The Americans did it (correction: We still don't know. See Saturday post) Now let's forget that and start beating the drums for "sectarian conflict"
The unit that carried out the Diyala raids was the "emergency response unit" of the "multi-national force", according to the spokesman for the commander of Iraqi ground forces, and that makes it an American-run operation. Which obviously requires the covering fire of verbiage, so that "it was what appears to be a rogue operation" (a US spokesman) and the McClatchy editor still leads the story on this by referring to the unit as an "Iraqi special forces unit".
"It was what appears to be a rogue operation. It's definitely concerning that we have an element that would go do something like that," said Brig. Gen. James Boozer, the deputy commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, which oversee Diyala.If we add this information to the analysis referred to in the prior post (and discount the "rogue operation" ploy) , the state of the question becomes, not whodunnit, but for what reason, on the basis of what strategy? What would be the American interest in taking out of the picture, in a high-risk operation, the local Diyala official who appears to have been the primary official defender of the local Awakenings, namely Hussein al-Zubaydi, the head of provincial-council security committee and chief rival of the Awakenings-enemy Qureyshi?
A spokesman for Gen. Ali Ghaidan, the commander of Iraqi ground forces, told McClatchy that the unit involved was the emergency response unit.
The Multi-National Force-Iraq Web site describes the emergency response unit as a "highly trained 746-man team trained to respond to national-level law enforcement emergencies. Team members undergo a robust eight-week specialized training course specifically developed for the current counter-terrorist fight."
This is where the PTB/PTA-based analysis lets us down, and possibly why the excellent recent Diyala analysis seems to have come to a screeching halt. Because it is one thing to say that the question of the Awakenings is a question of struggles for slices of the pie. But why on earth, in that case, would it be in the Americans' interest to launch a high-risk operation to disadvantage the Awakenings in the way that they have done? Unless they see the Awakenings as something other than a self-interested group (powers that aren't) that will eventually wither away in the struggle with the powers that be in Baghdad--the "withering away" hypothesis being the centerpiece, not only of the "Surge is a success" meme (Republicans), but also of the "we plan to withdraw our troops" meme (Democrats).
The most important point is this: If you overlook the Americans' crucial role in this, they you can go ahead and start beating the drums for the story of "sectarian strife", as we can already see this morning. "Escalating sectarian tensions", "Baquba raids roils Sunni-Shiite relations", and so on. Ideal background, you might say, for a final push for the bilateral security agreement.