As the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down...

…Unless those we’ve helped “stand up” end up being death squad-ridden sectarian militias that go on ethnic cleansing rampages, in which case we might have to stick around to protect from genocide the very people who have been behind the insurgency that has been killing us with roadside bombs and RPGs for the last 3 years.

Seems the Sunnis have had a bit of a change of heart, and now want us to stick around. It turns out that American occupation is sounding better to them than genocide at the hands of the Shiites. Of course this doesn’t prevent the Sunni-backed insurgency from, well, still trying to kill us:
Even in Sunni-dominated Anbar Province, where insurgents are carrying out a vicious guerrilla war against foreign troops, a handful of leaders are asking American commanders to rein in Iraqi paramilitary units. Sheiks in Falluja often complain to American officers there of harassment, raids or indiscriminate shooting by Iraqi forces.
Is this an opportunity to win a new partner in bringing stability to Iraq, or just a sign that things are completely FUBAR? Atrios (see: you enable trackbacks, I link!) asks: “Does anyone have any idea what we're doing in Iraq anymore?

The larger strategic picture seems to be that by invading Iraq, we won the 1980-1989 Iran-Iraq for Iran at zero cost for them and mucho cost for ourselves. If you don’t think that’s a bone-headed strategic move, I have infantry-based winter invasion of Russia I’d like to sell you on.


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