• Things Fall Apart: Iraq

    June 27, 2014

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Iran, Iraq, Military, Syria




    The mistakes of U.S. foreign policy are mostly based on the same flawed idea: that the world is a chessboard on which the U.S. makes moves, or manipulates proxies to make moves, that either defeat, counter or occasionally face setbacks from the single opponent across the table.

    The game held up for a fair amount of time; the U.S. versus the Nazis (D-Day = checkmate!), the U.S. versus Japan (Lose an important piece at Pearl Harbor, grab pawns island by island across the Pacific, and so forth). Most of the Cold War seemed to work this way.

    And so into Iraq in 2003. The Bush administration seemed to believe they could invade Iraq, topple Saddam and little would be left to do but put away the unused chessmen and move on to the next game. In reality, world affairs do not (any longer?) exist in a bipolar game. Things are complex, and things fall apart. Here is a quick tour of that new form of game in Iraq.

    Iran

    – Iranian transport planes are making two daily flights of military equipment into Baghdad, 70 tons per flight, to resupply Iraqi security forces.

    – Iran is flying Ababil surveillance drones over Iraq from Al Rashid airfield near Baghdad. Tehran also deployed an intelligence unit to intercept communications. General Qassim Suleimani, the head of Iran’s paramilitary Quds Force, visited Iraq at least twice to help Iraqi military advisers plot strategy. Iran has also deployed about a dozen other Quds Force officers to advise Iraqi commanders, and help mobilize more than 2,000 Shiite militiamen from southern Iraq.

    – As many as ten divisions of Iranian military and Quds Force troops are massed on the border, ready to intevene if Baghdad comes under assault or if important Shiite shrines in cities like Samarra are threatened, American officials say.

    – Suleimani was a presence in Iraq during the U.S. Occupation and helped direct attacks against American troops. In particular, Iraqi Shiite militias under the tutelage of Suleimani attacked American troops with powerful explosive devices supplied by Tehran. These shaped charges were among the very few weapons used toward the end of the U.S. Occupation that could pierce U.S. armor, and were directly responsible for the deaths of Americans.

    – General Suleimani is also the current architect of Iranian military support in Syria for President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. calls for Assad to give up power, and was steps away from war in Syria to remove Assad only months ago.

    – Should America conduct air strikes in Iraq (some claim they are already stealthily underway), those strikes would be in direct support of Iranian efforts, and perhaps Iranian troops, on the ground.

    – The United States has increased its manned and unmanned surveillance flights over Iraq, and is now flying about 30 to 35 missions a day. The American flights include F-18s and P-3 surveillance planes, as well as drones.

    ISIS

    – ISIS, currently seen as a direct threat to both Iraq, Syria and the Homeland, is a disparate group of mostly Sunni-affiliated fighters with strong ties to Syria. The U.S. is now at war with them, though it appears that as recently as 2012 the U.S. may have had Special Forces arming and training them at a secret base in Safawi, in Jordan’s northern desert region. There are reports that the U.S. also trained fighters at locations in Turkey, feeding them into the Syrian conflict against Assad.

    – ISIS has been funded for years by wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, three supposed U.S. allies. “The U.S. Treasury is aware of this activity and has expressed concern about this flow of private financing. But Western diplomats’ and officials’ general response has been a collective shrug,” a Brookings Institute report states.

    – ISIS itself is a international group, though added 1,500 Sunni Iraqis it liberated from a Shia prison near Mosul. A senior U.S. intelligence official said there are approximately 10,000 ISIS fighters — roughly 7,000 in Syria and 3,000 in Iraq. There are between 3,000 and 5,000 foreign fighters who have been incorporated into ISIS ranks.

    Turkey

    – The New York Times reports Turkey allowed rebel groups of any stripe easy access across its borders to the battlefields in Syria in an effort to topple President Bashar al-Assad. An unknown number of Turks are now hostages in Iraq, and Turkey continues its tussles with the Kurds to (re)fine that border.

