Iraq–17 Years Of Chaos

My writings on foreign policy have suffered while I try to help my readers come to grips with this virus thing……but I still read my international news daily……

Our second longest war started with chaos and has done little to change that diagnosis.

We went to Iraq to help the people achieve democracy……that is the government’s story and they are sticking to it.

Actually that is one of the biggest lies….but Hell what’s new?

It all started with a take down of Saddam….then it fell into chaos that lead to the creation and the fight with ISIS….then they were all but defeated and the people started protesting the treatment of the government……and 17 years later Americans are still dying.

Let’s look at those 17 long years…..

Last week saw the seventeenth anniversary of the ill-fated US-led invasion of Iraq that led to the reported deaths of millions of Iraqis, the destruction of much of the country’s infrastructure, and the establishment of an unstable democratic system.

Iraq’s political system has been fraught with instability and has incubated almost two decades of corruption leading to several protest movements and the rise of violent Islamist militant groups, including many Shia militias who operate as part of the state security apparatus.

The Islamic State group was also born out of the sectarianism and violence that has been emblematic of the Iraqi political process since 2003, which has seen a succession of weak governments and a legislature divided along sectarian quotas.

Today’s protest movement – ongoing since October of last year – has aimed to disrupt the cycle of corrupt political appointments, nepotism, and political actors who are beholden to both Iran and the United States.

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2020/3/23/iraq-still-in-chaos-17-years-after-us-invasion

But what has been learned from this adventure?

One man’s look that originally supported the war…..

“Man’s real treasure is the treasure of his mistakes, piled up stone by stone through thousands of years,” according to Jose Ortega y Gasset, the great Spanish philosopher of the early twentieth century. For to remember the past in all its searing complexity is what separates us from the apes, Ortega goes on. By that logic, the Iraq War, which started seventeen years ago this month, should constitute among the crown jewels of knowledge and insight in American foreign policy circles.

What lessons do I take away from my support of the Iraq War?

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/9-lessons-iraq-war-134567

But did the government learn from these things? 

My thought is NO!

We learned nothing from Vietnam and I feel we have learned nothing from our Iraq misadventure.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Politics Of Covid-19

We here in the US have been scrambling to decide just who is telling the truth about this virus……the president or the health professionals.

I know who I believe but that is just me.

I read a piece written by a South Korean professor that sheds some light on the situation as it pertains to politics.

The author is a political science and international relations professor at Seoul National University.

I am teaching my political theory course remotely this semester due to the new coronavirus outbreak. For the midterms, I told my students to submit essays discussing “the politics of Covid-19.” Using the basic concepts of politics they will learn in the first half of the course, my students will analyze the political situation surrounding the Covid-19 crisis. For reference, I uploaded about 50 news articles — including editorials and columns I found in the local and foreign press — onto our online bulletin board. The news clips have provocative headlines such as “corona-politics,” “self-serving politics,” “the political offensive of a contagion” and “the government’s self-praise.”


In real life, politics is not so negative. From a realist point of view, politics is about clashing with one another over self interest and competing to take and maintain their power. The American political scientist Harold Lasswell famously defined politics as a science of “who gets what, when and how.” When we look up the word “political” in the dictionary, we come across such words like “crafty” and “scheming.” That is what we mean when we say someone is “too political.”

Covid-19 has definitely laid bare the dark side of politics. With less than a month to go until the April 15 parliamentary elections, we see political groups bashing and fighting against one another to pursue their factional interests and gain power. Attention from the media tends to amplify such political strife, and they demonstrated conflicting views on whether the Korean government is doing a good job in tackling the virus. In that sense, media outlets are also engaged in the politics of the coronavirus. The Journalists Association of Korea even published an official column criticizing a conservative newspaper’s “political and biased” news coverage.

http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx

Fascinating look……but all that aside the South Korean model of dealing with this virus should be held up as the only way to deal with it.

Have not hears this before now?

