Indecisiveness: Insulating The Enemy From Defeat
With the arrest of Muqtada al-Sadr's top operatives, most significantly including Abdul-Hadi al-Darraji, another spokesman for al-Sadr stated the overtly clear as if it were a conspiracy secretly hatched in a smoky Washington strategy session. Abdul Mahdi Mtiri, an operative seemingly afforded credibility because he is a member of Sadr's 'political committee,' declared that the US wants a confrontation with al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia.
"We know the truth behind this arrest is the Americans want to target the Sadrists and they want to draw the Sadrists into a confrontation with the American troops."
But the operations and arrests are part of the American plan to neutralize the militia publicly announced to the world on international airwaves by the President of the United States barely a week ago, not in secret communiqués between Washington and Baghdad.
But the plan's success relies on one of two things, assuming US forces are properly deployed with adequate rules of engagement:
A.) The full cooperation of an Iraqi government - particularly its Prime Minister - that has protected al-Sadr to-date, or
B.) American disregard of said government if not cooperative.
Within this single Reuters report, there are clear indications of the Iraqi government's hesitance and hedging on the issue of open confrontation with al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army.
While Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh has said publicly that the US operations have had the 'full backing of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki,' Sadr's Abdul Mahdi Mtiri said that 'Iraqi officials' had promised that the arrested Sadr spokeman and key operative Abdul-Hadi al-Darraji would be released. He also said, "We don't know how serious this promise is because so far he has not been released."
Rather than state that no such promise exists, displaying the Iraqi government's 'full backing' of the operation(s), Iraq's government spokesman al-Dabbagh deflected responsibility to the Americans, saying "The matter is not in the hands of the Iraqi government. The Americans arrested him and they're investigating him and when they're finished they will release him."
Additionally troubling, al-Dabbagh suggested that the capture of Darraji was "not against the Sadrists" 'as a political movement,' but merely for security concerns. This indicates a willingness to see the Iraqi 'Hamasification' of the Sadr militia, another terrorist band of thugs afforded the perception of legitimacy through the front of political participation. Legitimacy - especially in a budding democracy - requires that the two be mutually exclusive.
In order to achieve victory through the ensuing 'surge' of manpower and operations, the United States must either achieve the full support of the entangled Iraqi government against al-Sadr's deadly Tehran-backed militia (et al) or be prepared to disregard it, thus admitting its inability to govern a non-partitioned, whole Iraqi state.
To be sure, there are many moving parts to consider; interconnected, overlapping and often mutually reinforcing. Rather than apply the matrix offered to resulting decisions, more often than not the complex matrix appears to have frozen that process altogether.
The trap of nuance is an indecisiveness that leads to the static conditions which insulate the enemy from defeat. Witness the past year, ar-Ramadi in particular, where the Marines have long been left with enough manpower to hold but not nearly enough to rout an al-Qaeda and insurgent enemy that continues to breathe.
The first decision lies at the feet of that Iraqi government and its leaders. The American leadership must be prepared to then make a difficult decision that is centered on defeating the enemy rather than on establishing the current Iraqi government's primacy.