The Iraqi Debate

Once again the old debate on whether the invasion and then occupation of Iraq in 2003 was worth the cost…..plus the reason for the invasion in the first place…..

The debate returns because of a report that has been published……

As Iraqis mark 16 years since the US invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq on 20 March, the US Army has recently made public a long-awaited Iraq war study.

The study, though ready for release in 2016, had been delayed due to concerns over airing “dirty laundry” about decisions made by some of its leaders during the conflict.

The 1,300-page, two-volume history, which includes hundreds of declassified documents, highlights both the mistakes and successes of the US involvement in Iraq, from the 2003 invasion to the rise of the Islamic State (IS). It is a detailed testimony of the impact of the Iraq war on that nation and the entire Middle East. 

As someone with Iraqi origins, reading the entire two-volume history was an emotional journey – a painful testimony to the vicissitudes that have ravaged Iraq since 2003. Reading it as a historian, on the other hand, was gratifying, as it vindicates the value of the discipline of history.

 
Why did the US invade?  Oil, WMDs or democracy?
 

Sixteen years after the United States invaded Iraq and left a trail of destruction and chaos in the country and the region, one aspect of the war remains criminally underexamined: why was it fought in the first place? What did the Bush administration hope to get out of the war?

The official, and widely-accepted, story remains that Washington was motivated by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programme. His nuclear capabilities, especially, were deemed sufficiently alarming to incite the war. As then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “We do not want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

Despite Saddam not having an active WMD programme, this explanation has found support among some International Relations scholars, who say that while the Bush administration was wrong about Saddam’s WMD capabilities, it was sincerely wrong. Intelligence is a complicated, murky enterprise, the argument goes, and given the foreboding shadow of the 9/11 attacks, the US government reasonably, if tragically, misread the evidence on the dangers Saddam posed.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/03/20/why-did-bush-go-war-iraq-answer-more-sinister-you-think

Of course we can always find someone who will justify the invasion and I will post them as I find them…..

Today is the 16th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Twitter is alive with condemnations of the conflict — countered by precious few defenses. Yet I believed the Iraq War was just and proper in 2003, and I still believe that today. When Donald Trump condemned the war during the 2015 primary campaign and claimed that if Saddam was still in power we “wouldn’t have the problems you have right now,“ I believed he was dead wrong. As I argued then, from the moment Hussein took power until he was deposed in 2003, there were few greater instruments of instability in the world than Saddam Hussein.

Before he was allegedly “contained” by constant, substantial American military deployments, he invaded his neighbors, gassed his people, harbored and supported terrorists, and was responsible for not one but two of the largest conventional military conflicts since World War II — the horrific Iran–Iraq war and Operation Desert Storm. Even after American containment efforts attempted to lock into place and limit his malign reach, he was a prime supporter of a deadly Palestinian suicide-bombing campaign that caused proportionately more Israeli civilian casualties than American civilians lost on 9/11, he tried to assassinate an American president — George H. W. Bush — and he routinely fired on American pilots enforcing lawful no-fly zones. He violated the Gulf War cease-fire accords, interfered with weapons inspections, and hid away chemical weapons by the thousands. No, his WMD program wasn’t nearly as extensive as we thought, but it is fiction to believe his weapons were entirely gone. Americans were injured by Saddam’s chemicals during the war.

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/iraq-war-just-cause-saddam-hussein-threat-stability/

I am watching and listening to the talking heads on the Tube….most are asking how did we get this so wrong?  A silly question!

These are the people that went before the nation and sold the public on a lie and Americans die.  They want to appear as if their hands are clean when in reality theirs are drenched in blood!

AS we recognize the 16th anniversary of the invasion we are still having the same excuses for the invasion…..none can be justified in my mind….but keep trying maybe they will hit on something that will resonate with me.

Peace Out!

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Will ISIS Rest In Peace?

Just yesterday our beloved Supreme Leader issued a proclamation that ISIS will be gone in 24 hours……

ISIS is down to its last scrap of territory and it will be “gone by tonight,” President Trump declared Wednesday, showing reporters at the White House two maps of Syria and Iraq. “I brought this out for you—this is a map of everything in the red, this was on election night, in 2016, everything red is ISIS,” he said, pointing to a map with large areas in red. Pointing to a second map, he said: “When I took it over it was a mess, now on the bottom it’s the exact same. There is no red,” he said, ABC reports. “In fact there is a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight.” At a tank factory in Ohio later in the day, Trump brought the maps out again, saying the “caliphate is gone as of tonight,” the AP reports.

