Is Iraq coming un-surged?
Just when you might have been thinking you could, oh, “relax” a bit and just worry about Afghanistan going to hell, there’s more bad news from Iraq today.Â As Alissa Rubin reports for the New York Times:
Two insurgent bomb blasts struck at pro-American Iraqi targets in Anbar province just west of Baghdad and in the northern city of Mosul on Thursday, and the police said at least 30 people were killed and 80 wounded.
Iraqi police officials said three American marines were among the dead in the Anbar attack, which came just as the American military command was preparing to hand control of the province, once considered the hotbed of the insurgency, over to Iraqi forces.
The bombings extended a pattern of multiple-casualty attacks in recent days that are clearly intended to kill local Iraqi leaders, in particular those who are believed to have collaborated with American forces against insurgents.
Both attacks on Thursday raised questions about assertions that Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni extremist groups had been largely vanquished.
As Rubin notes, these attacks are by the folks the Bushites and their dwindling fan club thought we might have actually defeated in Iraq, as opposed to those who we bought off or who temporarily stood down for their own reasons as part of the pretend accomplishments of the “surge.”
Those latter groups — the Sunni tribes involved in the “Bribing” “Awakening,” and the Shiites loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr — have stayed quiet in part because they are hoping to pick up some opportunities for graft political clout in Iraq’s long-delayed provincial elections… which, um, continue to be delayed.Â
How long will they continue to pursue the carrot of political legitimacy before they realize there’s a stick attached that never gets any shorter?Â And as their patience frays, and the U.S. ultimately has to begin bringing home the extra brigades that were sent to Iraq last year, what’s going to keep the violence from spiraling further?
And what will happen if all this unraveling occurs right in the middle of a U.S. presidential campaign?
(Cross-posted at Firedoglake.)