Nouri al Maliki, at the behest of his American masters, has thrown the new Army of the Republic of Vietnam against the militias of the most powerful and cohesive popular movement in Iraq, that of Muqtada al Sadr. By all accounts, even with their American advisers, tactical air and intelligence support, this operation appears to be a stupendous failure; the Mehdi Army of Sadr is reported to be routing the Iraqi "government" forces at every turn.
Moreover, it has ignited an uprising that stretches from Baghdad to Basra and all points in between. This flagrant violation of the ceasefire that the Sadrists renewed only days ago for six additional months, by the American-controlled puppet government, has set the stage for the most dangerous moment in Iraq for the occupation forces since the dual rebellions in Fallujah and Najaf in April 2004.
It has also quite probably signed the death warrant for the Iranian-trained and supported militias of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the foundation of Maliki's last thread of legitimacy as an "Iraqi government."
The calculation is that this "strike" by Mailiki's forces -- many reported to have shed their uniforms and joined the Mehdi Army -- will interrupt the breathing space that the US believes Sadr was using to rest, refit, and professionalize his forces... who the press calls "militants," as it calls the Maliki forces "Iraqis."
The same US press, which has parroted the absurd claims of "surge success" for months now, a success that was based on successful ethnic cleansing in Baghdad combined with the Mehdi Army's ceasefire, will now have to tie itself in rhetorical knots to explain how this success is now adrift in the columns of black smoke rising from one of the two main oil pipelines passing through the port-transit city of Basra, and why rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds are splashing onto the Green Zone like a storm.
This past January, I pointed out in a Truthdig article, that "The principle aim of The Surge is to break the power of Muqtada al-Sadr. Sadr not only has the seats in the Potemkin parliament of Iraq that put Maliki (a leader in a relatively small Shiite party, the Dawa) into power against the SCIRI (the largest parliamentary faction); he commands the ferocious loyalty of two and a half million people and has an 80,000-strong militia concentrated a stone's throw from the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad. Baghdad has about 6 million people; New York City has 8 million, just by way of comparison. The population of Sadr City, the "neighborhood" under the leadership of Sadr, is approximately that of Brooklyn."
If I could figure this out from Raleigh, NC, why can't the press figure it out with reporters embedded at the Green Zone? Perhaps I just answered my own question.
Just as was pointed out 32 months ago, the American occupation has been thrown into alliance with Iranian-backed partitionist Shia formations (by pressure from Sadr, actually), though it cannot afford the dangers inhering in Iraqi partition. Yet the most popular nationalist, anti-partition Shia leader in Iraq -- Muqtada al Sadr -- cannot be relied upon to support either the occupation (part of the plan for permanent US bases in Iraq) or the oil law that lies near the center of the frozen heart of the occupation.
And so, his power must be destroyed... if that is even possible.
Now the US has plunged the knife into the back of even the obedient Kurds, allowing Turkish forces to rampage through Iraqi Kurdistan. The list of allies is shrinking; and the myth of "surge-success" evaporates.
Good morning, Vietnam.