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Whose Side are We on this Week Again?

Some months ago, there was talk of what was coined the 80% solution, whereby the US would essentially back the dominant Shiite population in suppressing the Sunni minority which makes up most of the insurgency. Then we learned by way of Sy Hersh that the Bushies' concerns had shifted to counteracting the growing influence of Iran. This new regional strategy involved supporting various Sunni fundamentalist groups. Some of them even had ties to or at least were not antipathy to Al-Qaeda.

Now we are getting the assistance of the Sunni insurgents to help root out Al-Qaeda for us. WaPo reported on this over the weekend and The NY Times followed up on it this morning. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out some of the risks involved in such alliances of convenience.
[C]ritics of the strategy, including some American officers, say it could amount to the Americans’ arming both sides in a future civil war. The United States has spent more than $15 billion in building up Iraq’s army and police force, whose manpower of 350,000 is heavily Shiite. With an American troop drawdown increasingly likely in the next year, and little sign of a political accommodation between Shiite and Sunni politicians in Baghdad, the critics say, there is a risk that any weapons given to Sunni groups will eventually be used against Shiites. There is also the possibility the weapons could be used against the Americans themselves.

Speaking of which. (WaPo again)
A tribal coalition formed to oppose the extremist group al-Qaeda in Iraq, a development that U.S. officials say has reduced violence in Iraq's troubled Anbar province, is beginning to splinter, according to an Anbar tribal leader and a U.S. military official familiar with tribal politics.

Throw into the mix that we are also apparently getting help from Sudan with spying on the insurgency at the same time we are condemning their actions in Darfur and it's gotten to the point that distinguishing friend from foe is enough to make one's head hurt in the attempt. Imagine how soldiers on the ground must feel.

More from Carpetbagger and Maha.

(Filed at State of the Day and Blognonymous)