Tag Archives: Iraq army

What’s Impact Of Basra Fighting On US Troop Reduction?

General Petraeus has assured the American Congress and people the situation in Iraq is improving and there is an excellent chance troops dispatched for the surge would be able to return home. However, there is growing uncertainty how the current fighting in Basra will impact plans for reducing the size of the American armed force. During the 2004 election, President Bush emphasized the Iraq army had a well trained fighting force of over 140,000, but, of course, we know that was campaign rhetoric. The latest fantasy about the Iraq army has been replaced by the stark reality it is far from an effective fighting force and it is unable to dislodge Mahdi forces from Basra. Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his troops to halt fighting provided the Iraq government stands down from its latest offense.

A constant ccomplaint by critics of Bush policies is failure to confront the entire range of military needs of Iraq. Retired General Bary McCaffrey notes: “Even now there is no Iraq air force, there’s no national military medical system, there’s no maintenance system.” During recent fighting in Basra the Iraq government had to call for assistance from British and American artillery since it lacks its own artillery force. Last November the GAO questioned Pentagon claims on the number of Iraq battalions able to operate “independently” since such units usually depend on U.S. fuel, ammunition, and other supples.

Eventually, there will be a lull in Basra fighting and al-Sadr will continue to exert his power. As always, Bush fails to grasp the political necessity in Iraq.

Fighting Rages In Iraq-Is The Surge Working?

Senator John McCain and Vice President Dick Cheney informed America after their recent trips to Iraq about the success of the Bush surge and that Iraq was headed for a final victory over exremists. Yesterday, Iraq’s Prime Minister was in the Basra area supervising efforts by the Iraq army to quell violence which has erupted in the oil rich area. He issued a three day deadline for Shiite militia to lay down their arms as groups fought over who would control the city. At least 55 are dead and over 300 wounded as fighting escalates between rival groups seeking to impose their will on the city. General Kevin Bergner of the US army noted: “This has been a difficult and challenging few days” for the Iraqi government.

The violence raises fears that radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr will end his unilateral cease fire and unleash his Mahdi army in a new outburst of violence which can only add greater strains on the Iraq government’s efforts to handle al-Qaeda forces. There are reports al-Sadr sent representatives who are askng Prime Minister Maliki to leave the Basra area and that no negotiation would take place until Iraq army forces cease their action against Shiite militias. The Sadr militia is angry at recent raids conducted by US forces and the Iraq army against them while they were obiding by the cease fire.

The Iraq government issued a rather interesting statement to the populace. “This is not a battle against the Mahdi army not is it a proxy war between the United States and Iran. It is the government of Iraq taking the necessary action to deal with criminals on the streets.”

Meanwhile in Baghdad mortar and rocket attacks hit the Green Zone and caused the death of at least one American. One assumes that Senator McCain will not be walking the streets of Baghdad claiming peace has been restored to the capital due to the surge.