A Plan That Rests on Maliki's Flimsy Pledges

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Plan That Rests on Maliki's Flimsy Pledges

Last night, President Bush told the American people:
Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have.
He left out a third reason: the Maliki government is viewed by most Sunnis as a hostile regime -- one they cannot trust.

And it's not hard to see why they feel this way. Maliki has left significant chunks of the government under the control of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr or his surrogates.

This is also why it's hard to take Bush seriously when he said this:
The Iraqi government will deploy Iraqi Army and National Police brigades across Baghdad's nine districts.

... These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations -- conducting patrols and setting up checkpoints, and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents.

This is a strong commitment
Strong? In whose world is this a "strong commitment"? Conducting patrols and maintaining a regular presence in neighborhoods are fundamental activities that the Iraqi police should have been handling already.

Bush said:
... the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. .... Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects ...
But Bush can't make these things happen. He only has the word of Maliki, someone who has little credibility when it comes to following through on past commitments.

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