Meanwhile yesterday, thousands of Shia Muslims marched in protest through Baghdad, accusing the Americans of hindering the war against insurgents in their attempt to appease the Sunni community.......
The main Shia party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), raised the spectre of an outright descent into civil war, warning that the continuing sectarian attacks by Sunnis would force Shia retaliation.
As Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy warned last year, the very success of the Dec. 15 elections now threatens to backfire by dramatically boosting the popularity and recruitment potential for the insurgents. Its outcome was like pouring gasoline on a burning fire. And this week the fire exploded.....
Beyond fleeting and limited tactical successes, U.S. forces still have no idea how many insurgents they are actually killing or capturing per month, despite all the energy and scale of their own military operations. From August through November, the Department fo defense blandly announced that 3,000 insurgents per month were being captured or killed -- neither more nor less. This is not even a rounding off of roughly reliable figures, it has all the hallmarks of a wild guess made on no serious reliable statistical data whatsoever.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A spree of bloodshed that killed nearly 200 people in two days, including 11 U.S. troops, threatened to provoke a backlash from Shiite militias. Iraq's largest religious group rallied thousands Friday against what it claimed was American backing for some Sunni Arab politicians they say have supported insurgents.
Asked whether he (Gen. Casey) thinks Iraq is on the brink of civil war, Casey said, "I don't believe so. I believe that's exactly what the insurgents are trying to foment. Clearly these attacks over the last couple of days are designed to take advantage of sectarian tensions at a very vulnerable time during the formation of the government."
WASHINGTON (AFX) - Sectarian rivalries and inefficient Iraqi ministries could turn the Iraqi security forces into 'militias or armed gangs,' Lt. General John Vines, the senior US operational commander in Iraq, told The New York Times. ....
'The ability of the ministries to support them, to pay them, to resupply them, provide them with water, ammunition, spare parts and weapons is not as advanced as the competence of the forces in the field,' Vines said.
And just as a comment, when officials refer to Iraqi units that are not able to operate independently, or without US logistical support, what they're euphemistically saying is that the Iraqi government cannot provide their army with food, water, gasoline, bullets, etc. That's a long way from "standing up."