October 20, 2006

Insurgent Parades in Anbar Governorate?

AP Story: Iraqi insurgents stage defiant parades

On Friday, the Muslim holy day, Iraqi insurgents staged military style parades in several cities in volatile Anbar Governorate, including the city of Al-Hadithah. Several of these were near to U.S. military bases. This follows a similar parade in Ar-Ramadi (capital of the governorate) on Wednesday.

All of this comes at a time when many American troops have been withdrawn from the area and repositioned in Baghdad to try and stem the spiraling violence there. According to the Multinational Force-Iraq spokesman, that effort has largely been unsuccessful. Also going on at the same time is increased activity by the Shi'a militia of radical cleric Muqtada As-Sadr, the jaysh al-mahdi (Mahdi Army). This militia seized control of Al-'Amarah (see my earlier piece, Iraqi prime minister and the militias - ADDENDUM.)

The Iraqi government is either incapable or unwilling to act forcefully to put down this violence and the defiant shows of force. They have got to start or they have rendered themselves irrelevant and a civil war in inevitable. Where are the American forces? How can a band of insurgents brazenly parade through cities brandishing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers?

Get out of your garrisons and start killing these people.