Bush pourrait-il avoir raison ?

Quoiqu’en pensent les critiques américains et étrangers, la « vague » prévue par le président américain en Irak est plus qu’un afflux de troupes en renfort : c’est une nouvelle stratégie à hauts risques. À vrai dire, elle est insuffisante et arrive bien trop tard pour stabiliser l’Irak. Mais elle présente quelques bénéfices à plus long terme pour les Etats-Unis dans la guerre d’influence régionale qu’ils se livrent avec l’Iran.

La décision au cœur de la nouvelle stratégie de Bush est de combattre directement la plus puissante milice irakienne, l’armée du Mahdi. Contrôlée par le chef religieux Moqtada al-Sadr, cette milice est devenue le groupe armé le plus important et le mieux équipé d’Irak, et poursuit des objectifs politiques et sécuritaires qui lui sont propres.

Des affrontements entre l’armée du Mahdi et les troupes américaines ont déjà eu lieu, en particulier lors des batailles sanglantes pour le contrôle de Najaf et de Kerbala, dans le sud de l’Irak, en 2004. Ces affrontements se sont terminés par une sorte de trêve, malgré la poursuite d’escarmouches, parce que les troupes américaines étaient réticentes à l’idée de livrer combat aux milices chiites et aux insurgés sunnites en même temps.

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