British Troops Stop Withdrawal To Bolster Embattled Iraqi Government
Britain stopped the withdrawal of it's last 1,500 troops in the last few days when the Iraqi government looked likely to lose control in the Basra conflict with powerful proIranian cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr. Mahdi Army militia fighters associated with al-Sadr as well as other fighters armed by Iran were able to battle the Iraqi government to a stalemate earlier this week, and still control much of this third largest city in Iraq. American and British forces were unable to effectively back up the Iraqi government forces enough to take control from the more powerful militia elements. Like Hezbollah and other radical milita fighters in the MidEast, Mahdi fighters were able to gain a ceasefire agreement, which keeps them in control and allows them time to rearm and live to fight another day. Basra is also responsible for 80% of the economy of Iraq as the main oil shipping port. Loss of this important area will almost certainly collapse the Iraqi government with economic strangulation.
The Iraqi government's real weakness was really proven by all of these recent events. In five years the American and British forces simply haven't established a strong enough Iraqi military or central government that is even able to successfully confront serious challenges from the strongest Iraqi militia elements. All of this only proves that without a strong continued American role in Iraq, the flimsy Iraqi government probably would collapse within a few days to weeks. Mr. Bush has certainly failed to establish a real government in Iraq strong enough to be able to survive any serious power struggles that would almost certainly develop in the absense of the continued strong American role propping up the current regime in Iraq. In five years, the U.S. has really achieved far less in Iraq than most Americans really comprehend. Compared to other real governments in control of the other nations in the MidEast, Iraq's government is merely a flimsy neopuppet regime of the American effort.
Images very similiar to the 1975 fall of Saigon will almost certainly result if the government in Iraq would have to defend itself from internal threats by far better armed and moltivated militias still operating in Iraq. So far none of the efforts to disarm these organizations has really proven very successful. Mr. Bush has often used "switch and bait" language to mislead the American public that the small al Qaeda bands of terrorists operating in Iraq are somehow the biggest threat to the government there. This is hardly the case. Militia elements are far more powerful than any small bands of terrorists, and are only likely to grasp control of the troubled Iraqi government at any time when American or British support is weak. For the $500 billion dollar cost of this war in Iraq, the U.S. really hasn't achieved very much so far. The weak central government only survives from day to day with strong U.S. support. That's the honest truth.