Out Of Babylon

We have finally decided to end our endless war in Afghanistan and now it is time to end the second longest war, Iraq…..

There have been attempts to drawn down…..and now the Biden has made a decision (for now) to pull combat troops from the sands of Iraq….

The US and Iraq expect to announce next week that American combat troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year. The countries are working on a plan that would keep Americans there in an advisory role, to help with the fight against ISIS. “We don’t need any more fighters because we have those,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said, the Wall Street Journalreports. “What do we need? We need cooperation in the field of intelligence. We need help with training. We need troops to help us in the air.” The details are still being worked out, but the change will be announced Monday after President Biden and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi meet at the White House, per Politico.

The number of Americans in Iraq might stay about the same—2,500—but the combat troops would be changed out, replaced by those who do other jobs. The idea is for them to help Iraq with tasks including logistical support, intelligence, and surveillance. The change could help Kadhimi politically in time for October’s parliamentary elections. While the US is completing a total withdrawal from Afghanistan, it’s still making long-term military plans with Iraq. The US has more faith in Iraq’s troops than in Afghanistan’s, who are losing ground rapidly to the Taliban. US troops first arrived in Iraq on 2004. The transition from combat began last summer, though no end date had been announced. A joint statement in April credited the change to the Iraqi forces being better able to handle the job now.

This is a good move….there will be those that disagree….but for me any time when can bring our troops home to their families then it is a good plan.

Now we need to work on our intervention foreign policy….we need a fresh approach to the problems other than armed conflict and adventurism.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Iraq–18 Years And Counting

AS March slowly comes to an end maybe we should take a few moments and remember that US troops have been occupying, fight and dying in Iraq…..

At the time, the Bush administration had spent several months lying to the American public about Iraq’s supposed connections to the attacks of 9/11. Dick Cheney argued that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were good pals, but the relationship never existed in reality. They argued that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), but those too didn’t exist. Phantoms haunted Bush and his Cold War-era neoconservative comrades, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. And they turned those ghosts into fear — the ammunition needed to remake the world in their vision, or so they thought.

Before long, morale sank in our platoon. Weeks turned into months, and months turned into many more. What was supposed to be a repeat of the 1991 Gulf War quickly morphed into a violent counterinsurgency campaign, the likes of which U.S. troops hadn’t experienced since their failed attempt to defeat anti-imperialists in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Car bombs and IEDs replaced punji sticks and highly-coordinated mobile attacks and ambushes. Men in white pajamas replaced the men in black pajamas.

In the U.S., people remained disorganized after several decades of neoconservative and neoliberal political victories, particularly the destruction of organized labor. The left, barely alive, mounted antiwar rallies and protests but never developed much of a vision beyond large mobilizations. And even if it would have, the social and political infrastructure to carry out such a concept didn’t exist.

The Iraq War: 18 Years Later

We can pretend that this war was about getting Saddam and to promote democracy…..but really we know exactly why the invasion took place….the reasons given were excuses for war.

Take a few moments of silence to remember our troops for their sacrifices and service and then take some time to learn about the war/s and make your representatives hear the call to end these endless wars.

Time in this world to ‘give peace a chance’….in case you may not know where to begin….then I can help…..

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Get involved…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Iraq Runs Out Of Gas

I wish I was writing about the end of the Iraq War but sadly that will go on and on…..but this time I am writing about Iraq’s use of nat gas for the society.

I recently read an article about Iraq that I found odd….especially for a country with massive oil reserves.

Iraq’s capital Baghdad and other cities are at risk of serious power shortages after Iran slashed gas exports, the electricity ministry said on Sunday, potentially placing further pressure on the government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Iran has reduced gas exports to Iraq to five million cubic metres from 50 million cubic metres two weeks ago citing unpaid bills, a ministry spokesman said.

It also officially informed Iraq’s electricity ministry on Sunday that it plans to cut shipments further to three million cubic metres, the spokesman said.

Iraq has lost around 6,550 megawatts of electricity, spokesman Ahmed Moussa said.

Iraq’s daily consumption during peak hours of winter reaches around 19,000 megawatts while the country generates around 11,000 megawatts, replying on imports to fill the gap, he said.

