By Patrick Appel
Eric Martin halts the Iraq victory parade:
Over? That is every bit as brash as "Mission Accomplished" was five years ago. While it is true that many former Sunni insurgents have ceased attacks on the Shiite-led Iraqi government and US forces (opting, instead, to collaborate with US forces in going after AQI and, in turn, establish local fiefdoms and receive money, arms and other support) that represents a temporary, contingent and highly precarious truce. Not an end but a pause (and not a complete pause either).
As recently as Friday, Sunni leaders reieterated their demands: either the Maliki government must integrate their cadres into the Iraq Security Forces (ISF), or they will resume the fighting (and they want more money to boot). The Maliki government has, thus far, made it clear that it will only allow a tiny fraction of the Sunni forces into the ISF, and so the stage is set for a future battle. Making matters worse, many of these Sunni elements have been quite brazen in stating their intention to lay low in anticipation of the right opportunity to launch operations to "retake" Baghdad from the Shiites - which explains, in part, Maliki's reluctance to welcome large numbers of these groups into the ISF.