By Patrick Cockburn
"The Iraqi government will be weakened by the US dispatching more troops to Iraq and may well be replaced by a more pro-American administration in Baghdad. The increase in American involvement in Iraq is also convincing Iraqis that the US occupation is going to be permanent. "Many people now think the Americans are never going to leave," said Ghassan Attiyah, the Iraqi political commentator.
Many Iraqis previously suspected that US claims that it would only stay in Iraq for a short period were false and they will now believe their suspicions were justified. The Shia majority also fear that Washington will impose a government better prepared to carry out US instructions than that of the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki.
At the heart of President Bush's speech was the message that it would be American views on what must be done in Iraq that must be obeyed. It will be very difficult for the Iraqi government to prevent the US launching an assault on the Shia bastion of Sadr City, home to two-and-a-half million people. In theory, sovereignty was returned to Iraq in June 2004, but Mr Maliki has said he cannot move a company of troops without US permission. The increase in the number of US brigades in Baghdad will increase US control....."