Trump has announced the imminent defeat of ISIS before, but the battle for the tiny enclave of Baghouz has dragged on for weeks longer than expected. Authorities say the offensive was slowed down when an unexpectedly large number of civilians fled the village—up to 30,000, most of them believed to be the families of militants. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have now taken control of the village, though some fighters are still believed to be holed up with women and children in a sliver of land by a river. With that area still controlled by ISIS, “it would be weird to expect an announcement in the next day,” an SDF official tells the New York Times.

Since most Americans have the info retention of a goldfish maybe I should refresh some memories……

 

ISIL began as an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which in 2006 became known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). The movement, led by key al-Qaeda figures, played a major role in driving the sectarian conflict that followed the US invasion in 2003.

ISI carried out deadly attacks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, during this period, targeting Western-allied tribal leaders and US army posts before eventually being pushed out.

Undeterred, it soon pitched up in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which it then used as a hub to continue its attacks.

In 2010, the group’s current leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named ISI chief. Two years later, he mandated ISI affiliates to set up an offshoot in Syria – a country that had been forced to contend with its own civil war.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/anatomy-caliphate-rise-fall-isil-190320140536453.html

There has been lots written here in the West about Islamic Extremism….but just what does that entail?


The Islamist worldview is in direct opposition to contemporary Western ideas about government, society, and the role of religion in everyday life.  Despite this opposition, or possibly because of it, the Islamist movement is gaining popularity around the globe.  The apparent failure of Western ideologies, unequal distribution of wealth for natural resources exacerbated by globalization, and on-going conflict between Israelis and Palestinians have contributed to Muslim masses to seeking solutions from more traditionally-minded leaders who promise a return to Islamic Golden Ages via rejection of secularism in favor of Islamic fundamentalist ideologies.  This, however, sets many on a path of conflict with the West.  Examples of radical Islamist organizations abound: Al Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, ISIS, and Hezbollah.  Such organizations fill Western minds, as well as Middle Eastern governments, with great concern if not outright fear, but what exactly is an Islamist worldview?  Does it inherently include violence?  What are its origins and targets of critique?  How has it evolved in the twentieth century and why do its tenants appeal to so many in the Muslim world today?  This article will briefly look at each of these questions in order to provide a perspective on contemporary Islamism and facilitate a better understanding of the phenomenon as a whole, thus providing some insight into the recent wave of unrest across the Middle East.  Ultimately, Islamism is a unique and diverse collection of ideologies and doctrines that range from the progressive to the radical.  It is my assessment that one must not make the mistake of lumping all Islamist ideologies, movements, and organizations into a singularly narrow, one size fits all category, nor should one automatically consider Islamism a threat in the Muslim world or beyond.  Rather, Islamism is simply another ideological option that must be weighed in terms of its effectiveness and appeal, while recognizing that there is a potential for extremism similar to that manifested in other secular and sacred movements.  Because of this, it is imperative for Western nations to open lines of communication with leaders of the protest groups and insurgents in such places as Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain in order to develop an understanding of their motivations, ideologies, and their goals for the Middle East.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/overview-islamic-fundamentalism-primer-understanding-extremist-islam

Now that I have filled in as many blanks as I could the question remains…..Is The Islamic State defeated?


President Trump has insisted in recent months that the United States has defeated the Islamic State. “We just took over 100 percent caliphate,” he told reporters on Feb. 28. “That means the area of the land. We have 100 percent.” He has made similar claims for months, tweeting in December, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria.” Others, including senior government officials, have disagreed with this characterization. In January, former presidential special envoy for the Counter-ISIS Coalition Brett McGurk said that “ISIS is not defeated” and that the administration’s new policy of reducing U.S. troop presence in Syria would give the group “new life.” Citing the terrorist attacks committed in the Islamic State’s name, most analysts argue that the group has not been entirely eliminated and cannot be considered defeated.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/islamic-state-defeated

It, ISIS, will rear its ugly head again…….and there is thoughts on that as well…….http://iswresearch.blogspot.com/2018/10/isiss-second-resurgence.html

Pompeo World Tour

The US SecState is on a tour of the Middle East (not really the world tour) to spread the Neocon anti-Iran rhetoric….

The Neocons were silenced for awhile by the Early Trump admin but he has relieved himself of all the responsible people and has hired nutcase Neocons like Bolton and Pompeo…..so Trump and his Neocon lackeys are recycling the hate speech from the past……

There are times when I wish that the United States would just drop the charade and declare itself a global empire. As a veteran of two imperial wars, a witness to the dark underside of America’s empire-denial, I’ve grown tired of the equivocation and denials from senior policymakers. The U.S. can’t be an empire, we’re told, because – unlike the Brits and Romans – America doesn’t annex territories outright, and our school children don’t color its colonies in red-white-and-blue on cute educational maps.

