In response, the administration has gone on a desperate PR blitz to label renewed violence in Iraq as “byproduct of the success of the surge.” “It’s “what critics have wanted to see,” said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, calling it a struggle led by Iraqi security forces.
[Bush] backed the Iraqi Government’s decision to “respond forcefully” to the spiralling violence by “criminal elements” and Shia extremists in Basra. “It was a very positive moment in the development of a sovereign nation that is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law,” the President said.
It’s hard to see what Bush sees as positive. The explosion that burst an oil pipeline in Basra today? Tens of thousands of Shiite protesters in Baghad? A kidnapped “civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security operation?”
In reality, the violence is undoing the very goals of Bush’s surge. Iraqi forces aren’t trying to restore “the law,” as Bush thinks, but are trying to do the opposite — suppress its political enemies before the October elections, historian Reidar Vissar noted. Most ironically, if U.S.-backed efforts “succeed,” Iran’s hand in Iraq will be strengthened. IPS’ Gareth Porter explains:
The Badr Organisation and the ISCI had always been and remained the most pro-Iranian political-military forces in Iraq, having been established, trained and funded by the [Iranian Revolutionary Guard] from Shiite exiles in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war.
Bush’s comments are reminiscent of former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow’s remarks last June, casting skyrocketing violence across Iraq as “things moving towards success…signs of success.”
UPDATE: Bush today: “It also shows the progress the Iraqi security forces have made during the surge.”