Iraq: Old Thoughts Are New Again

Since 2003 Iraq has been a thorn in the side of our administrations…..everyone has had a turn at trying to stabilize the country after the invasion and subsequent occupation….one idea that was floated was one by then Senator Biden,,,,break the country into three regions…..https://lobotero.com/2007/06/15/joe-bidens-iraq-plan/

Of course that plan was not favorable basically because a Democrat had come up with it…..and the country sank further further into chaos….so far that the US had send in more troops to bring about stability….a good idea but sadly did not work as planned….out of that chaos grew the barbarous ISIS.

Fast forward to 2020…..the US is being pressured to leave Iraq…..and because of this the idea of sectioning Iraq has once again come to the forefront……

Backed into a corner and influence waning, the United States has in recent weeks been promoting a plan to create an autonomous Sunni region in western Iraq, officials from both countries told Middle East Eye.

The US efforts, the officials say, come in response to Shia Iraqi parties’ attempts to expel American troops from their country.

Iraq represents a strategic land bridge between Iran and its allies in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Establishing a US-controlled Sunni buffer zone in western Iraq would deprive Iran of using land routes into Syria and prevent it from reaching the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-seeking-carve-out-sunni-state-its-influence-iraq-wanes

Speaking of oil……this is how the oil industry is screwing Iraq out of revenue…..https://lobotero.com/2007/03/11/who-gets-iraqs-oil/

Just a little FYI in case you have nothing better to do than learn something.

Something will need to be done since the Iraqis are getting testy about the US leaving their country……

Over 200,000 Iraqis protested against the U.S. military presence in their country on Friday, demanding American forces leave as requested by the Arab nation’s Parliament in early January after President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani during the general’s visit to Iraq on January 3.

“We don’t need any foreign troops to be in Iraq, we need Iraq for Iraqis,” Hoda Hashimi, an employee in the Ministry of Trade in Baghdad, told the New York Times.

Hashimi added that while U.S. forces are not welcome in the country, the American people in Iraq—most of them there on business—were.

“We don’t want Americans to leave, we want the troops to leave,” said Hashimi. “We want America to support our country but with contracts, not troops.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/24/iraq-iraqis-hundreds-thousands-flood-streets-baghdad-demand-us-military-leave

The chants are getting louder….

Get out, get out, occupier!” was the slogan of the day in Baghdad, where a protest march called by Moqtada al-Sadr drew tens of thousands of demonstrators calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Things are not looking good for the relations with Iraq….

The Trump Administration has suspended all weapons deliveries to Iraq, including the delivery of Sidewinder and Maverick missiles, which were part of $1.8 billion contract signed in 2016. The last shipment was delivered in November.

A US Air Force spokesman confirmed the pause, citing security concerns, and said all personnel support for Iraq’s F-16 planes indefinitely. Iraq has yet to comment on the matter.

This reflects growing US tensions with Iraq, and the Iraqi government’s interest in getting US troops out of the country. The US is threatening sanctions on Iraq for even suggesting expelling them, and military aid cuts are planned. This is likely part of the US cutting their military relationship to try to make Iraq more dependent on them

(antiwar.com)

All this drama between the US and Iraq has the Saudis quaking in their sandals……

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud told CNN on Monday that the Saudi Kingdom opposes the US withdrawing troops from Iraq, even though Iraq’s parliament voted 170-0 to expel them.

Faisal says the Saudis believe that the US was crucial in defeating ISIS, and is a “reliable ally of the Kingdom.” He added the Saudis “work very well with President Trump” on regional security.

(antiwar.com)

The Saudis are afraid if the worse scenario comes about they will have to face the Iranians alone and they are running scared.  The Saudis need the US to protect them from the mean old Iranians.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

US Troops In West Africa

The Pentagon has shown a lean toward removing troops from West Africa and redeploy…https://lobotero.com/2020/01/16/closing-thought-16jan20/

After that news a lawmakers disagree with the SecDef……

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has been publicizing his intention to cut troops from Africa and send them to the areas around Russia and China for great power competition for some time. He is facing some pushback from Congress.

Efforts in recent years to brand the substantial US military position in Africa as being core to the global war on terrorism apparently stuck in the minds of a lot of lawmakers of both parties, who now say that the US can’t afford to withdraw those troops.

This increases the likelihood that Esper’s Pacific pivot will never happen. Already, his plans to cut troops from Iraq and send them seems dead, with President Trump bound and determined not to cut Iraq troop levels because Iraq wants them to.