But this distinction, at root, is rather superficial. Conquest, colonization, and annexation are so 19th century – Washington has moved beyond the overt and engages in the (not-so) subtle modern form of imperialism. America’s empire over the last two decades – under Democrats and Republicans – has used a range of tools: economic, military, political, to topple regimes, instigate coups, and starve “enemy” civilians. Heck, it didn’t even start with 9/11 – bullying foreigners and overturning uncooperative regimes is as American as apple pie.

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2019/03/18/empire-of-absurdity-recycled-neocons-recycled-enemies/

They say there is a “new” Neocon…..the Dems….but they have always been in the Neocon sphere when it comes to starting wars (at least to me)……

When Bill Clinton was in power, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol organized an ad hoc think-tank/advocacy group known as the Project for a New American Century, which ceaselessly agitated for war with Iraq and a policy of “regime change” throughout the Middle East. In coordination with like-minded folks over at the American Enterprise Institute, publications such as the Weekly Standard and National Review, plus influential columnists such as Charles Krauthammer and Max Boot, the neocons led the charge as we careened into the Iraqi quagmire. It took them a good decade, but in the end they succeeded: both major political parties are now committed to their program of endless military intervention in the Middle East, with the only differences being tactical.

But I’m getting ahead of myself: In order to bamboozle the American public into believing that this was a defensive and justifiable war, the neocons and their allies came up with various arguments – Iraq’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction,” his purported plans to attack his neighbors, and his supposed ability to threaten the continental U.S. – but their central if only implied talking point was that Saddam was in some way instrumental in bringing about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. For the most part, this was not stated explicitly; the idea was to link Saddam and Osama by referring to them in the same sentence. Yet the implication was clear, and the administration and its media amen corner returned to this theme again and again, arguing that we had to strike Iraq in answer to al-Qaeda’s murderous sneak attack.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2019/01/27/the-new-neocons-2/

Time for a candidate to step up and stop rubber stamping our many and lengthy foreign adventures.

Waiting For ISIS To Die

The barbarous group known as ISIS is cornered in a small village in Eastern Syria…..they are being pounded by the Kurds and the SDF and yet they hang on to life and fight back viciously….

As we sit and wait for ISIS to die there are a few thoughts that we need to consider…..

The U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched an operation March 1 backed by U.S. artillery and air support in an effort to defeat the remnant core fighters of the Islamic State in the last sliver of the militant group’s self-declared “caliphate,” the term it used to describe the territory in Syria and Iraq it conquered and governed under its austere interpretation of Sharia. With the destruction of the so-called caliphate imminent, many have begun to wonder if the jihadist group could ever recover. But this is the wrong question. Instead of asking whether the Islamic State core can recover as many — including Stratfor — did when the group was on the ropes in Iraq in 2010, the proper question is whether the Islamic State core will be permitted to recover again. The difference between these two questions is subtle, but vitally important

 
The West has fought this extremism but is it possible we may have gotten somethings wrong?
 
The ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis has become fashionably outdated but still shapes the way we understand the connection between Islam, terrorism and the Middle East.  In 2019, it is time to ‘forget the Middle East’ and change the way we perceive Islam.  Vera Mironova, in ‘The New Face of Terrorism’, claims that the way Westerners think about ‘Islamist terrorism has grown dangerously outdated’, and the terrorist attacks at Western targets have been increasingly coming from militants of the former Soviet Union, not the Middle East. Following on these insights, I argue that it is time not only to ‘forget the Middle East’ but also stop essentializing Islam in the Middle East.
 
 
They, ISIS, may be suffering staggering losses in Syria and could possibly be defeated (not destroyed) but they will raise their ugly head once again in Southeast Asia….
 

Across the islands of the southern Philippines, the black flag of the Islamic State is flying over what the group considers its East Asia province.

Men in the jungle, two oceans away from the arid birthplace of the Islamic State, are taking the terrorist brand name into new battles.

As worshipers gathered in January for Sunday Mass at a Catholic cathedral, two bombs ripped through the church compound, killing 23 people. The Islamic State claimed a pair of its suicide bombers had caused the carnage.

The lesson we should learn is one that is being overlooked with all the glad handing for victory…..we cannot defeat an idea and ISIS will rise again to continue their push for extremism…..

2020 And Foreign Policy

This is not a prediction but rather a question to the Dems that will be running for the nomination.

Will the candidates run on any foreign policy chops?

