can’t issue some sort of I.Q. test or some such at registration. That ought to weed out most of the fascists.

Spiritk9 on August 20, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Thus far, though, it looks as though they are inadequate to the task.

There is NOTHING in that part of the world that is adequate. I mean if ever there was an example of self destructive people and governments…there it is…the Islamic world.

If we are to tie exit dates with iraqis being able to govern themselves, we will never leave. Just ask any vet who has served over there.

Goodeye_Closed on August 20, 2009 at 1:48 PM

To herd Muslim cats is quite difficult even when you buy off the meanest Muslim dogs.

[email protected] on August 20, 2009 at 2:02 PM

This will not be a critique of the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq.

I beg to differ.
War is ever changing.Bush saw this with the insurgency in Iraq and the difficulties in working with the military in bringing down the violence in a country divided up between Shia,Sunni,and Kurds.
Bush pretty much let our military take the lead role and report after report showed that he gave them pretty much what they wanted in both theaters.
When things did not go right,the buck stopped at Bush’s desk. He was savaged by the media,political pundits,and the international community for mistakes in Iraq.
We repeatedly heard from the “smart ones” that the war could not be won and the shia,sunni,and kurds would never get along.
They were wrong.

All we have heard from liberals is how much smarter they are and how they can lead with “smart power”.

Obama is the Commander in Chief.
If there are changes on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan, it is his responsibility to address them and handle them “smarter” than big ol’ dumb Bush.

The Buck stopped at the Presidents desk.

The SOFA agreement states that violence levels(situation on the ground) determine reduction levels in troops and how they are deployed.
Violence in Iraq had been reduced by over 90% with 17 of the 18 bench marks being met by the Iraqi government.

If this was threatened, it is the Presidents responsibility to address it with the military and do whatever it takes with Maliki to ensure the security of the people.
Big ol’ dumb Bush was able to make this happen.
Surely the “smart ones” being led by their Messiah Obama should have been able to also.
Instead Obama has had tunnel vision on nothing more than getting out of Iraq as fast as possible so that he can begin to “surrender with style” in Afghanistan.

Just like we heard for 8 years of Bush’s presidency,it holds true with Mr. 57 states also.


Baxter Greene on August 20, 2009 at 7:43 PM

Dingy Harry did say this war is lost.

Kissmygrits on August 20, 2009 at 9:21 PM

Bush pulled out, and now Barry is going back in for the double team?

This is a new Iraq War 2009, its all on Obama now.

andrewtf on August 20, 2009 at 11:18 PM

Was America slipping away when 21 hijackers got through our security system on 9/11?

MarkTheGreat on August 21, 2009 at 9:05 AM