Then read and then tell me who has a better model….that idiot in the White House or South Korea?

“Test, test, test,” World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus implored countries fighting the novel coronavirus at a press conference on March 16. “You cannot fight this fire blindfolded.” The UK seems finally to have heeded this advice, announcing plans on March 19 to up test for Covid-19 to 25,000 every day.

As of March 20, the UK had only tested 64,621 people – more than any other European country apart from Italy but still far below the level needed to truly track the extent of the outbreak. But if the UK needs a role model for implementing these tests, it could do worse than look towards South Korea.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would quickly announce that 9,300 people attended the two Shincheonji church services alongside patient 31 and 1,200 were now complaining of flu-like symptoms. Hundreds would test positive in the coming days. During a 10-day period in late February, cases leapt above 5,000.

Yet South Korea, where the outbreak total stands, as of March 19, at 8,652 cases and 94 deaths, now has a case rate in relative decline. Just 93 new cases were reported on March 18 (though numbers rose again on 19, to 152.) During the worst periods of February, Korean officials were recording more than 900 a day.

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/south-korea-coronavirus

Guess what?  Testing is the key….now someone needs to whisper that in the ear of Donald the Orange.

Learn Stuff!

Be Well!  Be Safe!

I Read, I Write, you know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Nukes Make A Comeback

I realize that virus news is on everybody’s minds and lips these days….but sadly there are other situations and issues that this country must face as well.

Not long ago our president decided not to honor our commitments that we agree to in the INF treaty of the 1980s……so apparently the nuclear arms race is once again heating up.

But to give my reader a little background…..plus some of the history behind the Treaty……..https://lobotero.com/2018/10/30/the-inf-in-the-rear-view-mirror/

https://lobotero.com/2020/03/16/what-happened-to-the-arms-race/

Now the Pentagon has taken up the baton for bigger and better nukes…..

The Trump administration’s proposal to begin work on a new nuclear warhead program to modernize the nation’s aging stockpile is expected to be hotly contested.

For fiscal year 2021, President Donald Trump requested $28.9 billion for the Pentagon’s nuclear enterprise. He requested an additional $15.6 billion for efforts by the National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages the stockpile, including $53 million for NNSA work on a new warhead, dubbed the W93.

The Pentagon’s budget blueprint includes $480 million for work on the weapon system over the future years defense program, with $32 million slated for 2021.

https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2020/3/17/political-battle-brewing-over-new-nuclear-program

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

A Virus WTF!

After watching our fearless leader drag his feet on a response to the virus and his false and misleading statements he has gone so far to offer to help North Korea fight the virus.

Yes you heard that right….Trump offers to help Kim with the virus.

President Trump wrote a letter to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, praising him for his efforts to protect the country from coronavirus, and offering US help in combating any outbreak. North Korea confirmed the letter but didn’t say what they’d done beyond that.

Administration officials also confirmed the letter, saying it was in keeping with Trump’s effort to engage world leaders on the coronavirus and offer US assistance if they needed it. Such offers did not, it seems, apply to Iran, where US officials declared that coronavirus “wouldn’t save them.”

How seriously the coronavirus has hit North Korea is the subject of some speculation, though the nation has denied any huge outbreaks. If they did have an outbreak, however, it’s not clear they’d have access to the equipment to treat many patients.

North Korea’s main interest would be getting some sanctions eased, and that might be done in the name of humanitarian aid for the virus.

(antiwar.com)

Do not get me wrong I am NOT against helping others wit thus thing….but not before you have done everything possible for the people that put him in office.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

News From Iraq

Sadly we have people still fighting and dying in Iraq and the MSM has little time to cover the situation which is getting worse by the month.

First thought is that there is a NEW group of “bad guys”…..

New Iraqi Group Claims Responsibility For Camp Taji Attack

A new Iraqi military group has claimed responsibility for the March 11 Camp Taji attack, which claimed the lives of three U.S.-led coalition service members.

