Iraq in ’08

In ’07 al-Qaeda in Iraq seriously countered, but the Shia militias remain.

Whole piece is excellent.  Hard to see how the tribal model could work with the Shia, where the militias have deep and broad support among the populace (something AQI never has had).

Thus, in contrast to AQI, the Mahdi Army enters 2008 with its military capability and its base of support largely intact. If the political or military dynamic changes in 2008, the militia’s leadership could just as easily choose to once again unleash its fighters. By mid-summer the surge will be over, and U.S. troop strength will be back where it was in late 2006. So, if the cease-fire does end, the U.S. will not be fighting with the 30,000 reinforcements that contributed to the gains of 2007. It will also face an adversary with strong support in Shi’ite communities and elements of the Iraqi government. At that point it may be the U.S., rather than its foe, that will have to make a tough choice about whether it can or should continue to fight.

Published in: on January 2, 2008 at 11:15 am  Leave a Comment  

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