One Day In Iraq

Awful news from Iraq today, where three bombs at a Shiite-dominated Baghdad University indicates that sectarian violence continues unabated.  What does all this mean for the Bush-McCain escalation plan:

As one of the most deadly attacks on Shiites since the summer, it suggested that Sunni insurgents remain unfazed, even brash, in the face of the American military’s newest plan to secure the capital...

...In all, at least 108 people were killed in the capital, an Interior Ministry official said, and 25 more were found dead, many showing signs of torture.

American officials have emphasized that such violence justifies the imminent addition of 20,000 troops to make an immediate push to pacify the country.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal Al-Maliki, by contrast, issued a statement after the bombings blaming supporters of Iraq’s “buried regime” for the violence, stressing again that Sunnis lay at the heart of the country’s problems. He has repeatedly rejected American efforts to crack down on Shiite militias that attack Sunnis, and has demanded control of the effort to bring peace to the country.

His support for the American plan to add troops and stamp out violence from both sects has been tepid at best. On Tuesday, his office released a statement emphasizing that Iraq would continue to build up its armed forces “to prepare for the withdrawal of the multinational forces from the cities or the withdrawal of 50,000 American soldiers from Iraq.”

And support from Sunni allies in the region is equally muted:

“We agree fully with the goals set by the new strategy, which in our view are the goals that — if implemented — would solve the problems that face Iraq,” said Prince Saud al-Faisal, the foreign minister...

...Although Prince Saud’s endorsement of Mr. Bush’s new Iraq plan was lukewarm at best, the prince declined to be drawn into a discussion of potential Saudi actions in the event that Iraq slides into full-blown sectarian civil war.

At home, Senator Hillary Clinton announced her intention to introduce a bill capping US troop levels in Iraq at the 1/1/07 level of 140,000.

And Senators Joe Biden (D-DE), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced a non-binding resolution today that strongly opposes the Bush-McCain escalation.  It will be important to watch the levels of bipartisan support it receives.  The full text is here, you can read the press release, and I'll post video of the presser as soon as it's up.  In the meantime, enjoy Rep. David Wu's explanation for the White House's foreign policy.

Update 1/18/07 at 10:30am:

Watch Senator Clinton's explanation of her resolution: