Yet is seems that the President’s proposed change in strategy is already having an effect on the ground in Iraq. According to an article in the New York Times, both political groups and militias in Sadr city are looking to negotiate with the U.S. because they are, “eager to head off a major American military offensive in the district, home to two million Shiites, as the Americans begin a sweeping new effort to retake the streets of Baghdad.”
While the article goes on to point out certain demands of the Sadr militias and political parties that the U.S. will most likely not accommodate—like the releasing of certain prisoners and the cessation of raids in Sadr City—there are other demands that seem more likely be put into action by the U.S. These include providing jobs for Sadr City residents, bringing in new construction projects, and tripling the number of police stations in area.
Perhaps such measures are what the General Petraeus had in mind when, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, he called the situation in Iraq “dire,” but still noted that the troop increase will potentially pave the way for several courses of action that could bring about a change for the better. CNN.com gives a good summary of his testimony:
“It's not just that there will be additional troops in Baghdad, it's what they will do and how they will do it that is important,’ Petraeus said. ‘Some members of this committee have observed that there is no military solution to the problems in Iraq. They are correct.’ He said success would depend on Iraqi political and economic progress and the increased capacity of the Iraqi military.”