August 3, 2007


'Depth of mistrust' in Iraq unforeseen: With Sunnis' exit from government, Pentagon chief Gates says the focus will be on achieving reconciliation at a provincial level (Peter Spiegel and Alexandra Zavis, August 3, 2007, LA Times)

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates acknowledged Thursday that the Bush administration underestimated the difficulty of getting a political truce in Iraq, where Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's government has been crippled by a walkout by Sunni Arab ministers.

Gates said he was optimistic about military progress in several Iraqi regions, particularly Al Anbar, a western province that was once a haven for insurgents.

But he said he was discouraged by the Shiite-dominated government's inability to reach a compromise to pass legislation aimed at reconciling the country's ethnic and sectarian groups. Reaching such political agreements, a central goal of the troop buildup strategy, may still be a long way off, he said.

"I just think in some ways we probably all underestimated the depth of the mistrust and how difficult it would be for these guys to come together," Gates said.

Hard to win the peace when you're trying to force your allies to repeatedly make concessions to the enemy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 3, 2007 7:01 AM

Viewed from the standpoint of the Gotsian hypothesis, namely that the Iraq campaign is part of a giant maskirovska aimed at the reformation of the entire spiritual jailhouse, this story makes a lot of sense.

Iraq dissolves into chaos, perhaps even a regional civil war among the mob factions running the various cell blocks of the jailhouse, and the wise people of the region realize that they need to change their failed instituitions.

A key aspect of the maskirovska is the appearance that all this is contrary to our intentions.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 3, 2007 3:32 PM