The New Iraq NIE: Pig Ugly, Little Lipstick

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For their part the Sunnis refuse to be a compliant minority.  They enjoyed being on top and resent the hell out of the Shia who supplanted them.  Oh yeah.  Almost forgot.  They are none too happy with us either for giving the Shia a leg up.

We might have a chance if someone with the stature of a George Washington was on stage in Iraq, but he does not exists (and no, she ain't even a possibility).  Add to this the fact that we are busily training and equipping police and army units that are covers for sectarian militia.  Foreign fighters intervene in Iraq and act like Tony Soprano's mother (a toxic bitch) while the intellectual and professional core of Iraqi society is being steadily killed off or fleeing to a new life in other countries.

And more good news.  We shouldn't characterize the war and horror in Iraq as a civil war.  Why?  Because it is worse than a mere civil war.  According to the NIE:

The Intelligence Community judges that the term “civil war” does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qa’ida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence. Nonetheless, the term “civil war” accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements.
So, is there any genuine good news or cause for hope?  Here's the lipstick for the pig.  The NIE says things could improve if the following happen:

  • The Sunnis admit they are wrong and decide to accept the political structure that leaves the Shia as the dominant majority.
  • The Shia and Kurds make major concessions that allow the Sunnis to say, "never mind" and become federalists.
  • And, drum roll please, "A bottom-up approach — deputizing, resourcing, and working more directly with neighborhood watch groups and establishing grievance committees."
It appears that the possibility of monkeys flying out of George Bush's ass was left off of the list.  Too bad, because that is more likely to happen than the Sunnis giving up.

With the Democrats in control on the Hill the analysts working on the NIE recognized they had to tell the truth, no matter how uncomfortable.  Yet a careful reading of the Key Judgments reveals an intelligence community still smarting from the beating it took over the 2002 fiasco and still cautious about tweaking the President.  It appears to deliver the goods — Iraq is going in the toliet and it is largely the result of internal strife unleashed by the U.S. invasion of 2003.  Heck off a job.
 

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