Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Nostradamus He’s Not

A month and a half ago–typing, as it were, with fingers crossed–the Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss wrote:

What does the start of a new civil war in Iraq look like? It looks a lot like this:

The Times reports today matter-of-factly on the pattern of assassinations of Sunni members of the Sons of Iraq militia by Shiite death squads:

American military leaders disagree among themselves about whether the assassinations are increasing or whether some of the killings are merely criminal acts. But they are “watching the numbers closely,” said a military official who attends briefings on attacks.

Yesterday I wrote a lengthy piece for The Nation about the likelihood of a new civil war and a new Sunni resistance movement stemming from the sectarian Shiite government’s refusal to make a political deal with Iraq‘s Sunnis.

What does the dashing of Robert Dreyfuss’s most fervent hope look like? It looks a lot like this:

Thousands of members of local militias set up by the Americans to provide neighbourhood security and fight against al-Qaeda’s Iraq franchise are now being paid by the Iraqi government – a key test of what is a cornerstone in US efforts to restore stability.

The US military is highlighting the transition of what it calls the Sons of Iraq programme, saying it is proof the Iraqi authorities are “keeping their word.”


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