(reuters.com)

Seriously?

A country with millions of barrels of oil reserves and they need to import energy from Iran……Why?

Iraq cannot afford to heat or any domestic energy….could it have anything to do with 2008 and the return of big oil to Iraq?

I know…what?

This explains what I am talking about……https://lobotero.com/2008/06/20/big-oil-to-return-to-iraq/

The deals are that big oil returns and they run off with most of the profits….thanx to something called a “PSA”…..and I educated my readers about this as well….https://lobotero.com/2007/03/11/who-gets-iraqs-oil/

If for some unknown reason you would like another take on what happened to Iraq’s oil….then maybe this will satisfy your curiosity….https://theconversation.com/iraq-what-happened-to-the-oil-after-the-war-62188

Now I ask why if there is so much oil in Iraq why they cannot produce crude and nat gas for their consumption?

Does their lack of sufficient energy for the nation have anything to do with big oil and the PSA or is it the prices are too low for the production to be profitable?

The most important is….why would a nation with massive oil reserves need to import energy from another oil producing country?

Time for Iraq to be in control of their own reserves…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Iraq In The Rear View Mirror

Out man in Washington has decided to bring US troops home from Iraq….that is a promise that has been wanting to be fulfilled….and now some will leave the country…..

CENTCOM officials say that the process has been considered for months, and confirmed Wednesday what the administration has said recently, that there will be a US drawdown in Iraq before the election. 2,200 troops will leave Iraq by the end of this month.

At times the Pentagon has resisted major troop cuts by the administration, but seems resigned to it this time, emphasizing that the US has made a “great sacrifice” in decades of Iraqi war, and vowing that the US would continue supporting the Iraqi government.

That is not a small point for them to emphasize, either. When the Iraqi parliament asked the US to withdraw, there was talk of the US cutting ties with Iraq entirely to punish them. That no longer seems to be contemplated


With a pro-US premier now, Iraq isn’t pushing for an immediate pullout, and the US may want to lower troop levels this month, but probably won’t be out of Iraq entirely by the election either, leaving open whether the US is on their way out of Iraq until 2021.

(antiwar.com)

A friend asked me who would fill the void created by the departure of US troops……the answer to that question is….France.

French President Emmanuel Macron has declared a raft of aid and support packages to assist the beleaguered Iraqi government, as reports indicate that the United States is planning further troop reductions in the embattled country.

President Macron arrived in Iraq last Wednesday as the first foreign head of state to visit the war-ravaged country since Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took office in May. 

Speaking from Baghdad, Macron said that Iraq had to assert its “sovereignty” despite being caught up in US-Iran tensions. “Iraq has been going through a challenging time for several years, with war and terrorism,” Macron said.

He noted that the country was still struggling to revive its economy, improve its education system and bring “military elements and militias” under state control. 

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2020/9/9/the-iraq-report-france-asserts-itself-as-us-withdraws

France has been asserted itself into the region again…..Macron is trying to fill the hole that US is creating by its departure.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

One Third Out!

The news coming from the Trump White House is that after his removal of troops from Afghanistan the same will be done with the troop deployment in Iraq…..

The first official figures from the Trump Administration on the Iraq drawdown came Friday, with officials now saying that the 5,200 US troops there currently will be cut to about 3,500 in the next two to three months.

That’s about a third of the US troops in Iraq, and realistically more than that, as there are almost certainly over 5,200 US troops in Iraq now. The US has not kept public figures on troop levels for months, and 5,200, the highest allowed by the US-Iraq troop agreement, and when more troops were sent, the official figure always remained 5,200.

As with other planned US drawdowns, the Pentagon has yet to comment on it at all. In Afghanistan, the drawdown was ongoing for months before the Pentagon even admitted there was an order to cut troop levels, and Iraq may be heading for a similar type of ambiguity.

President Trump announced the intention for a drawdown earlier this month during a visit by Iraq’s premier. The expectation was for troop cuts to come before the election. Though officials did not confirm that this is the total of the cut, the timeframe suggests this is what is being planned for now.

