Monday, October 08, 2007

Guardian Editorial on Iraq and Al-Rubaie

In case readers of TWR haven't already seen the Guardian editorial commenting on Britain's withdrawal from Iraq, I wanted to post the following excerpts. I found it interesting because it reinforces--even if not exactly in the way he might have wanted--points raised last week by Al-Rubaie. (See also this write-up.)

First, that cessation of violence has more to do with politics on the ground that the presence of outside forces. The Guardian writes: "British troops have had little to do with the partial peace they leave behind. It has been created by political deals with Shia militias. A ceasefire of forces loyal to the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, secured by the release from prison of a number of his top militiamen, has been followed by an agreement between the cleric and his main Shia rival, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq."

Second, that outside forces now have little leverage. "The reality is that Britain's power to shape events is now limited, and will become more so. Mr Brown said yesterday that British forces will maintain a "more limited" capacity for re-intervention. This is a convenient myth: troop movements will only be one way. In Basra and elsewhere in the south, peace depends on an agreed division of the oil wealth, and on Iran's attitude."

Finally, the one takeaway quote that most people who attended last week's event was his clear statement about a "big fat no" for any U.S. strike on Iran. The Guardian editorializes: "Britain can help a little by trying to stop the US from talking up a military strike on Iran. If Iran responded it would be through its proxies in the south of Iraq."

So interestingly we seem to have a somewhat shared message from the Iraqi national security advisor and a left-wing British newspaper.

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