Saturday, August 12, 2006

This Needs to Work

American and Iraqi forces operating in Baghdad are attempting to stomp out the sectarian violence being carried out by Sadr's boys and other Iranian stooges on one side and Sunni terrorists on the other.

One result is the arrest of al Qaeda types:

U.S. soldiers raided a funeral and detained 60 men suspected of ties to al-Qaida car bombings, the U.S. command said Saturday in announcing the first major roundup of suspected insurgents since troop reinforcements began arriving for a new crackdown in Baghdad.

While this was the first major roundup, it may be for public relations. We know who the main enemy is:

In an interview with the New York Times published Saturday, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Iran was instigating Shiite militias to step up attacks on U.S. forces in retaliation for the Israeli assault on Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Shiite Hezbollah is backed by Iran.

Iran's prodding has led to a surge in mortar and rocket attacks on the fortified Green Zone, the compound that houses the main components of the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy, Khalilzad was quoted as saying.

The Shiite guerrillas behind the attacks are members of splinter groups of the Mahdi Army, he said. The newspaper quoted unidentified officials of the Sadr Organization as saying that rogue elements of the Mahdi Army are not under their control and carry out attacks without guidance from al-Sadr.

"Iran is seeking to put more pressure, encourage more pressure on the coalition from the forces that they are allied with here," Khalilzad was quoted as saying.

The Sunnis mostly know they have lost and have been gradually moving toward ending the insurgency. But growing Shia frustration at Sunni terrorism has been enflamed since the Golden Dome mosque bombing earlier in the year and the increased violence instigated by Iran through their proxies including Sadr. This violence by pro-Iran Shias has made the Sunnis too scared to lay down their arms in the absence of proof that the government will protect them from vengeance attacks. Justice must be done for those guilty of crimes, but being Sunni must not mark someone for death by association.

And we are adding troops to Baghdad to clamp down and give the Sunnis the comfort level to surrender:

U.S. commanders are rushing nearly 12,000 more American and Iraqi soldiers into the capital. The military has not said how many reinforcements have arrived in Baghdad beginning last week, but some soldiers of the Army's 172nd Stryker Brigade have been seen on the city's streets.

We shall see if this is enough. We must win this battle if we want a free and democratic Iraq in the near term. If not, the government will eventually join the Shia death squads and kill or expel the Sunnis from Iraq to end the violence. The Sunni violence will be ended one way or the other.