(antiwar.com)

Is this a promise kept by Trump?  Or is it just a move during an election to try a sway voters?

Is this going to be an end to our endless wars?

The Wall Street Journal scoop on the details of the Trump administration’s troop withdrawal from Iraq is welcome news. Reportedly, President Donald Trump is cutting U.S. troop levels by one- third, to about 3,500 troops from 5,200. This move would bring force levels back to where they were in 2015, at the height of the war against ISIL, which in and of itself demonstrates how unnecessary the troop level increases have been mindful of the decimation of the Islamic State.

Yet, the Journal — and the media narrative around this in general — frames this solely as a decision born out of political pressures in Iraq and the United States. The Iraqi public wants the United States to leave — as demonstrated by the Iraqi parliament voting to expel U.S. troops earlier this year – and Trump seeking to deliver on his campaign promise to end the endless wars.

“But both governments have faced political pressures at home from critics who have complained that the U.S. may be engaged in an open-ended mission,” the Journal reports.

What Trump’s troop withdrawal from Iraq means for ending America’s endless wars

Whatcha think?  Is this truly an end to our endless wars?  The beginning of the end?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Guns Of August–Part Two

A little history for this Sunday…..

The original Guns of August referred to the beginning of the Great Wat, World War One…..but this is a bit different……

30 years ago today Saddam turned his forces loose on Kuwait…and thus began the first Gulf War…..

The consequences are still reverberating three decades on, obviously in Iraq and the Middle East but also further afield, after Saddam Hussein became the first Arab leader to invade another Arab nation. On Thursday, August 2, 1990, at about 2am, 100,000 Iraqi troops and 700 tanks smashed through Kuwaiti border posts. Saddam then announced that the emir of Kuwait had been deposed and the emirate was now Iraq’s nineteenth province.

This was his second invasion of a neighbor. In September 1980 he invaded Iran believing that the rule of the ayatollahs, and their Shia branch of Islam, posed a clear and present danger to Iraq’s Sunni-dominated government.

Much of the Iranian army and air force was dependent on US spare parts and these had dried up after the fall of the Shah in 1979. Saddam believed it would be a piece of cake as much of Iran’s heavy weaponry and air power would be unusable. Initially his forces were successful, driving deep into Iran. But the Iranians fought back, launched human wave attacks against Iraqi artillery and trench warfare, reminiscent of WWI, ensued. Stalemate. The war finally ended in 1988 under a United Nations-brokered ceasefire with neither victorious, both exhausted. Kuwait had initially lent the Iraqi leader US$14 billion to help finance the conflict. Saddam believed that this debt should be written off. Kuwait refused and demanded prompt payment.

The Gulf War, 30 Years and Counting

For those that are not capable of learning with our visuals…..

Just because I can…..a look at this war from Iraq’s perspective…..it is about 20 minutes if your attention span will allow it……

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Troops And Iraq

Trump is determined to bring our troops home from our longest war and now he is working on reducing our military footprint in Iraq as well.

Yes this is one of those promises Trump made back in 2016…..and now he may be holding to it…..

Many months after the Iraqi parliament voted unanimously to expel US forces, the question of future troop levels is finally up for discussion at this weeks talks.

Iraq is driven by trying to avoid hosting a US-Iran proxy war, and sees not hosting US troops as the path of least resistance. US officials took permanent basing in Iraq as a given and are willing to do anything to Iraq to protect that.

This was why Trump threatened sanctions worse than Iran for the very suggestion the US should pullout. Even then, there was no consideration of leaving.

This is also why these talks cover the full US-Iraq relationship and not just troop levels. This allows the US to threaten cuts everywhere else if they don’t get what they want.

Pentagon officials say they expect Iraq will at least let them stay through the “final final victory” over ISIS. But again, there is no suggestion the US might actually leave after that.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/06/11/a_moment_of_truth_for_us-iraq_relations_115369.html

Contrary to popular belief….I give credit when it is due…..and Trump gets credit if he is entering into these negotiations honestly and not just trying to gain a few points for the election.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Trump Extends EO 13303

This is a Bush era Executive Order that Trump has extended…..what is 13303?

