Thursday, March 27, 2008

Positive Moment

You get the sense that Bush and Cheney told Maliki that he had to "kill all the bad guys" and so Maliki said, "Sure, I'll go kill all the bad guys." Because, you know, as long as Maliki has enough "will" and "resolve" he should be able to do that.

BAGHDAD — American-trained Iraqi security forces failed for a third straight day to oust Shiite militias from the southern city of Basra on Thursday, even as President Bush hailed the operation as a sign of the growing strength of Iraq’s federal government.

The fighting in Basra with the Mahdi Army, the armed wing of the political movement led by the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, set off violent clashes in cities throughout the country and major demonstrations in Sadr City, the huge Baghdad slum that is Mr. Sadr’s base of power, and other Shiite neighborhoods in the capital.

Although Mr. Bush praised the Iraqi government for leading the fighting, it also appeared that the Iraqi government was pursuing its own agenda, calling the battles a fight against “criminal” elements but seeking to marginalize the Mahdi Army. The Americans share the Iraqi government’s hostility toward what they call rogue elements of the Mahdi Army but will also be faced with the consequences if the battles erupt into more widespread unrest.