Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Shiite Fanatics Have Won

Spencer Ackerman on how the elected Iraqi goernment is full of really bad guys:

toohotfortnr: The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles: Consider this. In the midst of a Shiite push to constrain the U.S. military's operational freedom of action in Iraq -- a reaction to Bush's attempt to impose "deadlines" on the Maliki government --comes this declaration of independence. It clarifies, well, everything about the current moment in Iraq:

“Iraqi leaders are handcuffed,” by the United Nations agreement, said Hadi al-Ameri, a member of the committee and the leader of the Defense and Security Committee in Parliament. “We will not tell the Americans to go, but if they stay it should be according to conditions.”

What's significant about this? The speaker. Hadi al-Ameri is not simply the leader of the Iraqi parliament's Defense and Security Committee. He's the leader of the Badr Corps, the militia/death squad of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the dominant faction of the dominant Iraqi sect.

Once upon a time, the U.S. -- led by two extremely well-intentioned and capable security experts, Terry Kelly and David Gompert -- constructed a "transition and reintegration" plan for Iraq's militias. Gompert told me last year that the purpose of the plan was simple: "The issue was always the Badr Corps," Gompert emphasizes, "because of the fear of what the Badr Corps would turn into: It would mutate from a former resistance group into a tool of Shia political Islam, a tool that could be used to influence both local politics and national politics."

Gompert is home from Iraq. The man who leads the Badr Corps, which Gompert sought to marginalize, is now a crucial decision-maker in telling the U.S. how it may behave that country. If ever you find yourself starting to believe that the militias can be "dealt with" or "cracked down on," remember this basic, basic fact. Ameri has won, and the U.S. has lost.

What do you suppose Ameri will do when he and his colleagues are no longer "handcuffed"?

He's right: bigger bloodbaths look likely in Baghdad.

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