Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday that Iraq's armed forces are set for an assault on Baghdad to take out militias and rogue security forces.
Aided by multinational troops, the Iraqi forces "will hunt down all outlaws regardless of their sectarian and political affiliations," al-Maliki said at an Iraqi Army Day parade.
"We will also severely punish those [security forces] who do not carry out orders or operate in a partisan or sectarian way," he said.
I mentioned before that our own commanders had indicated that politics and sectarian lines were a major hindrance to our efforts in Iraq.
A couple lines of a NYT article caught my eye:“I believe everyone, to some extent, is influenced by the militias,” Colonel Miska said. “While some Iraqi security forces may be complicit with the militias, others fear for their families when confronting the militia, and that is the more pervasive threat.”
As it stands, the police and military answer to different ministries, and within the police force the bureaucracy is divided even further between the regular police and the national police. On top of that are about 145,000 armed men who work as protection detail for the Facilities Protection Services, with minimal oversight, according to United States military officials.
This seems to be the bottom line here and although this may not be a popular thought to some of my brethren on the right, and I am admittedly NOT an expert in this area, but from my comfy home reading the news and the military's words which I so often quote here because the MSM doesn't seem to care what they have to say unless it fits with their agenda, I have come to a couple conclusions.
1st. Although I understand our "goal" is to help Iraq stand on its own to be able to defend and sustain itself, that cannot be achieved by allowing fear of militias to determine how situations are handled.
2nd. We should not be handing over security to the Iraqi's until we have already secured Iraq and then we can redeploy after achieving success
3rd. If the Iraqi politicians are making decisions based on fear for their lives or their families lives, they cannot make appropriate decisions.
With those three conclusions in mind, I firmly believe that the only parties that cannot have their families threatened by the militias ARE the US military, we should not be limited to what we can do by Iraqi's political parties.
My final conclusion is this:
The US military should firmly take full control of all security issues, deal with the insurgency, stabilize Iraq and then, only then, train the Iraqi troops to "maintain" the stability WE have created. Then the politicians can do their jobs without fear and the political process can actually work.
This would free Maliki from the political ramifications of going up against al-Sadr, we would be the ones to deal with it.
The old expression about too many cooks in the kitchen fits very well here. There are too many bosses, too many parties that Maliki needs to keep happy and too many militias threatening the families of those that oppose their views.
From all the information available it would benefit us greatly AND get our soldiers home faster if we just "got the job done" instead of trying to pacify everyone at our own expense.
Now, many will say I am over simplifying things when I say "just get the job done", but I do not think we would have that hard a time of getting things done if WE took things out of the politicans hands and let the military do what they there for.... securing Iraq should come before training Iraqi's.
If we have information about one militia setting off just ONE roadside bomb, we should have the ability and the full control to take that militia out without having to go through the political process in which the politicians will just insist that we appease the offending militia.
al-Maliki's new stance, in addition to the "surge" in troops, and making the mandate for those troops strong enough to give them the ability to do the job without having to go through the political protocol to determine if this is a "good" militia or a "bad" militia...... is a good start to a "new" strategy in making sure that all militias are disbanded and our troops MUST have the ability and control to do so.
I do not know what was spoken about in the conversation between al-Maliki and President Bush for over two hours, but I can imagine that al-Maliki must have been made to understand that he has taken too long in his political game playing with groups such as al-Sadr's and his militia.
There is a time for politics and then there is a time for action, it has already been demonstrated that Iraq cannot function politically if it is not stabilized.
It is high time the military are given the capabilities to do their job so that the political processes can be given a chance to work.
Captain's Quarters makes some very good points on this issue.