Juan Cole reports that Grand Ayatollah Sistani may be about to withdraw his support of the Anglo-US occupation and back those opposing the Americans. Needless to say this could ruin Petraeus’s entire day, and Crocker’s and their bosses, etc. Sistani being as inscrutable as ever Cole makes some shrewd guesses as nto what may have precipitated it. Some are quite predictable, such as the usual tensions between occupier and occupied–the commander’s wishing to look after the men in their charge at the expense of Iraqi citizens in deciding whether to call down that air-strike, but Cole speculates that this Iranian may not be too happy about assisting to keep the rear quiet and provide a serviceable platform for the decider and Vader to use the long arm of the USAF to put those pesky Persians in their place.
Whatever the rationale, it may precipitate Maliki to ask the Americans to leave, which would be highly embarrassing.
If Cole is right and this can’t be patched up, Iraq looks as if it may be entering a whole new phase after a quite patch. Yglesias may have turned 27 a few days ago but he is showing much more wisdom than almost anyone else.
And you know what, it is heartening the see! So how about we take some troops out of Iraq, then some more, and then some more, until there are none left? It seemed to me back in late 2004 that the looming elections in January 2005 would be a good opportunity to declare victory and go home on a relatively upbeat note. Instead, the president decided that we needed to stay in order to forestall civil war and ethnic cleansing. Then came several years of civil war and ethnic cleansing. Now we’re looking at another spate of good news. So why not take the opportunity to leave?