Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Thursday, February 22, 2007
The Spin I'm In
Froomkin headlines today with the attempt by the White House to spin the British withdrawal as a sign of progress. It's not a difficult argument to make:
But Jordan and Partlow write that "military and political analysts disputed Blair's upbeat description of the situation in the Basra area. They also said they believed the timing of the British drawdown may have more to do with plunging polls for Blair's Labor Party, pressure from British military officials and Blair's desire to begin an endgame for Iraq before he leaves office. . . .

"'While the British zone is much quieter,' [said Michael Williams, head of the transatlantic program at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies,] the Basra area 'still has a number of security issues' and it 'is foolhardy' to believe that Iraqi forces are ready to assume total control of the area. He also noted that if Blair had the political will, he could deploy some troops to help out the Americans in Baghdad instead of sending them home."
Southern Iraq is dominated by Shiite militia's. The big difference between the conflicts in the north and the south is the conflict between the Shiites who are more allied with Iran and those who are not. Sadr has a growing presence in southern Iraq and is a torn in SCIRI's fanny. The British withdrawal will mean either a shift of American forces to southern Iraq, or a civil war heating up between the two Shiite factions with Iran right in the middle of it (and we know what that would mean). The most likely outcome is that both will occur.