A victory for what and whom? 0

The Obama plan for Iraq is to hand over law enforcement to the ‘democratic’ Iraqi government so that American troops can be withdrawn without loss of face.

So how’s it working out?

From the New York Times:

A female suicide bomber attacked a column of Shiite pilgrims on the outskirts of Baghdad on Monday, part of a convulsion of violence that has hit the capital in advance of national elections in March.

At least 41 people died and more than 100 were wounded in the attack, which took place in an industrial district on the northern edge of the city, according to initial reports from security officials, who said the toll could rise…

Hundreds of thousands of Shiites from Iraq, Iran and other countries make their way to Karbala, south of here, during a pilgrimage that marks the end of mourning for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad who died in battle in the seventh century.

Many make the journey on foot, which can take days and even weeks, stopping at tents that provide food, water and shelter. They do so in defiance of almost daily attacks that have included gunfire, grenades and bombs.

The processions clog roads headed to Karbala for days ahead of the holiday, Arbaeen, which is Friday. Despite road closings and other measures to heighten security, the attacks continue as relentlessly as the marchers.

The suicide bomber in this case struck near a tent in Bob al-Sham that was filled with pilgrims making their way from Diyala Province, northeast of Baghdad. The toll was one of the highest in months by an individual suicide bomber.

The bombing came a week after suicide car bombs devastated three hotels in Baghdad, followed a day later by another against a forensics lab belonging to the Interior Ministry.

The main insurgency group here, the Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility for those attacks, which were highly coordinated and clearly intended to attack the credibility of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government.

Even as word spread of the Monday attack, a spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command, which oversees security in the capital, announced that “a large number” of 134 officers and soldiers under investigation in the wake of the earlier incidents would face courts-martial for negligence and dereliction of duty.

One piece of extremely good news 2

The US victory in Iraq is bigger than even President Bush and his outgoing administration seem to realize. 

First, it can now be proclaimed as victory: 

 If Barack Obama had gotten his way, Iraq would now be in the hands of Islamists, and America’s image would have suffered a crushing blow. He voted to cut off funding for the troops, just when they needed it most, and still refuses to admit he was wrong.

Well, he was wrong, and George W. Bush deserves credit for refusing to back down when all around him were losing heart: “The war is over and we won.” [Quotations from Little Green Footballs]

And, secondly, how big and important the victory is can be best be understood from a study published by the Hudson Institute’s Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World. It tells how the jihadists in Iraq, Zarqawi and his successors, prepared to re-establish the caliphate. They even had the caliph chosen and ready. They saw this as a step to Islamic world domination. After Zarqawi himself was killed in June 2006, his followers ‘determined to turn Iraq into a battleground [and] the incubator for their grand vision of a unified Islamic empire under the aegis of a ruling caliph.’ This vision enthralled a new generation of jihadists. As  a winning ‘al-Qaeda in Iraq’ (assuming, as it were, the al-Qaeda franchise) they could have drawn thousands more fighters. They declared an ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ which was to be the center of victorious Islam, with Baghdad as its capital. Had the surge not take place, had it not turned the local tribal leaders against the jihadis, the triumph of militant Islam over the United States would have been seen throughout the Islamic world as a victory of historic proportions, ‘a victorious Islamic regeneration’; a caliphate might well have been established, and the non-Muslim world subjected to an onslaught of terrorism – possibly nuclear terrorism – without precedent.

The study is long, but very interesting and well worth reading. Here are two riveting passages from it:

The American public was uncurious as to the identity, nature, and goals of its enemy in Iraq. And, unfortunately, U.S. leaders and commanders were mostly complicit in such willful unawareness. The lack of interest on the part of the public was partly due to bitter partisan recriminations over the Bush administration’s policy in waging the Iraq war, and over who in Washington was to blame for the insurgency that ensued. Consequently, the doctrines of the Bush administration regarding preemptive strikes and democracy in the Middle East came under incessant scrutiny from the administration’s domestic political foes. Meanwhile, the doctrines of the jihadists were overlooked or, in the few cases where they were considered, dismissed as esoteric. Fantastical as they may be, these doctrines do indeed motivate and inform the enemy’s actions and strategy, and their significance was not recognized…

The corollary to the military defeat now being experienced by the jihadists is the even more agonizing prospect of doctrinal collapse: the heralded caliphate is stillborn, and the glorious vision of a reinvigorated Islamic state has been smashed. The anguish and demoralization brought about by this byproduct of battlefield victory cannot be overstated. To smash the dreams of a man who lives for a cause, who endures cruel deserts and damp caves while awaiting martyrdom, is a fate far worse than death. In a battle of wills, young men are able to summon the necessary willpower to press a button and to detonate themselves among innocent bystanders. They do so for the cause of jihad, and for the deferred utopia of a resurrected and avenging Islamic world power. Nothing breaks the will of the individual jihadist more than to see his ideology begin to bear fruit, only to watch that fruit rot away right before his eyes. Such has been the impact of the Zarqawist Islamic State of Iraq—the caliphate-to-be, under the Commander of the Faithful Abu Umar al-Baghdadi the Qurayshite—and such the bitter aftertaste of its ruinous downfall.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Sunday, November 16, 2008

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