Tuesday, 10 July 2007

The final throes of the insurgency: two situations

Firstly, a short-term operation that looks to have an end and objective: the fight against Islamic militants who have taken hold of Islamabad's Red Mosque in Pakistan.

Pakistan's army says an operation to flush out militants from a mosque in Islamabad is in its final stages - 24 hours after troops stormed the complex

Of course the impact the Red Mosque fiasco will have on Musharraf's already, ahem, tarnished presidency will be interesting. The end of the siege, however, is in sight.

Secondly, Bush is asking for more time for the US military operation in Iraq as more and more Americans convert to 'defeatism' every day. Of course the 'surge' will finally start working and under Bush's wise leadership America will win the winnable "war on terror". No true benchmarks or oversight is needed — setting an "artificial" deadline would show that America has lost. It just needs more time, hmm...

Republicans are getting very antsy. However the chance of both parties working together — which seems like a foreign idea in the polarized political climate of today's Washington — is small (at best). Iraq has become the issue, and neither party has much of a solution, yet alone unity on it.

President George W. Bush on Tuesday brushed aside the criticism of fellow Republicans over Iraq and demanded the U.S. Congress allow his troop buildup more time to work.

Bush ruled out an immediate change in strategy, even though prominent Republican lawmakers like Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar have broken ranks and called for him to shift course on Iraq.

Defiant in the face of a frustrated American public and Congress, Bush said the 28,000 additional troops he ordered into Iraq have not been in place long enough to gauge results because the final wave arrived only last month.

The president defended his policy ahead of the release as early as on Thursday of an interim report expected to show mixed progress by the Iraqi government in meeting U.S. security and political benchmarks. The report, which is due by Sunday, is bound to fuel further debate about the war.
A new USA Today/Gallup poll showed on Tuesday that more than seven in 10 Americans favor withdrawing nearly all U.S troops from Iraq by April. Sixty-two percent said sending U.S. troops to Iraq was a mistake, the first time that number topped 60 percent in that poll.

The surge had time to work. Hell, even I gave it a chance. But Baghdad's security situation is as dire as ever. The "green zone" — normally a US-occupied oasis of security in a sea of violence — is becoming more red by the day. However we have overlooked some of Iraq's successes. Not all of Iraq is as bad as the wider central and southern regions and that is good — American, British, and other troops have done a fine job there and it's been overlooked. But the wider picture reveals an Iraq in turmoil at a nationally and often at a local level. Conclusion: A politically/strategically bottomless, downward-spiraling war with mixed (negative) support at home and abroad.

Oh yeah, and
Meanwhile, the White House threatened to veto the defense policy bill senators were debating, if it is amended to set a withdrawal date. The administration also threatened a veto of the bill for a provision it already contains, giving new rights to detainees at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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