After two years in office, President Trump finally made his first trip to visit U.S. forces in the field in Iraq. Having announced the withdrawal of American troops from Syria and a drawdown in Afghanistan, going to Iraq—where he is likely to maintain a U.S. military presence—probably made political sense. But, by visiting troops, what he plans to bring home is also a politically astute move, a fact that likely will not be lost on Trump’s challengers in 2020.

Indeed, the future of the United States’ role in Afghanistan—now America’s longest war at 17 years and still counting—will likely be a major issue in the 2020 Presidential campaign. By now dragging on 10 years longer than our second longest war in Vietnam, it appears to have come to a similarly inconclusive stalemate: Our adversaries (the Taliban) cannot win while American troops are on the ground, but our efforts to Afghanize the war and rebuild the Afghan government and nation have also come to naught.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/01/10/in_2020_will_candidates_campaign_on_foreign_policy_114094.html

So far the only candidate that has shown any interest in foreign policy is Tulsi Gabbard…..

What Of The Middle East?

There is all kinds of news breaking almost daily….from the antics of some moronic actor to the sexual exploits of singer to rapes and misadventures to the president’s legal problems and in all that the Middle East continues to boil and ignite….

Since the MSM will not go there then I shall…..

What are the options for the US in the region….(this from a site Small Wars)…….

Before he resigned, former Defense Secretary James Mattis was reportedly working in conjunction with the Department of State to revise US policy in the Middle East.  Whatever vision Mr. Mattis had will have likely died when he left office – but he had the right idea in undertaking a review. Our strategic situation in the region has changed since the turn of the century, but our basic strategy has remained largely intact. That is not necessarily a good or bad thing, but it does suggest that a review of political-military strategy in the region is prudent.

Militarily, we maintain a series of major bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Turkey, and Iraq with smaller support presence in Jordan, Qatar, and Israel. We have also maritime prepositioned equipment in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and maintain a forward deployed naval presence in the region headquartered in Bahrain. Diplomatically and militarily our strategic agreements are bilateral, as they are in the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. There is no NATO-like alliance in the region.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/americas-strategic-options-middle-east

Seriously! The US has been meddling in the affairs of the Middle East for 40 years (some say longer than that)…..the question then is…..have we learned anything in all that time?

With the surprise announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria, and to a lesser extent, the announcement of a drawdown of 7,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, many interventionist critics who had tolerated Donald Trump’s ineffectual strikes against Assad and peace talks with the Taliban seem to have reached a boiling point. But even after Trump defended his position and said Iran “can do what they want there” in Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have undercut the clarity of what seemed like a presidential decree mandating a withdrawal.

The Trump administration’s policy in Syria seems to have reverted back to its normal state of political and strategic ambiguity. While the U.S. has begun to remove some assets from northern Syria, Bolton told Israeli officials that a full withdrawal will once again be conditions-based and Pompeo implied that such a withdrawal will be contingent on keeping a “coalition against Iran together.” The rapturous flood of criticism against the original decision from the media, the Washington commentariat, and the U.S. foreign policy establishment, followed by the resignation-in-protest of Defense Secretary James Mattis, seems to have softened Trump’s determination to withdraw.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/what-should-we-learn-40-years-us-intervention-middle-east-41542

From where I sit the answer to the question is ….not a damn thing! We keep going in and making things worse than before we showed up…..and for that reason Americans are starting to tire of all US adventurism…….

As is typical with many secretaries of state who deliver speeches in foreign lands, Pompeo’s remarks were full of the kinds of anecdotes and flowery rhetoric only a quintessential American exceptionalist could love. He talked about the United States as “ a force for good ” in the region, one willing and ready to stand by its partners during a time of crisis. 

Rosy words of American do-gooderism, however, don’t tell us much of anything about whether the United States has learned the hard lessons that it needs to learn in order to avoid another decade of being entrapped in the Middle Eastern quicksand. In fact, from Pompeo’s words, Washington is not only failing to learn and adapt, but is dangerously close to repeating the same poor judgment. The American foreign-policy apparatus, articulated throughout Secretary Pompeo’s trip to the region, has completely misdiagnosed why the Middle East is such a violent, hyper-competitive, and dysfunctional place

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/americans-are-tired-middle-east-mayhem-41837

Nothing the government says bears out in reality……our interference only makes matters worse….time for the US to stay out of the region and let the people decide what is best for them not what is best for the US.

The US has few options anymore in the Middle East…….

