Robert Kagan argues that “the surge is succeeding.” According to Kagan, “there is substantial evidence that the new counterinsurgency strategy, backed by the infusion of new forces, is having a significant effect.”
First, he argues that simply by reversing the sense that the U.S. was about to pull out, the surge has shifted the dynamic. Moreover, leading insurgents and militia leaders reportedly have fled from Baghdad. Coalition forces, by contrast, are sticking around this time, a major departure from past practice. Consequently, there is at least some evidence that fear of civil war is slowly being replaced by optimism that peace might one day return to the city.
Kagan also argues that, as the security context is improving, so too is the political situation. He cites the national agreement on sharing oil revenue, which appears to be on its way to approval. He also notes that “the Interior Ministry has been purged of corrupt officials and of many suspected of torture and brutality.”
Kagan acknowledges that Sadr may re-emerge later on. Presumably, Sadr is hoping that Bush will draw U.S. forces down or that the Dems will force a pull-out. The latter prospect may indeed be Sadr’s best hope, and the best hope for the Sunni and al Qaeda killers as well.
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