A recent wave of violence in Iraq, including a triple car bombing today in Baghdad, should be a cause for concern. Its main source is the lack of political reconciliation among Iraqis; the planned American troop withdrawals for the most part have yet to occur. President Bush’s surge reduced the levels of violence in Iraq, but it was not able to bring about the tough political compromises necessary to bring about reconciliation – leaving the Obama administration a potential powder keg.
Iraq is entering a pivotal period. With little political reconciliation between Sunnis and Shia since the surge began a year and a half ago, the U.S. has now begun to transfer authority over the predominately Sunni Anbar province to the Shia-dominated Iraqi government. While conservatives have prematurely declared victory in Iraq, progressives have consistently warned that political reconciliation and the establishment of the Iraqi government will be the hard part.
It may not have seemed possible for things to get any worse for the Bush administration after last week, when the world witnessed the full-circle collapse of the Bush’s personality-driven approach towards Putin’s Russia and Musharraf’s Pakistan. Yet not only did the extent of the President’s failed policy toward Pakistan and Russia become more clear, but the events of the week also demonstrated the bankruptcy of the conservative approach toward Iraq, Afghanistan, and Europe.