What comes next?
US troops pray to leave Iraq in one piece
Official: U.S.-Led Forces Could Leave in 18 Months
LONDON (Reuters) - U.S.-led forces could leave Iraq (news - web sites) within 18 months, Iraqi interim Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib told Britain's Channel 4 News Sunday after Iraq's election.
"I think we will not need the multi-national, foreign forces, in this country within 18 months," he said. "I think we will be able to depend on ourselves."
Election officials said turnout had been higher than expected in Sunday's elections despite attacks by insurgents bent on destroying the poll.
At least 35 people died in assaults across the country.
President Bush, under pressure to start bringing troops home after the election, has said U.S.-led forces must keep going to help the new government get its footing.
Now, you have Iraqis, who except more power to be placed in their hands because of the election and a very reluctant US government.
Despite the lies about Iraqi effectiveness, we've seen exactly how effective they are today. Shut down the country, prohibit driving and they will do just fine guarding buildings.
While the media and the warbloggers cheered the election, their usual lack of perspective lets them miss the main issue, which is what happens when the Shia run the government. Allawi may have a job, but I doubt it. What is likely is that a Sistani-loyal government will take the place of the CIA stooge Allawi and then might start making demands on the US, like controlling combat operations and demanding trials in Iraqi courts`when US troops shoot Iraqis and other things the USG might not go along with. You know, like not having those death squads.
Also, the warbloggers missed the potential disaster of the Sunni non-participation. It isn't one yet, but if this is a Sunni rebellion, that was evident today. The question is if they will enter the government or attack it.
Everyone is pleasantly surprised this didn't turn into a bloodbath. But the real test was not voting, Sistani was going to get his votes, but what follows. Another thing the media glossed over was the expectation that a vote would lead to the end of the occupation. If that doesn't seem to be the case, the rebellion could grow rapidly.
There is a childish belief that "oh, the Iraqis faced down the terrorists". Well no. That's not true. Sunni turn out was abysmal and the Shia and Kurds were going vote no matter what. So the resistance laid low, as they have on other big days, only to increase the tempo of combat in the following days. The members of the assembly cannot remain anonymous forever. When they start getting killed, what then?
This is the first thing in 18 months which has gone even remotely right. The question is does it lead to peace and the end of the war or a violent reaction. John Kerry said the next few days would make all the difference. Judging from the backslapping, they don't seem to understand that.
posted by Steve @ 2:12:00 AM