As predicted here, many times.
But hey, it's a victory, as far as Maliki is concerned! "Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has taken to calling the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq’s cities by next Tuesday a 'great victory,' a repulsion of foreign occupiers he compares to the rebellion against British troops in 1920." -- New York Times, June 25
And yet despite the fact that Maliki himself, and many of his countrymen, have taken this view, the learned analysts still maintain that "the United States has basically won the war in Iraq. No insurgent or terrorist group can declare victory or claim Americans are evacuating Iraq’s cities because they were beaten." I guess the Iraqi Prime Minister doesn't qualify as an "insurgent or terrorist group," but this statement is still breathtaking in its disconnect from reality. Iraqi crowds are chanting, "America has left! Baghdad is victorious!," the Prime Minister himself is declaring victory over the Americans, and some people are taking seriously an analysis that says no one in Iraq can declare victory.
In any case, any "victory" the Americans won in Iraq was sure to be undone as soon as the troops were gone, and we are already seeing that. Sunni will go after Shi'ite and vice versa, the Iranians will press forward to create a Shi'ite client state, the non-Muslims will be victimized more than ever -- Hugh Fitzgerald in particular has been saying for years that this would happen, and every days the news shows anew that he was right all along.
"Worst violence since US pullback hits Iraq," by Christopher Torchia for AP, July 9 (thanks to all who sent this in):
BAGHDAD (AP) - Bombs killed more than 50 people in Iraq on Thursday in the worst violence since U.S. combat troops withdrew from urban areas last week, and American forces released five Iranian officials suspected of aiding Shiite insurgents.
The Thug-In-Chief in Tehran will appreciate that.
U.S. officials said they believe the Iranians, detained in northern Iraq in January 2007, had facilitated attacks on American-led forces but handed them over to the Iraqi government at its request because they were obliged to do so under a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement.
The U.S. State Department said it was concerned their release could present a security threat to American troops in Iraq.
No kidding, really?
Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, called the release a "good initiative" that could encourage dialogue between Washington and Tehran, which are longtime foes.
"We perceive that the Americans are weak and granting us concession after concession. Time to hit the negotiating table!"
The Iranian Embassy said it expected to receive the Iranians, described by their government as diplomats. Washington believes they are associated with the Quds Force, part of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, and that they trained Iraqi militants.
The carnage within Iraqi borders Thursday was a sign that insurgents remain intent on destabilizing Iraq as the United States shifts its focus to the war in Afghanistan. Attacks are down sharply from past years of war and militants have been driven from many strongholds, but they routinely inflict casualties in Baghdad and northern Iraq, a cauldron of ethnic and sectarian tension.
The most lethal attack Thursday was in the northern city of Tal Afar, where women sat in the street amid torn and bloodied bodies in the aftermath of suicide bombings, wailing and beating their chests in grief. Several men crouched and wept into their hands. Others rushed the wounded to ambulances; some used a bed sheet as a makeshift stretcher.
In a statement on his Web site, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani condemned the attacks and said the "forces of evil and terrorism" were trying in vain to demoralize Iraqi security forces and the civilian population....