The arguments on both sides are paper thin, either that the US needs to keep troops in Africa to be in Africa, or that they need to move them to China to do more to China. As Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) warned, if the US pulls troops out of Africa “then they will not be there.”

(antiwar.com)

I bet that the M-IC had a cow and paid dearly for the lawmakers to oppose….and then news that will help our troops stay in West Africa……

The Defense Department has remained relatively tight-lipped regarding the brazen Jan. 5 raid on a military base at Manda Bay, Kenya, but a new report from the New York Times provides a riveting account filled with new details about how the hours-long gunfight played out.

The attack, carried out by the Somalia-based al Shabaab terror group, killed a U.S. service member and two defense contractors and prompted the Pentagon to deploy its East Africa Response Force (EARF) to secure the base’s crucial airfield.

Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command, pledged that the U.S. military would “harden our resolve” in the aftermath of the attack, stating that the U.S. “remain[s] committed to preventing al Shabaab from maintaining a safe haven to plan deadly attacks against the U.S. homeland, East African and international partners.”

https://taskandpurpose.com/kenya-manda-bay-attack-report

Yes I know Kenya is in East Africa so do not try to use that……troops will remain now that the threat is more pronounced.

Makes One Think.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

What Is Up With Middle East Policy?

I was trained in the diplomacy and conflict management in college and I then went to work in the Middle East as an analyst….after living in the region for 6 years I have learned that there is always more to the policies than what we see, read or hear…..

First where are the troops stationed in the Middle East?

The US has between 60,000 and 70,000 troops in the Middle East, according to the US Central Command, and has announced plans to deploy thousands of additional troops to the region amid the heightened tensions.

This map shows where US soldiers are deployed in the Middle East and Afghanistan, as well as some of the major bases they are stationed at in the region.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2020/01/military-presence-middle-east-afghanistan-200113120612249.html

I understood Bush’s policies and that of Obama as well….neither was a policy that I thought would succeed….then Trump was elected and the policy became obfuscated and in coherent…..

Donald Trump’s decision to kill Qassim Suleimani, the most influential figure in Iran other than the Ayatollah Khamenei, will increase the terrorist threat to the United States and the global community. Suleimani’s death has already provoked widespread outrage in Iraq and Iran among the Shiia populations. Prior to the killing, Iraqi leaders were campaigning against Iran’s military presence in their country. Now, the Iraqi Parliament has called for the removal of the U.S. military presence. The decision has created more tactical and terrorist opportunities for the Islamic State as the United States has decided to cease operations against the Islamic State.

Trump’s decision has undermined fundamental U.S. decisions in every way, particularly the need to forestall terrorist threats; protect friends and allies; and prevent Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Trump administration has enhanced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to improve relations with Iraq and Iran; caused controversy and even dissent within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and further exposed the instability and ignorance of Trump’s national security team. Since the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear accord, the European co-signers of that agreement along with Russia and China, have questioned the wisdom of Washington’s international actions.

The Incoherence of U.S. Policy in the Middle East

I see no continuity in our Middle East policy…..chaos and knee jerk decisions seem to be the rule of the day.

I fear that this approach will just make the region more dangerous and solve no problems.

Where did it all begin?

Well with World War One and the Sykes-Picot…..but beyond that where did the whirlwind we have today get its fuel?

In the long history of imperial folly and recklessness, nothing compares to U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf. Yes, the British shouldn’t have invaded Afghanistan in 1838, and, yes, JFK shouldn’t have backed the overthrow of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963. If they had thought things through more carefully, one wouldn’t have lost an entire army in the retreat from Kabul while the other wouldn’t have stumbled into a dozen-year-long quagmire that would leave the US military depleted and demoralized – not to mention killing more than a million or more Vietnamese.

But those were momentary miscalculations compared to the slow-motion disaster in the gulf. For nearly half a century, every US president – liberal, conservative, or whatever – has pumped up a regional arms race that has set the stage for ever more destructive wars. The death and destruction have been incalculable. Yet not once throughout the long sorry saga have Americans paused for even a moment to consider where it was all going.

Who Created the Persian Gulf Tinderbox?

Where will it all end?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

"He Said Bad Stuff"

I am as most already know that I like foreign policy and conflict management…..I have studied many forms of the execution of foreign policy but I have never heard of one that is actionable because of Rhetoric.

Most Americans know that we recently killed a top Iranian general in an airstrike…..there is a story that there were plans to attack American embassies and a couple of other reasons for the assassination.