In an official statement released on March 15, the group, dubbed Ausbat al-Thaayirin (AT), confirmed its responsibility for the recent rocket attacks on Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops.

“In response to the request of our Mujahedeen brothers … we declare that the blessed operations [the shelling of occupation bases] are our operations, and we fear no one by announcing this,” the statement reads.

A few days ago, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) released a statement calling on the perpetrators of the recent attacks to reveal themselves, promising to support them. KH was held responsible for these attacks by the U.S.

AT appears to be a pro-Iranian Shiite group. The group vowed to respond to the assassination of Popular Mobilization Unties (PMU) Deputy-Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Maj. Gen. Qassam Soleimani, Commander of Iran’s Quds Force.

“The assassination of our martyr leaders is heat in our chests, a motive for our conscious that will not trail off until the withdrawal of the occupying forces in a humiliating and degrading manner,” the group said.

The U.S. carried out a series of strikes on Iraq on March 13 in response to Camp Taji attack. The strikes hit positions of the PMU, the Iraqi military and police.

AT’s statement is yet to be verified. More information about the mysterious group will likely appear in the coming months.

(South Front)

More Allied airstrikes…..and more confusion…..

Iraqi President Barham Salih issued a statement Friday angrily condemning a flurry of US airstrikes, saying they amounted to repeated violations of Iraqi sovereignty and threatened to provoke dangerous consequences.

Salih added that the US attacks amount to a “dangerous and deliberate weakening of its abilities especially at a time when Iraq faces unprecedented challenges.” Indeed, that the president is the one making responses at all shows the position Iraq is in. Normally this would be the purview of the PM, but Iraq simply doesn’t have one. The PM-designate has resigned, and the acting PM also resigned in recent weeks.

The US attacks targeted Iraqi PMF militia Kataib Hezbollah, and US officials insist they were “terrorist bases” that were legitimate to hit. The PMF is part of the Iraqi government, despite the US sense that they can attack them with impunity.

Salih’s big warning though was that in this current situation, Iraq could simply unravel under US pressure, ending up a failed state, and potentially fueling an ISIS resurgence.

These consequences seem lost on US officials, likely reflecting US rhetoric presenting the PMF as “Iranian-backed” groups, instead of what they are, militias under the Iraqi government that are heavily active in anti-ISIS operations.

(antiwar.com)

The attack was done by the new group and yet we attacked those supposedly not involved….good policy that should make us more friends.

These airstrikes not only attacked someone not necessarily involved in the attack but we killed our allies as well……Iraq’s military said US airstrikes in the south of the country killed three Iraqi soldiers, two police officers, and one civilian. On Friday, US officials said they launched airstrikes in Southern Iraq against targets where weapons are stored by Kataib Hezbollah, a Shi’ite militia group. 

Iraqi officials also said five members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) were injured in the most recent US airstrikes. The PMF is an umbrella organization of Iraqi militias that have fought together against ISIS since 2014. Kataib Hezbollah is a member of the PMF.

Then there is the war of words……

According to State Department officials, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called former Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Sunday, demanding that the Iraqi government defend US troops who are stationed on the ground in Iraq.

Pompeo told Abdul Mahdi that the government needs to hold militias responsible for attacking US forces accountable, and threatened further US military action “in self-defense” in more attacks happened. On Sunday, more rockets hit a US base, wounding three troops.

This is generally the US position, evinced by US attacks on militia bases last week after the US decided to blame that militia for a previous rocket attack. The US has blamed those militias and labeled them “Iran-backed, though in practice they are Shi’ite groups who are part of the Iraqi government.

Even less clear is what the point of Pompeo telling that to Abdul Mahdi was, as he’s resigned twice in the last few months, both times amid mounting US tensions. First he resigned after parliament voted to expel the US and the US threatened to bankrupt the country with sanctions. Abdul Mahdi agreed to serve as acting-PM until a replacement was decided on, then earlier this month he resigned from that as well.

