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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Trump Goes To Iraq

By now everyone knows that Our Dear Supreme Leader made a visit to the troops in Iraq (a war zone?)…..anyway with everything that has been going on maybe you, my reader, have forgotten what it was all about…luckily I enjoy catching you up……

If President Trump’s Twitter feed seemed uncharacteristically quiet on Wednesday, now we know why. The president made a surprise trip to Iraq to visit US troops, his first visit to a combat zone, reports the New York Times. First lady Melania Trump accompanied him as he spoke to service members at Al Asad Air Base near Baghdad. Trump was expected to make a second stop as well. Details:

  • Defiant: The president struck a defiant tone in his remarks to the troops, notes the AP. “We’re no longer the suckers, folks,” he said. “We’re respected again as a nation.”
  • Staying put: Trump said he had no plans to withdraw the approximately 5,000 US troops stationed in Iraq, and he defended his controversial decision to withdraw troops from Syria. “I think a lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking,” he told reporters, per Reuters. Besides, he said, the US could always deploy the troops in Iraq to fight ISIS if necessary. “In fact, we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria.”
  • Official reason: “President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted.
  • Long awaited: Trump had been under increasing pressure to visit troops abroad, notes Politico. Barack Obama and George W. Bush, for instance, visited Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times. Earlier this year, Trump had said he didn’t think making such a trip was “overly necessary.”
  • Tumultuous times: The visit, of course, comes on the heels of the resignation of defense chief James Mattis over the Syria decision, making this the “biggest week of turmoil the Pentagon has faced during his presidency,” per the Washington Post. Trump said Wednesday that acting chief Patrick Shanahan “could be there for a long time.”

As a news junky I watched his speech from Iraq….it was a damn campaign speech and all about him…..how sad hopefully the troops saw this as well.

I bring this up now because of the report that is coming out of Iraq…..

It seems that there were conditions to Trump’s visit….and they were broken by Trump…….

US President Donald Trump’s visit to Iraq did not abide by conditions set by the Iraqi government, the prime minister confirmed to reporters on Sunday.

Trump’s team told Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi about the impending visit on Wednesday morning, at which time they were given two conditions.

“First, he shall land on Iraqi land and be given an Iraqi reception like any other foreign official,” said Abdul-Mahdi. “Second, there shall be an agenda with specific matters and a short meeting.”

The US delegation initially agreed to the terms, but later backed out.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/301220182

The demand is for 5200 US troops be withdrawn….almost immediately…….

Iraqi MPs have condemned the surprise visit of US President Donald Trump to American troops stationed in the country, calling for them to leave.

MPs from the two largest parliamentarian blocs condemned Trump’s visit, which was not arranged with the Iraqi government, considering it a “violation of Iraq’s sovereignty”. They also set a date to discuss the evacuation of US troops from Iraq, Arab48 reported yesterday.

Saleh Al-Saadi, head of one of these blocs, said that “Trump has to know his limits. The American occupation of Iraq has ended,” adding: “Trump infiltrated Iraq as if it is one of the American states.

https://theantimedia.com/iraqi-politicians-demand-withdrawal-us-troops/

This whole “visit” thing was mishandled and the president did nothing to give the troops hope that they were foremost in the mind of their commander in chief……NOTHING!

That Iraq War Study

After 14 years in Iraq the Pentagon has a study done on the war and what has been learned from the invasion and occupation….the problem is that it remains unpublished…and inquiring minds ask why?

It’s been praised by a number of top Army officials privy to it, and many think it’s a vital to make clear the lessons learned in the disastrous occupation of Iraq. But “The United States Army in the Iraq War” study remains unpublished, and may never see the light of day.

With officials citing the need to “relearn” many of the lessons of Vietnam at the start of the occupation of Iraq, Gen. Ray Odeirno commissioned the study in 2013. By 2015 it was completed, and had been compiled into a two-volume document.

Most Army officials on the record say it should be public, and some in Congress are also pushing for the completed document to finally be released. Yet there is a quiet resistance from senior leadership at the time, who are worried a report that declared the war “largely unsuccessful” will make them look bad.

The Army’s current position is that the study is “not an official history,” but that it would be published by the Army War College in the future. Whether it becomes publicly available then is uncertain, though it is clear that some simply prefer that the war’s failures remain unspoken.

