Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Britain To Pull Troops Out Of Iraq While U.S. Adds More...

...and still the carnage in Iraq continues. First, the British withdrawal story:

LONDON, Feb. 21 — In sharp contrast to the American troop buildup in Baghdad, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced today that Britain will withdraw up to 1,600 of its roughly 7,100 British troops in southern Iraq in the next few months.

Around 460 Danish soldiers under British command in southern Iraq will also be withdrawn by August, the government in Copenhagen said today.

Then the carnage story:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A suicide car bomber struck a police checkpoint Wednesday in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, killing at 13 people in the spiritual heartland of the militia factions led by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

U.S. forces, meanwhile, investigated the ''hard landing'' of a Black Hawk helicopter north of Baghdad. Military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said the airmen were picked up by rescuers, but gave no further details.

At least seven U.S. helicopters have crashed or been forced down by hostile fire in the past month, killing 28 troops and civilians.

Gee, how come the Brits are pulling out while the Americans are ramping up the troop numbers? How come Poodle Boy Tony can't send some of those departing Brits to Baghdad for the security crackdown?

Might it be that even Tony knows this bloody cake is baked?

And just in case you think reconciliation between Shiites and Sunnis is still a possibility, take a look at this rape accusation by a 20-year old Sunni woman that threatens to increase Sunni/Shiite tensions even more (if that's possible) and suggests that the Iraqi security forces may be riddled with rapists as well as militiamen and death squad members and the Maliki government may be engaging in a cover-up of the matter:

When a 20-year-old Sunni woman from Baghdad appeared on the satellite television station Al Jazeera on Monday night with a horrific account of kidnapping and sexual assault at the hands of three officers in the Shiite-dominated Iraqi National Police, people across the country were stunned, some disbelieving, others horrified, but all riveted.

Almost immediately, Shiite leaders lined up to condemn the woman, calling her charges propaganda aimed at undermining the new security campaign. Sunni politicians offered the woman their support. Whatever the truth of the accusation, though, it played to sectarian fears on both sides.

For many Shiites, the charges appeared to be an attempt to smear them and attack the Shiite-led government; for Sunnis, the woman’s account only highlighted what they already believed to be true — that the Iraqi government cares little for justice and promotes a Shiite agenda.

Bitter exchanges between politicians of various sects were relayed to millions on television, interspersed with clips of the woman telling her story, her face veiled, just the tears in her eyes visible.

Today, tensions over the matter remained high as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki ordered the dismissal of Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Ghafoor al-Samaraei, the head of the country’s Sunni endowment, after Mr. Samaraei and other prominent Sunni politicians called for an investigation of the incident.

The Americans, who have advisers working with the Iraqi National Police, have found themselves caught in the middle without answers. The woman said the Americans had rescued her from the officers and gave her medical treatment. The American-backed, Shiite-led government said the Americans would show the woman’s claims to be false.

The American military said only that it was investigating the charges.

Watch this rape accusation case closely. The Shiite Maliki government looks like they are covering the whole thing up. At first, Maliki released a statement saying he would pursue a full investigation of the matter. Hours later, he released another statement calling the woman a liar and saying that the accused rapists had been rewarded by the government. Here's the money quote:

“It has been shown after medical examinations that the woman had not been subjected to any sexual attack whatsoever, and that there are three outstanding arrest warrants against her issued by security agencies,” said the second statement. “After the allegations have been proven to be false, the prime minister has ordered that the officers accused be rewarded.”

No evidence was revealed, no explanation given. Just that the Sunni woman who had made the rape accusation was a liar and the accused officers were heroes of the state and had been rewarded.

I dunno if the accusation against the officers is legitimate or not. It's possible the woman is lying. It's also possible the officers are lying and the Maliki government is covering up for them. Given the way the matter has been handled, I'm betting it's the latter.

If the Americans become complicit in the Maliki/Shiite government cover-up of this rape accusation case, how can they look the Sunnis in the eyes and say they haven't taken sides in the Iraqi civil war?

The answer is, they can't. So if the Americans become complicit in the Maliki/Shiite government cover-up of this rape accusation case, it will be another sign that the Bush administration has decided their exit strategy in Iraq is to side with the Shiites, pound the Sunnis into submission, and leave a Shiite authoritarian government in power after they leave.

The American military should conduct a full, open investigation of this matter themselves. While Maliki and his Shiite cronies may not like it, the American military and government should not be seen to be helping Maliki and the Shiites covering up this case.

I have a feeling that they're not going to do that, however. It looks more and more like they have sided with the Shia (notice that the security crackdown is mostly aimed at Sunni insurgents.) This could have a profound effect on how other Sunni powers start to conduct themselves. if you think the insurgency is bad now, wait until Saudi Arabia and other Sunni powers officially join the cause against the Shiites in Iraq and their Iranian cohorts. The region could explode into full-scale sectarian violence. between Sunni/Shia nation-states, kinda like the Iraqi civil war gone regional.

UPDATE: Mike at Crest points out that the sophisticated weaponry Sunni insurgents are using to bring down American helicopters (Russian-made SA-14 or SA-16 shoulder-fired missiles) has to be coming from somewhere outside of Iraq because Saddam did not have this type of weaponry in his stockpiles. Looks like the Sunni powers are ALREADY arming and funding the insurgency in the Iraqi civil war. Just wait until they start doing it openly.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?