The Trump Administration has expressed the intention to create a Sunni Arab alliance aimed at countering Iranian influence in the Middle East through the establishment of MESA, often referred to as the “Arab North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)[1].” Prospective MESA member states are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Jordan, and Egypt. Such an alliance would constitute a unified bloc of U.S.-backed nations and theoretically indicate to the Iranian government that a new, highly coordinated effort to counter Iranian influence in the region is taking shape.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/01/08/options_for_the_us_middle_east_strategic_alliance_114084.html

Time to come home and leave the region to its own devices.

Waiting For The Middle East Peace Plan

Our Dear Supreme Leader has put his son-in-law in charge of finding a peace deal for the Middle East…….and what about this dude makes him qualified for such a task? Well he is Jewish……(thinking….thinking)……that is about it.

After two years we are still waiting for this miraculous thing that has eluded all qualified people….a peace plan for the Middle East…..there have been many plans and none have come to fruition….why? Israel is a stumbling block….NO it is not the unarmed protesters that Israel kills daily…it is the attitude of the Israeli government and their search to erase the Palestinian bloodline from the region.

So what would a devout Jew actually bring to the table that would assure peace and civil rights for all concerned?

That my friends is a good goddamn question!

There are as many situations in the Middle East as there are grains of sand…..what is driving the situation in the Middle East?

Politics in the Middle East have long been as fluid as the sands which make up much of the region. From the crusades to colonialism to the present, many political players have vied for power and found at best only temporary success. Since the discovery of oil in the region in the early twentieth century, politics have become mixed with business; however, other considerations have more recently come into play such as extremism, revolution, and non-state actors. Couple these with the long-standing animosity between major regional powers such as Iran, Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia and the Middle East seems like a political powder keg waiting to explode. In addition, there has been almost constant intervention by foreign countries, most notably the United States. Together all these events have turned the politics of the region into one of the world’s most difficult jigsaw puzzles. Learn more about the most pivotal issues currently embroiling the region–although this is by no means an exhaustive list–as well as their root causes and possible solutions.

https://lawstreetmedia.com/issues/world/middle-east-politics-important-issues-region/

The Palestine-Israel situation is the most pressing for the novice “mover and shaker”….and some minor rumblings have leaked out……

Israel’s Channel 13 has leaked what it says are the contents of President Trump’s “deal of the century” peace plan for Israel and Palestine. The report would grant the Palestinians a state that encompasses 85%-90% of the occupied West Bank.

The plan would be for Israel to keep its settlements, though no longer expanding isolated outposts. Moreover, the plan would mandate Israel evacuate any outposts which are illegal under Israeli law. That’s a big deal, because Israel has recently changed its own laws to facilitate retroactively legalizing a lot of these outposts.

The Palestinian capital would be in East Jerusalem, and the Palestinians would be given “most of the Arab neighborhoods” there. Some areas would also be jointly run by Jordan and Palestine.

The White House is denying that this report is true at all, saying all speculation on the peace plan is inaccurate, and declining to offer any specifics. The US has long promised to make such a plan publicly available, but has yet to do so.

(antiwar.com)

FOX News (the Trump information network) on 10 February said that the Trump Peace Plan was finished and would be rolled out……

The Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan is finished and President Trump has been briefed on its contents, two senior administration officials told Fox News on Sunday.

The final draft of the administration’s “Deal of the Century” is 175 to 200 pages long — and fewer than five people have access to the complete document, sources told Fox News.

“The plan is done… [the president] is happy with the parameters of the deal,” a senior administration official said.

Officials said that the plan is unlikely to be released before upcoming Israeli elections on April 9. “We are not going to do anything that threatens Israel’s security,” a senior administration official said

(FOX News)

Wait! WE are postponing the release of the plan because of a foreign election, right? What part of that is not showing allegiance to a foreign power? And a Congresswoman gets in trouble for saying the truth…..you have lost all hope for a free democracy now….you morons!

There is an option being discussed to the two state solution….

There has been more talk recently from the Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians about the option of a confederation as an alternative to the two-state solution in light of the political impasse reached between Ramallah and Tel Aviv. So what are the true positions of the three governments on this option, the chances of this being achieved on the ground, the official reactions of these countries, and public opinion on the matter?

Such a confederation aims to establish one state for two peoples after the Palestinian state is established on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. This single state will have two capitals — Jerusalem for the Palestinians and Amman for the Jordanians — as well as a central judicial authority and joint armed forces led by the Jordanian monarch. It will also include a central council of ministers and parliament elected by both nations, while both will be allowed to move freely between the two areas.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190218-a-palestine-jordan-confederation-is-becoming-a-very-real-possibility/

Something to consider because the Israelis have NEVER been keen on the two state solution…..