(antiwar.com)

There is the rub……matter not the number of American dead and wounded but rather the reputations and egos of the morons in the leadership positions.

Publish the damn report!

Iran-Iraq Tensions Rise (Again?)

I could be writing about the war that Saddam started back in the 80’s with his neighbor, Iran.

In case you are still a thumb sucker let me help you out……

Those were the bad old days…..recently Iraq held an election an a Shia cleric won the position of Prime Minister……in doing so you would think that he would have a soft spot in his heart for Shia Iran and vice versa…..well maybe time to think again…..the now PM has stated that he will join in the sanctions on Iran…..

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Aug. 7 that Iraq will abide by US sanctions on Iran to protect Iraq’s own interests. Abadi spokesman Saad al-Hadithi confirmed Aug. 13 that Iraq will not violate US sanctions on Iran and that “Iraq’s stance toward the US sanctions imposed on Iran stems from the general interest of Iraq, and was not impetuous or hasty, but was subjected to study, and was not affected by the positions of other states or political parties.”

After Iraq said it would abide by US sanctions, several Iranian officials raised their voices against Iraq, calling it traitorous and demanding the country pay compensation for damages caused in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War that took place under Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who was executed in 2006.

Now with that said will the same insistence be held once the new PM takes the reigns of power?
Keep in mind that any hostilities could put the American troops in the middle of a conflict.  Something this country does not need…..we have enough wars being juggled by Pentagon and Our Dear Leader.

How About Iraq?

Since the country and its problems have not been in the news most Americans seem to forget that we are still fighting and our troops are still on multiple deployments in our second longest war…..

Iraq recently had an election (democracy at work?) and America’s one time adversary al-Sadr won the position of prime minister and in the process of forming a government……

There are a few readings about the uphill fight he will have witn a government……

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iraq/188-iraqs-paramilitary-groups-challenge-rebuilding-functioning-state

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iraq/b61-how-cope-iraqs-summer-brushfire

With that and the situation……the fighting has not ceased……no?  Then what about ISIS?

Glad you asked!

Dozens of people have been killed in a series of attacks launched by Islamic State (IS) in locations north of Baghdad over the past few months, prompting fears that the terrorist group is reconstituting itself in parts of Iraq (al-Hadath, March 28; al-Sumaria, July 1).

IS has lost all of its urban strongholds in Iraq, including Mosul, which it occupied in June 2014 and which was reclaimed by Iraqi forces last year with significant U.S. support. However, the recent surge in IS activity indicates that the group is now pursuing its old hit-and-run tactics in Iraq, and serves to illustrate how IS could exploit the divisions that remain among Iraqi factions.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/07/31/is_islamic_state_making_plans_for_a_comeback_in_iraq_113670.html

They, ISIS, is NOT gone and it is NOT forgotten……

The Iraqi government’s declaration of “victory” over ISIS may have marked the end of the group holding any real territory, but the end of the Caliphate was never going to be the end of ISIS. Unsurprisingly, the group is looking to make a comeback.

No longer a territory-holding faction trying to operate as a mini-state, ISIS is going back to its guerilla tactics that they used before they were able to take territory. Iraq is experiencing a rise in kidnappings and targeted killings.

ISIS is using the kidnappings as a way to raise money, and the killings as a way to undermine security. This was a common tactic for ISIS for years, and one the Iraqi government has never been able to effectively combat.

(antiwar.com)

Keep in mind that ISIS is still a force that will be handled and the US will have to continue to deal with this murderous group…..we can only hope that Iraq will step up and do what is necessary so that our overworked troops can come home.

After Note:  Another day with my doctors……so there may not be as much posted today as usual….never fear I am still hanging in there and will get back to it as soon as possible…..chuq

Meanwhile Back In The Middle East

My area of some little amount of expertise has been ignored because of all the situations that have turned in the Koreas….look for Iran to come into focus soon….they have neutralized North Korea (for now) and the interventionists need a foe to focus on and the most logical one is Iran.

The deal that Trump pulled out of because it was made by Obama will now have his art of the deal to fall back on and get that better deal (or go to war)……

Iran is claiming to be the protector of the world’s Shia population……but is it?

Iran’s contemporary foreign policy approach is shaped by a worldview introduced by the 1979 Islamic revolution.

