1.22.2004

POLITICS - Mess-o-Potamia

Washington Post has another update on Iraq. There's good news and bad news. Let's look at the real bad news first.
"I worry that the recent street demonstrations in support of Sistani and direct elections could turn into widespread anti-American and anti-Governing Council demonstrations by Iraqis disgruntled with other issues -- no jobs, heat, power, chickens, Mercedes," said Judith Yaphe, a former CIA analyst for Iraqi affairs.

Sounds like things are tough all over. But seriously, here's the good news.
After a shaky summer marked by finger-pointing among intelligence officials about a raft of failures, especially in the coordination of data, the U.S. intelligence effort in Iraq was revamped in October and November. The overhaul has made operations much more effective, officials said.
[...]
The U.S. military's Central Command, headed by Abizaid, spent an additional $11 million on the intelligence restructuring, a senior official said, and in the process forced far greater cooperation between regular military forces, Special Operations units, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA. All those entities now use a common database that, for example, enables suspected fighters to be tracked as they move from city to city.

But there's always a caveat...
Some military experts, including officers fighting in Iraq, continue to worry about the Iraqi insurgency, which they regard as surprisingly resilient and adaptive. Some fear that the resistance could be regrouping and planning new attacks, and is quiescent now only because it is studying the changes in the U.S. force structure and searching for new vulnerabilities. Some point out that attacks on Iraqi security forces have increased in recent months.

It's an interesting article, and the Army clearly shows an ability to adapt to new terrains and duties. That's great news. We're under a heavy troop rotation right now, so we may be in a brief calm before a storm. We're failing to insure women's rights, and the country might be slipping toward a theocracy. How effective is Bremer as a diplomat among the different factions? What's going wrong in the Governing Council?

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