John McGrath recently argued persuasively here that the Iraq War deserves to be taken more seriously by environmentalists.
No one bothers to deny it’s an oil war anymore; the time has come to take it seriously as such. It’s important to know what precisely is happening on the ground in Iraq, and to try to get a handle on the labyrinthine politics now at play.
To that end, here are two blunt recent reports.
First, Amy Goodman of the essential Democracy Now radio program has broadcast a startling interview with Nir Rosen of the New America Foundation, who has been been reporting from Baghdad for a while. I implore all of you to listen.
Summary: Bush is irrelevant in Iraq. Sure, a powerful militia answers to him, but no one respects it. Bush’s militia can control a street corner when it masses troops there; as soon as they leave, that control evaporates. The Shia cleric Al-Sadr runs the show. Confronting him would be catastrophic; not doing so might mean a genocide of the Sunnis.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki? He’s irrelevant; he’s got no militia.
In the same show, Goodman also interviews Tom Hayden, who’s been gathering some pretty fascinating information on behind-the-scenes U.S. machinations.
Meanwhile, over on Counterpunch, Patrick Cockburn has been issuing frank reports from the ground in Iraq since the war started. In his latest, he argues that the debacle is nearing its “Saigon moment.”