Sunday, March 23, 2008

Surge Politics

There's something for everybody when it comes to "surge politics."

George w. Bush has been playing surge politics as the only means he has to salvage something of his presidential legacy. John McCain is relying on surge politics as just about the only means for a Republican to retain the White House in November.

The Demutantes have been on the wrong end of surge politics. Overall it doesn't help them when voters believe Bush's 11th hour brainwave is somehow working. Then again, a lowering of violence does bolster the argument that America can declare "mission accomplished" and leave.

Surge politics, however, is also played by the Iraqis insurgents and by the terrorists who've insinuated themselves into that country since 2003. With US voters beginning to make up their minds about who they'll support in November and the US media losing all interest in the place, it behooves the bad guys to get their faces front and center again. They need to be on American voters' minds if they're to have any prospect of influencing the November ballot.

My guess is that the key players in Iraq are ready to play Mesopotamia - the Home Game. In other words, they would like the US forces out so they can have at each other without meddling foreigners. If the surge can be made to appear a failure it's more likely the American people will elect an anti-war president. If the surge is seen as a success, however, John McCain will reap a lot of votes.

I had thought there would be an outbreak of major violence this summer - beginning in May or June. However the recent wave of bombings suggests this may be beginning already. Suddenly more American troops are getting ambushed and killed, Iraqi civilians are again falling to sectarian violence in big numbers.

The New York Times reports that a barrage of 20-mortar rounds was fired into the Green Zone bunker district today while, across the country, 58-Iraqis were killed. According to the paper, witnesses claimed the mortar attack came from a Shiite neighbourhood. More ominously, they said the attack was launched by a group of militia men belonging to the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al Sadr.

If al Sadr's forces are initiating fresh attacks it could spell the end of the militia's ceasefire which largely gave the surge the illusion of success. It could just be the next example of surge politics, Iraqi-style.
The NYT is reporting that four American GIs were killed in Baghdad by a roadside bomb, bringing the total US combat death toll over the 4,000 mark.
If, as it appears, this is the beginning of a second insurgency - an end to the ceasefire of the past months - then - sorry, I don't know what to even guess. There are so many forces in play including Bush's last months in office, McCain's election prospects, the Dems (for whom Hillary is probably more lethal than al Sadr), the Shiite establishment and its militias, the Kurds and Turkey and the Iraqi Sunnis with their pan-Arabic backers. Oh, and I left out the Wahabist terrorism movement.
It's far too early to tell whether this is just a huge blip or the overture to some group's political agenda. There'll probably be morgues stuffed with cadavers before the subplots are revealed.


LeDaro said...

I feel sorry for the next occupant of the Whitehouse. It will take years to clean up the mess Bush will leave behind, nationally and internationally.

The Mound of Sound said...

If, and only if, America is lucky, the next occupant of the White House will work toward cleaning up the Bush mess. That's far from clear right now. McCain claims to want to enshrine his country's economic disaster plus "staying the course" on the Iraq war. Hillary is a crap shoot at best. Who knows? Wish I did.


LeDaro said...

True. If Barack Obama is elected then he may try to clean up the mess. People like Bill Richardson and John Edwards,if on his team, will help.