Reporters have had a field day gorging on a draft of the upcoming National Intelligence Estimate, leaked to the press a couple of days ago. Unsurprisingly, the NIE presents a bleak picture of the war in Afghanistan. What’s worse, it offers little in the way of optimism on Iraq, according to McClatchy:
[…] Unresolved ethnic and sectarian tensions in Iraq could unleash a new wave of violence, potentially reversing the major security and political gains achieved over the last year.
The details are familiar to anyone outside the “we’re winning” crowd:
The draft NIE […] warns that the improvements in security and political progress, like the recent passage of a provincial election law, are threatened by lingering disputes between the majority Shiite Arabs, Sunni Arabs, Kurds and other minorities, the U.S. officials said.
Sources of tension identified by the NIE, they said, include a struggle between Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen for control of the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk; and the Shiite-led central government’s unfulfilled vows to hire former Sunni insurgents who joined Awakening groups.
Add to this the fact that mainstream journalists are deserting Iraq, and you’ve got exactly the kind of mess I’ve been warning about: an increasingly complex and violent low-intensity conflict ignored by the Western media.
(Incidentally, one of the early supporters of the U.S. invasion was none other than former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, who yesterday won the Nobel Peace Prize.)