But Trump has said now that he was killed because he said “bad things”……seriously?

President Trump has struggled with legal justifications for the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, failing to back up claims of an “imminent” threat, claiming that didn’t matter because of bad things he’d done. On Friday, Trump suggested to donors that Soleimani was killed not because of what he did, but because of what he said.

Trump made the comments at a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser, saying that he heard Soleimani’s comments, and asked “how much of this shit do we have to listen to?” Trump made no mention of any threats in his decision to kill Soleimani.

This is particularly noteworthy because it represents another example of the president changing his story on the controversial assassination, one which very easily could have led to a major war with Iran.

Claims of an “imminent threat,” true or not, are always made by the US military after an attack because it is one of very few legal pretexts established for carrying out an otherwise aggressive attack. Being insulted by what Soleimani was saying, naturally, is not a legal justification of any sort.

That in less than two weeks the president has repeatedly changed his justification isn’t a good sign, and that this most recent narrative was offered only during a private dinner to his donors, suggests that this was neither meant for public consumption, nor a very good justification at all.

This also came just a day after Trump warned Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to “be careful with his words” after a critical sermon. In this new context, we are clearly meant to understand that if Trump didn’t like what he said, it might easily be a reason for him to be killed.

(antiwar.com)

If they is an adequate reason to assassinate a leader then h why have we not done so for North Korea’s Kim, who has said more “bad stuff” than just about anybody?

I truly would like to know just what style of foreign policy does Trump subscribe to….that is besides the “Pasta Technique”……

I Read, I Wrote, You KNow

“lego ergo scribo”

Wanna Talk With North Korea

We have had a back and forth with the two sillies that control NK and the US….Kim has made some deep statements of rebellion towards Trump……and yet Trump still looks for ways that they can come to terms for more talks….

The Trump administration has continued to seek contact with North Korea in an effort to reinstate working-level talks to discuss the country’s nuclear weapons program, a senior U.S. official has said.

Robert C. O’Brien, the assistant to the U.S. president on national security affairs (APNSA), told Axios in an interview that the United States has been actively making efforts to return to working-level talks with North Korea.

The administration has “reached out to the North Koreans,” O’Brien said. “We’ve been letting them know, through various channels, that we would like to get those [negotiations] back on track and to implement Chairman Kim’s commitment” to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” he added.

Working-level talks between the two sides have not resumed since an attempt in October 2019 when U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen E. Biegun met Kim Myong Gil, North Korea’s appointed negotiator, in Stockholm, Sweden.

https://thediplomat.com/2020/01/us-official-confirms-efforts-to-restore-working-level-talks-with-north-korea/

Seriously?

Wants to have talks with a country that has nukes already but will not have talks with a nation that is in search of nukes…..a reversed logic?

I do not know of what technique this is other than to use the Chaos Method….or maybe we should call it the “Pasta Method”

Look for further claims and further international situations….news will be needed to change the discourse in the very near future.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–16Jan20

I read a post by a fellow blogger and friend John about the troops in West Africa and thought I would expand on his thought.  https://linesbyliming.com/2020/01/15/islamist-militants-threaten-africa/

After several deaths of US troops in West Africa and the scandals of Americans killing Americans in drunken stupors the Pentagon is considering pulling US troops from West Africa…..

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper is interested in seeing a substantial reduction in troops and operations ongoing in Western Africa, with the troops being redeployed to areas closer to Russia and China.

This comes, ironically, amid speculation about the Islamist factions in the Sahel, and suggestions this might be a growing priority for the US. Esper, however, has made much of wanting to have more troops directly lined up against Russia and China for “Great Power” competitions.

Among the pullouts in West Africa would be ending US operations in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The end of US involvement in Niger would include abandoning the $110 million drone base that the US just got finished building and bringing into operation.

After West Africa, the plan is that the US will also draw down forces in Latin America, and subsequently then cut troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, all as part of a new pivot to Eastern Europe and the Pacific.

Exactly how many troops are going to be involved isn’t clear, and indeed how many troops are in some of these areas is not publicly known any longer, given the Pentagon’s recent opacity on such figures.

The eagerness to make such moves at all represents Esper having only recently taken over the Defense Secretary post, and wanting to put his stamp on it.

(antiwar.com)

I thought this was just wishful thinking but now a top general is calling for the same thing…..

