Thursday, March 19, 2009

To free Iraq, resistance must bridge the sectarian divide

As anti-occupation leaders recognise, the US could still exploit their divisions in an effort to offset its strategic defeat

Seumas Milne
The Guardian, Thursday 19 March 2009

"In a last-ditch attempt to rescue some wafer of credibility from the west's most catastrophic war of modern times, the story is taking hold in Britain and the US that after six years of horror Iraq is finally coming good. So quickly has this spin become accepted truth that politicians and pundits now regularly insist that if only General Petraeus is allowed to work his surge magic on Afghanistan, all could be well in that benighted land as well. One recent report in the Sunday Telegraph even claimed that the 4,000 British troops still in Basra are regarded as "heroes and liberators" by Iraqis now that their £8bn mission has at last been "accomplished".....

There is no question that the US has suffered a strategic defeat in Iraq. Far from turning the country into a forward base for the transformation of the region on western lines, it became a global demonstration of the limits of American military power. But the failure of the resistance to bridge the sectarian divide and become a truly national movement is, as Abu Yahya acknowledges, an achilles heel that could yet allow the US to salvage long-term gains from the wreckage. If Iraq is to regain its sovereignty and control of its resources, and the US is to leave the country altogether, that weakness will have to be overcome."

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