  • Iran’s hardline Shia regime rode a tidal wave of popular support into power during the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Mass demonstrations in February 1979 led to the fall of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the former Iran leader known as the Shah, and the return of exiled cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who claimed the title of Supreme Leader in December 1979 and served in that capacity until his death in June 1989.
  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei succeeded Khomeini as Iran’s Supreme Leader in June 1989 and has since served as the country’s most powerful figure.
  • Other key figures in the Iranian regime include President Hassan Rouhani, who was reelected to a second four-year term in May after campaigning on the success of the Iran nuclear agreement. In addition, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal and Maj. Gen. Qasem Soulemani is the head of the elite Quds Force, which operates as the external wing of Iran’s ideologically driven, preeminent paramilitary force known as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), or the “guardians” of the revolution.

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/article/middle-east/irans-hegemonic-quest

Iran is more active in the Iraqi situation, the domestic side, it is backing alliances for the control of the country…..

Iraq may form a government that undermines U.S. interests, tries to eject the U.S. from the region, and supports Iran. Nationalist Iraqi Shi’a cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has allied with Hadi al-Ameri, the leader of the coalition of Iranian-backed militias and their political wings. Sadr and Ameri lead the two winningest alliances in Iraq’s federal legislative elections and are nearing the 165-seat threshold necessary to form a government if Shi’a cleric Ammar al-Hakim (19 seats) and secularist Ayad Allawi (21 seats) follow through on their previously announced intention to ally with Sadr.

Sadr and Ameri will likely attempt to woo current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi or former Prime Minister and current Vice President Nouri al-Maliki to gain support of one of their coalitions, or alternatively seek to fragment both leaders’ respective coalitions to form a government. They may also seek to gain support from some or all Kurdish parties and Iran friendly Sunni parties in order to reach the government formation threshold. Both Sadr and Ameri may push for the full expulsion of U.S. forces from Iraq and will further the entrenchment of Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces in the Iraqi security apparatus.

Sadr’s militias fought the US tooth and nail for control…..and now he has it through the vote.

All this and Iran’s influence in OPEC will give the interventionists like John Bolton all the ammo they need to ramp up the rhetoric for war with Iran.

He, Trump, should have left the nuke deal in place but his jealousy of Obama would not allow that to occur…..I do not think his love for dictators will play well when dealing with Iran….but I could be mistaken….even dictators like to have their ego stroked.

 

Populism And The World

The catch word that was batted around during the 2016 elections was populism and according to the MSM  the win by Trump meant that it was on the rise in the US……and tide that could not be stopped….well according to the d/bag Bannon.

Then there is Europe and the rising tide of populism or of right wing politics…some even see that the rise of it in Hungary and Italy among others could signal the end of the EU…..

The newly-installed US ambassador to Germany, Richard (Ric) Grenell, is at the center of a Trumped-up “controversy,” after having given an interview to Breitbart saying that he’s looking forward to encouraging beleaguered European conservatives. The NeverTrumpers went wild: neocon Anne Applebaum accused him of being part of a conspiracy on the part of the Trump administration to back “nativist, pro-Russia and anti-pluralist” forces – as opposed to the globalist, neo-liberal, cravenly pro-Washington (as opposed to pro-American) sock puppets we’ve been backing previously. Applebaum was joined by German Communist leader Sarah Wagenknecht, a leader of the far-left wing of the far-left “Die Linke” Party, who demanded that Grenell be expelled from Germany.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/06/06/populism-and-the-end-of-the-european-union/

Okay Europe is not the only region that has seen a rise in populism…..Iraq and its latest election…..the leader that gave the US so much trouble in the early years of the occupation has now been elected as the new Prime Minister of Iraq……

The worldwide populist revolt toppling conventional politicians in the United States, Europe and even the Philippines has now reached Iraq. Most Westerners still following Iraqi politics assumed that incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Dawa Party would handily win the parliamentary election, but nope. Dawa came in third. Firebrand cleric Moqtada al Sadr’s Sairun party came in first.

You remember Moqtada al Sadr. He’s the guy who mounted an Iranian-backed Shia insurgency against the United States, the Iraqi government and his Sunni civilian neighbors between 2003 and 2008. He’s a very different person today. He still raises and shakes his fist in the air but today he’s shaking it at crooked elites, and he’s shaking it at his former Iranian patrons.

http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/populist-revolt-reaches-iraq

The rest of this story is waiting to be written…..and it is being written in DC as we speak….but what will it be?