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told reporters on Monday that the US intends to reduce its military presence within Africa, saying its possible the troops could either return to the continental US or be shifted to the Pacific.

Shifting troops to the Pacific is a long-standing goal of the US military, but has tended to get derailed as plans to draw down forces elsewhere fall apart. It’s not clear exactly how many troops the US have in Africa, but Milley is just the latest to say they could end up in the Pacific.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper talked about drawdowns in Africa, Afghanistan, and Iraq to get troops to send to the areas near China and Russia. The US, however, is resisting the Iraq pullout now, since Iraq wants it.

France is opposed to the US drawdown, since they are increasingly committed militarily to the Sahel, and are keen to have the US participate in those open-ended operations.

(antiwar.com)

I would like to see these troops come home but for the reasons I have mentioned many times before…..but just a passing thought to gain some attention is not the way to position one self as a person of power and knowledge.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Sanctions For Iraq

We know that Trump’s favorite tool is economic sanctions…..easy to install and have very little effect…..that sums up his presidency.

I bring up sanctions because it seems to be the next step in the battle with Iraq.

Yes I said Iraq.

Recently the Iraqi government passed a non-binding solution to have US troops leave the country.

The Trump administration has started drafting sanctions against Iraq over its push to expel US troops from the nation, a White House official who requested anonymity confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump first threatened economic penalties over the weekend after the Iraqi parliament passed a nonbinding resolution to urge the US military to leave, a rebuke of the lethal drone strike that targeted a top Iranian general in Baghdad late Thursday. Along with Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, an Iraqi militia official was also killed in the escalation.

The Washington Post reported late Monday that senior administration officials had initiated preliminary talks on the potential sanctions, which the US has not yet decided to move forward with.

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trump-administration-preparing-economic-sanctions-against-iraq-military-withdrawal-iran-2020-1-1028801079

Sanctions and now the idea of cutting military aid to Iraq……

In addition to bankrupting Iraq by seizing the entirety of their oil revenue account, the Trump Administration is now also threatening to cut military aid to Iraq, if the Iraqi government formally asks the US to leave.

The US State Department and Pentagon have discussed the matter, with the State Department working on cutting all $250 million from the 2020 military aid budget already approved, and asking the budget office to cut $100 million from the 2021 request.

While US officials insist they have no intention of leaving Iraq, the continued threats to punish Iraq with sanctions and cuts suggest that they are taking seriously the possibility that Iraq will actually order them out, and that the US may not be able to just ignore it.

While $250 million in aid is substantial, it is likely well down Iraq’s priority list with the oil revenue account containing 90% of Iraq’s annual budget. Iraqi officials haven’t indicated what their intentions are since the threats began, but parliament already voted 170-0 to expel all foreign troops, US included, as soon as possible.

(antiwar.com)

What will all this chest thumping do with ISIS waiting in the shadows?

https://lobotero.com/2020/01/10/isis-in-the-shadows-2/

Now Iraq is worried about a total economic co;;apse if sanctions and such go into effect….

Iraqi officials are warning that they would face almost immediate economic collapse if President Trump follows through on sanctions against them for asking US troops to leave. Iraq’s parliament voted on January 5, 170-0, to order the government to expel all foreign troops.

President Trump has threatened massive sanctions against Iraq, and more recently, suggestions are that the US would freeze Iraq’s bank account at the New York Federal Reserve, where all of Iraq’s oil revenues go.

Which is also 90 percent of Iraq’s budget. Iraqi officials have confirmed “threatening calls” from the US over the troops, insisting that they have no intention of leaving Iraq just because Iraq is asking.

The collapse of their entire economy, while still theoretical at this point, isn’t a healthy thing to have hanging over Iraq going forward. Siemens CEO Joe Kaesar warned he believes that “putting sanctions on something just because you don’t get your will is maybe also not always helpful.

Siemens has a $15 billion electricity development contract for Iraq. While they say they don’t intend to scale back the project, there is a risk for them, like everyone else, that the US will just take all of Iraq’s money and leave them unable to pay.

(antiwar.com)

So just to retaliate Trump will econ0mically ruin a country like Iraq…..someone that is suppose to be a “friend”…..someone who is a “partner” in the war on ISIS……

Sorry do not see the logic in all this ignorance.

A country swimming in oil and yet it could face economic collapse…..funny but that would be because the oil belongs to corporations and not the Iraqis……if problems then a case for nationalization of the oil could be waiting for a test run.  And that would mean more war….after all oil is why we are there in the first place.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”