If the Bright Idea behind the US surge was, in essence, to Surge 'Till They Merge--meaning, provide the requisite security conditions under which Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis and Kurds and, presumbly, remnant Christians still not ethnically cleansed by the above, would achieve "reconciliation"--we may have hit a wall.
Not in providing the requisite security conditions: That is the successful part of the surge story. The dodgy bit comes from the misbegotten twist of so-called strategic thinking that removed chances of ultimate US success from US hands, entrusting it instead to what we blithely (arrogantly and ignorantly) assumed would be the Iraqi reaction to enhanced security: the "reconciliation" of warring Iraqi parties. The surge succeeded, improving overall security conditions in Iraq, but the Iraqis have failed to fulfill the rest of the plan--at least, the rest of the US plan.
Of course, the Iraqi powers that be--the ruling Shiite majority--may have had a different plan in mind all along. Now that the surge has succeeded in quelling the most chaotic cycles of violence, the Shiite-dominated government is hardly pursuing anything like "reconciliation." On the contrary, as we learned this week, Shiite authorities are arresting hundreds of Sunnis from the so-called Awakening movement, who in 2007 famously turned on al Qaeda-type insurgents, much to the US command's relief, which placed them on the US payroll at $25 milllion per month to continue fighting on the right, i.e. US/Iraqi government, side. (And no, the Iraqi government doesn't want to start picking up the tab.)
Question: Has Surge 'Till They Merge turned into Surge 'Till the Shiites Are Strong Enough to Crush the Sunnis?