Hat Bush recht?

Was auch immer seine Kritiker in zu Hause und im Ausland denken mögen: Der von Präsident Bush geplante „Surge“ im Irak ist mehr als eine Truppenerhöhung; er ist eine neue und hochriskante regionale Strategie. Sicher, um den Irak zu stabilisieren, wird Bushs Plan eindeutig nicht ausreichen, und er kommt viel zu spät. Aber im Kampf mit dem Iran um Einfluss in der Region bietet er den Vereinigten Staaten einige langfristige Vorteile.

Im Mittelpunkt der neuen Strategie steht Bushs Entscheidung, den direkten Kampf mit der mächtigsten Miliz im Irak zu suchen: der Mahdi-Armee. Dem Namen nach unter der Kontrolle des militanten Klerikers Moqtada al-Sadr stehend, hat sich diese Gruppierung zur größten und am besten bewaffneten Kampftruppe des Irak entwickelt, die politisch und in Fragen der Sicherheit ihre eigenen Ziele verfolgt.

Die Mahdi-Armee hat sich bereits in der Vergangenheit Gefechte mit den US-Truppen geliefert, insbesondere während der grimmigen Kämpfe um die Herrschaft über die südirakischen Städte Najaf und Kerbela im Jahr 2004. Diese Konfrontationen endeten mit einer Art Waffenstillstand – obwohl es weiterhin Geplänkel gab –, weil die US-Streitkräfte davor zurückscheuten, gleichzeitig die sunnitischen Aufständischen und die schiitischen Milizen zu bekämpfen.

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