Even the US National Intelligence Council, the best brains available to Bush, says that the Sunni-Shiite warfare is the cause of most of the violence in Iraq - see below.
It is amazing that, with an awesome array of intelligence resources available to him, President Bush continues to aim at the wrong duck.
A McClatchy article on June 28th noted:
Bush's use of al Qaida in his speech had strong echoes of the strategy the administration had used to whip up public support for the Iraq invasion by accusing the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein of cooperating with bin Laden and implying that he'd played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks. Administration officials have since acknowledged that Saddam had no ties to bin Laden or 9-11.
A similar pattern has developed in Iraq, where the U.S. military has cited al Qaida 33 times in a barrage of news releases in the last seven days, and some news organizations have echoed the drumbeat. Last month, al Qaida was mentioned only nine times in U.S. military news releases.
U.S. intelligence agencies and military commanders say the Sunni-Shiite conflict is the greatest source of violence and insecurity in Iraq.
"Extremists -- most notably the Sunni jihadist group al Qaida in Iraq and Shia oppositionist Jaysh al-Mahdi -- continue to act as very effective accelerators for what has become a self-sustaining struggle between Shia and Sunnis," the National Intelligence Council wrote in the unclassified key judgments of a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq published in January. Jaysh al Mahdi is Arabic for the Mahdi Army militia of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr.
The council comprises the top U.S. intelligence analysts, and a National Intelligence Estimate is the most comprehensive assessment it produces for the president and a small number of his senior aides. It reflects the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.