The Iraqi Political Realignments
Iraq the Model describes a frenzy of political activity in Iraq. "The political scene in Iraq these days is registering a level of activity like we haven’t seen since right after the elections, when the blocs squabbled over who got to be the new premier. Political alliances are being redrawn right now —and three developments are shaping the change and dominating local news headlines at stories of violence’s expense."
I don't know how to interpret the changes taking place in Baghdad, but I may have accidentally anticipated it. In a recent post called the Iraqi Security Plan, I wrote that one major unstated purpose of the Surge was to affect the course of local politics. As I was participating in the blogger roundtable with General Caldwell, this rogue idea went through my head and found its way into the post:
One item that skimmed past in the discussion but which deserved more attention was how early in the game this really was. Although the Iraqi government is legally four years old, in actuality it has only been in existence for several months. There have been four major changes in the Iraqi government leadership since its re-establishment and we are in its latest incarnation and this underscores not only the volatility of the political situation but the deep interaction between the military effort and politics in the campaign in Iraq. Although no one mentioned it in discussion, the thought went through my head (and it's my personal opinion) that the current security plan cannot be fully understood without calculating its intended effect on Iraqi politics. Though no one of course would put it that way. In other words, the current security effort will have an effect not only on the military balance on the ground, but equally importantly, on the political composition of the Iraqi government and on US public opinion.
I believe the Nancy Pelosi approach of threatening to weaken America on the ground in order to achieve changes in Iraqi politics is the wrong one. My intuition is that the precise opposite should be attempted -- that strengthening the position on the ground is likely to effect reform. Now if any posters could help to interpret the changes that Omar is describing (he goes into it at length) then we can assess whether recent military efforts are being reflected in changes within the Iraqi political system and get some indicators on which line of thinking is correct.