Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ominous Assessment of Basra Events

"This is very, very serious and it could all go wrong for the United States as we try to extricate ourselves. It could go wrong in many, many ways and cause everything to come apart there." -- Maj. Gen. Donald Sheppard (USAF, retired), CNN's senior military analyst.

Is there any particular reason why the Maliki government chose to take this action now?
A number of reports suggests this is to build up advantage prior to elections--in other words, crush your rivals on the battlefield so you can win the elections afterwards.
That makes sense. But if so, then I wonder if there can be free and fair elections.

I also wonder what the Sunni Arabs will do if the Maliki army prevails. Can it be assumed that the Baghdad government cleared the offensive with the United States in advance?
Interesting question, especially since, if the Post is to be believed, U.S. forces are now taking the lead in some areas while the Iraqis hang back.
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