Monday, March 26, 2007

Iraq outsourcing security in Green Zone

The rhetoric about our boys standing down when the Iraqis stand up has been tossed into the dustbin of history. With a majority of the House okaying legistation to have US troops home by the end of next year, Bush will have to wield the veto pin with enough dexterity to frustrate the 63% of the American public that favors the creation of a timetable. His focus now is making sure he can stave off a veto override and parry forced withdrawal long enough to kick the issue onto the lap of his successor.

If Bush had the bumptiousness to say it again, he'd have to explain why the Iraqi Prime Minister doesn't even have enough faith in Iraq's security forces to have the ISF secure the Green Zone:
The suicide assassination attempt on Iraq's deputy prime minister was carried out or set up by a security guard who was a distant relative the official hired as a bodyguard despite a previous arrest as a suspected Sunni insurgent, a senior Iraqi security official and an aide to the victim told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The major security breach, at least the third involving a top politician in four months, prompted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to order a government-wide security shake up, including plans to hire a foreign company to guard the Green Zone building where parliament meets, the security official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with reporters.
If there's a single place in all of Iraq that the ISF should be able to protect, it's this area just a few miles east of Baghdad's international airport. It's the point from which most of the globe sees Iraq, and there is hardly another location that takes precedence over it. So, effectively the best of 325,000 or so ISF members cannot be cobbled together into a force trustworthy or effective enough to secure a single building inside the four most technologically and culturally advanced square miles in all of Iraq. This after four years of magnanimous reconstruction and intensive coalition training.

It is accurate to place executional blame on the Iraqis. But this alarming report illustrates just how blameworthy the Administration and Pentagon war planners are for not realizing how unlikely it was that the Iraqis would do anything other than fail. The deputy Prime Minister targeted in the attack that led to al-Maliki's mercenary decision is a Sunni. Most of the ISF rank-and-file are Shia. Assigning the fox to guard the chicken coop is rarely a sound decision.

But the illustration extends beyond this single incident. Notice that there've been at least three assassination attempts made on top Iraqi politicians in the last four months. The tribalistic nature of the Middle East almost guarantees that there is always a vengeful member of a rival faction no more than a couple of degrees away. With vigorous, intricate kin networks weaved all over the social landscape, how to you come up with a government operating on a national level and with a federal perspective? Throw in widespread poverty, the inherit intolerance of Islam, and an average estimated IQ of 87, and the situation seems utterly hopeless.

I'm currently reading Gibbon's history of the Roman Empire. Contemporary Iraq brings to mind the bloody internal strife of the Third Century. But I've no idea how Diocletian would be able to pull this one off.


savage said...

Diocletian had everywhere from Britain to Iberia, from Antioch to Italy to pull from. He shared power with some really capable co-caesars. Rome as an empire had been around for centuries and was militarily dominant. Iraq today has none of these things.

Anonymous said...

Diocletian and Constantine even more so were not afraid to crack some heard, or cut them off. There was no whining media, leftists/liberals or softies or any nonsense, hand-wringing about public relations either. No Democrats as well.