Originally it was to help oil companies in Iraq in 2003….the lie is that the Extension order claims Iraq’s instability an ‘unusual and extraordinary threat’ ……

President Trump has issued a statement extending the May 22, 2003 National Emergency created by President Bush on the situation in Iraq. Trump’s statement cited the “unusual and extraordinary threat” posed by Iraqi instability.

The Bush emergency, Executive Order 13303, was meant to facilitate Iraqi reconstruction in theory. In practice, it gave US oil companies blanket immunity from lawsuits related to selling Iraqi oil.

This was criticized as Bush’s attempt to facilitate the US taking Iraqi oil after the invasion and occupation. That’s very on-brand for Trump too, so 17 years later he is just going to kick the state of emergency down the road.

Iraqi instability certainly means a very different thing in 2020 than it did in 2003, and trying to encourage Iraqi oil investment makes a lot less sense now than it did then. With the US pushing Iraq and other nations to cut oil production to shore up prices, its highly unlikely any company wants to invest heavily in Iraq, even if they get legal immunity.

(antiwar.com)

Back in 2007 I wrote about how the Iraqi people were being screwed by the oil companies and the Bush admin…..https://lobotero.com/2007/03/11/who-gets-iraqs-oil/

Now as then it is always about the Iraqi oil and the total screwing the people are getting….

Let Iraq handle their oil for themselves…..the money should go into the treasury and not the pockets of Big Oil….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Iraq Gets A New Leader

After many months of confusion and chaos in the Iraqi government….they have a new PM, Mustafa al-Kadhimi……who is he?

Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took office after the country’s parliament approved a new government on Wednesday following nearly six months of political wrangling.

The parliament approved 15 ministers out of a prospective 22-seat cabinet in a vote of confidence. Five candidates were rejected while voting on two ministers was postponed, leaving seven ministries still empty, including the key oil and foreign affairs positions.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/mustafa-al-kadhimi-iraq-prime-minister-200507062954351.html

The PM comes to power while the nation and the world are fighting this pandemic…..the Iraqi economy is in freefall for several reasons…..

Former head of intelligence Mustafa al-Kadhimi has taken office as Iraq’s new prime minister.

He comes to power six months after mass protests against appalling social conditions, government corruption and the entire political setup forced the resignation of Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi. This was the first time since the 2003 US-led war that a government had been forced to resign due to popular pressure.

Al-Khadimi is Iraq’s third prime minister-designate assigned by President Barham Salih since Mahdi’s resignation. His two predecessors, Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi and Adnan al-Surf, both failed to win parliamentary support for their cabinets. Mahdi quit his post as caretaker prime minister at the beginning of March, the day after Allawi admitted defeat, leaving Iraq without a functioning interim government.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/05/08/iraq-j01.html

Of course the oil situation will prove more problematic that the virus…….

The problem for Iraq is simple but insoluble: it is running out of money as its oil revenues fall off a cliff, following the collapse in the oil price brought about by the cataclysmic economic impact of coronavirus. It derives 90 per cent of government revenues from the export of crude oil, but in April it earnt just $1.4bn when it needed $5bn to cover salaries, pensions and other state expenditure.

It cannot pay the 4.5 million people on the government payroll and another four million receiving a pension. This may not seem like exciting news compared to an uptick in Isis killings or the potential ravages of Covid-19, but it may prove more profoundly destabilising than either.

https://outline.com/aJwPNT

Without cash to pay the workers then labor unrest will make the government unstable again…..and then Iraq is caught between the US and Iran……

“This government came as a response to the social, economic and political crises our country is facing,” al-Kadhimi told lawmakers Thursday. “It is a government that will provide solutions, not add to the crises.”

Iraq is facing a coronavirus-fueled financial crisis, crumbling infrastructure battered by years of war and scant investment, ongoing political instability and the threat of a resurgent ISIS testing its beleaguered security forces.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/new-iraqi-leader-caught-between-iran-and-the-us/ar-BB13K7P5

Iraq is still just as messed up as it was before…..the longer the virus hangs on the more revenue will be lost from oil……the more loss will fuel civil unrest…..which will eventually bring down the government.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

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”