Operation Valiant Resolve:

In addition to the fighting around Sadr City, Operation Valiant Resolve has begun in and around Fallujah. US Marines are taking mortar fire as they begin the evacuation of the city. Scroll down for some words on the situation for Spanish and Salvadoran troops, who are also engaged, although--unlike the American forces--not by choice.

The American engagements are necessary for the stability of the successor government, which takes power at the end of June. If al-Sadr is the murderer he's rumored to be, having him at the head of a private army on the outskirts of Baghdad is unhealthy. That there should be a militia in Sadr city is reasonable--it's a Shi'ite area in a heavily Sunni region of Iraq. As in the Edict of Nantes, the possession of arms guards them from similar oppression to that which they suffered during Saddam's regime. That a murderous gamesman should lead that militia, however, is intolerable.

Fallujah is an obvious weak point, and the actions of First Marine will be the key in handing over a stable province to the successor government. The Spanish troops, though, are a problem. As the Belmont Club correctly points out, the fact that everyone knows they are pulling out means that they are in danger of being routed. There is no alternative but to reinforce them with forces that are plainly not going to withdraw, and that means Iraqi forces.

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