Iraq’s president has been making comments recently, since he’s the only top figure still in power, but Pompeo seems to hope that Abdul Mahdi has enough political influence to at least pass the message along.

(antiwar.com)

So our policy is to threaten then attack our ally, right?

But the animosities between Iran and the US has Iraq in the middle of the conflict……and that could lead to more instability in the nation and a rapid rise of more terrorism….

https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_escalation_nation_iraq_and_the_us_iran_rivalry

If they are not an ally then what the Hell are we still doing in country?

The situation in the Middle East is still the most confusing situation on the planet.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scriblo”

De-Fang Democracy

This post is about the organization within the Americas and its purpose in life.

This group is called the Organization of American States (OAS)……

But first a little history and background of the OAS…….

The Organization of American States is the world’s oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to April 1890. That meeting approved the establishment of the International Union of American Republics, and the stage was set for the weaving of a web of provisions and institutions that came to be known as the inter-American system, the oldest international institutional system.

The OAS came into being in 1948 with the signing in Bogotá, Colombia, of the Charter of the OAS, which entered into force in December 1951. It was subsequently amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires, signed in 1967, which entered into force in February 1970; by the Protocol of Cartagena de Indias, signed in 1985, which entered into force in November 1988; by the Protocol of Managua, signed in 1993, which entered into force in January 1996; and by the Protocol of Washington, signed in 1992, which entered into force in September 1997.

The Organization was established in order to achieve among its member states—as stipulated in Article 1 of the Charter—”an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence.”

Today, the OAS brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas and constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere. In addition, it has granted permanent observer status to 69 states, as well as to the European Union (EU).

The Organization uses a four-pronged approach to effectively implement its essential purposes, based on its main pillars: democracy, human rights, security, and development.

One main pillar is that of democracy……to that I call CRAP!

Why?

Just look at their support for the coup in Chile….their support for the attempts at regime change in Venezuela…..and their support for the right wing rise that threatens all democracy in the region.

Experts at MIT recently concluded that there is no statistical evidence of fraud in the results of the Bolivian presidential elections last October. These findings debunk an earlier report by the Organization of American States (OAS), which were used to justify a right-wing coup d’etat in the Andean nation.

“All in all, the OAS’ statistical analysis and conclusions would appear deeply flawed,” the researchers, John Curiel and Jack R. Williams of the Election Data and Science Lab, wrote in the Washington Post. They added that the incumbent, Evo Morales, very likely garnered more than the 10 percent margin needed to avoid a second round vote.

The announcement has caused an international uproar.

The Organization of American States Is Eroding Faith in Democracy

An organization that started out trying to help democracy bloom in the Americas is now an office of Right wing authoritarianism……

Sad that this is happening……it is sad that Right wing hate is becoming more and more popular.

How the OAS Revived the Cold War in the Americas

Thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Syria: 10 Year Anniversary

Ten years ago this month, 15 March, to be exact….Syrians took to the streets as part of what the media entitled the Arab Spring….Syrians were protesting for a better nation….little did the know that they had stared down a path that would bring about the destruction of “norm” for the nation.

Syria’s brutal conflict enters its 10th year Sunday with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime consolidating its hold over a war-wracked country with a decimated economy where foreign powers flex their muscle.

When Syrians took to the streets on March 15, 2011, they could scarcely have imagined their anti-government protests would turn into a complex war entangling rebels, jihadists and outside forces.

At least 384,000 people have since died, including more than 116,000 civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said Saturday.

The conflict has displaced more than 11 million people internally and abroad.

https://www.afp.com/en/news/3954/syrias-brutal-war-enters-10th-year-doc-1pw2w46

When I worked in the Middle East I was stationed in Aleppo….an old city where the concept of the “coffeehouse” began…..today there is very little left to the city….nothing I could recognize.

A sad anniversary for Syria.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”