Shhhh! The Surge Is Working!
Thus the latest optimism from "an online strategist dedicated to helping Republicans and conservatives achieve dominance in a networked era." In the past week or so, violence seemed indeed to calm down as the various militias took the temperature of the new security initiative. Ruffini celebrates:
U.S. troops have been able to accomplish all of this with just one more brigade in-country, with four more on the way by May. These encouraging early returns show the potential for success when we apply concentrated military force to the security problem.
Much of this, however, seems to have been the result of Shiite passivity, perhaps because the U.S. hasn't seriously taken on the Shiite militias so far, or because Sadr has taken the opportunity to weed out a few rogue elements, and present himself as a future national leader. Today, after another bombing,
Sadr condemned the plan in a signed statement declaring that it had no hope of success as long as American troops were involved. Read aloud to 1,000 shouting supporters in Sadr City, the large Shiite area near the site of the university blast, the statement called on Iraqi security forces to stop cooperating with the United States military. "There is no good that can come from a security plan controlled by our enemies, the occupiers," said the statement. "If you stay away from them, God will protect you from horror and harm. Make sure your plans are purely Iraqi and not sectarian."
Stay away from them? Is this a sign that a serious clash with the Mahdi army is imminent and that Sadr doesn't see the benefit of taking the bait? Or does it mean that he is simply urging his supporters to wait until the Americans leave before doing the real "security" work themselves? I wish I knew. Meanwhile, a Qaeda-style suicide bombing took aim at female students at Baghdad university:
About 25 yards to the left of where the explosion hit on the campus, small holes had been dug in a circle around a flower bed. A middle-aged man, Hussain Ali al-Mousawi, a blacksmith who lives across the street from the university, was collecting body parts on a notebook, placing severed fingers and flesh on pages covered with students’ notes on subjects like income brackets. His shirt was covered with blood. He said he had been carrying bodies, and the orange cotton of his right sleeve was soaked bright red.
He walked over the holes that had been dug, and placed shovelfuls of clothing and fingers into the ground.
(Photo: Iraqis gather around the wreckage of a car at the site where a suicide car bomber attacked a checkpoint protecting the home of one of Iraq's most powerful Shiite leaders, Abdel Aziz Hakim, in Baghdad, late 24 February 2007. By Ali Yussef/AFP/Getty.)