Monday, March 31, 2008

The Lessons of Basra

by Robert Dreyfuss
The Nation

".....But it’s far worse for the United States. President Bush strongly backed Maliki since the Battle of Basra started. According to Steve Hadley, the president’s national security adviser, the decision to act in Basra was taken jointly between Washington and Baghdad. And US air power and even some ground units supported the floundering Iraqi forces, whose weakness and incompetence were revealed for all to see. After five years of massive US training and equipment, the Iraqi armed forces weren’t even able to take control of Iraq’s second-largest city.

Adding to Bush’s utter humiliation, the Iranian-negotiated truce was mediated by the commander of the so-called Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani, who brought Sadr’s representatives together with Hadi al-Ameri, the Badr Corps commander and the leading aide to Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, the ISCI leader. The Quds Force, you will recall, was only last year designated as a “terrorist” entity by the US government. So President Bush’s “defining moment” is this: the head of an Iranian “terrorist” force has brokered a deal between the two leading Shiite parties in Iraq, Sadr’s movement and ISCI."

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