    – “The fall of Mosul was the epitome of the failure of Turkish foreign policy over the last four years,” said Soli Ozel, a professor of international relations at Kadir Has University in Istanbul. “I can’t disassociate what happened in Mosul from what happened in Syria.”

    Iraq

    – With the official Iraqi Army in disarray, Prime Minister Maliki is increasingly reliant on Shiite militias primarily loyal to individual warlords and clerics, such as the Madhi Army. Despite nine years of Occupation, the U.S. never defeated the Madhi Army. Prime Minister Maliki never had the group surrender its weapons, and now, with the Baghdad government too weak to disarm them, they exist as the private muscle of Iraq’s hardline Shias. Once loosed onto the battlefield, Maliki will not be able to control the militias. The Mahdi Army has also sworn to attack American “advisors” sent to Iraq, believing them to be a vanguard for a second U.S. occupation. Many of the most powerful militias owe their ultimate loyalty not to the Iraqi state, but to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Sadr has much blood on his hands left over from the Occupation.

    Syria and Israel

    – Syrian government aircraft bombed Sunni targets inside Iraq on Tuesday, killing at least 57 civilians and wounding 120. Syrian warplanes also killed at least 12 people in the eastern Iraqi city of Raqqa Wednesday morning. A U.S. official said it was not clear whether the Iraqi government requested or authorized Syrian air strikes in Iraqi territory.

    Israeli warplanes and rockets struck targets inside Syria the same day as Syria struck Iraq.


    Checkmate

    It should be clear that there is no such thing as simply “doing something” in this crisis for the U.S. As with the 2003 invasion itself, no action by the United States can stand alone, and every action by the United States will have regional, if not global, repercussions apparently far beyond America’s ability to even understand.

    A chess game? Maybe, of sorts. While American interest in Iraq seems to parallel American interest in soccer, popping up when world events intrude before fading again, the other players in Iraq have been planning moves over the long game. In the blink of an eye, U.S. efforts in Syria have been exposed as fully-counterproductive toward greater U.S. goals, the U.S. has been drawn back into Iraq, with troops again on the ground in a Muslim war we thought we’d backed out of. The U.S. finds itself supporting Iranian ground forces, and partnering with militias well outside of any government control, with Special Forces working alongside potential suicide bombers who only a few years ago committed themselves to killing Americans in Iraq. What appears to be the U.S. “plan,” some sort of unity government, belies the fact that such unity has eluded U.S. efforts for almost eleven years of war in Iraq.

    In such a complex, multiplayer game it can be hard to tell who is winning, but it is easy in this case to tell who is losing. Checkmate.



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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      “What appears to be the U.S. “plan,” some sort of unity government, belies the fact that such unity has eluded U.S. efforts for almost eleven years of war in Iraq.”

      A plan? Monkeys in zoos throwing their feces at the humans exhibit more planning. Speaking of:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/25/epa-pooping-hallways_n_5530650.html

      06/27/14 12:41 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      2

      quote”In such a complex, multiplayer game it can be hard to tell who is winning, but it is easy in this case to tell who is losing. Checkmate.”unquote

      Well, maybe in ‘Muraka. However, in the youtube/hashtag world, checkmate is what it’s about..propaganda wise, and the ISIS are clearly winning that war.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2014/06/24/iraq-and-isis-waging-war-with-hashtags/

      Meanwhile, the absolute void of any MSM news video is telling. At least to me. Even during Vietnam, America knew what was happening by virtue of REAL news video/film on a daily basis. But Bush saw to it that the Iraq war was “almost” blacked out in regards to MSM video of daily events. Here too. I couldn’t find a single American MSM video scanning Google news. I don’t get MSM “news” on Dish TV. They’ve seen to that. But just in case any of you guys/gals run across video feeds from current Iraq events, could you link to them for me? Thanks

      06/27/14 1:18 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      3

      ps..after scanning Googles “Top Stories”, not one single story on ISIS or Iraq. Of course. Unbelievable.

      06/27/14 1:21 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      4

      quote”A plan? Monkeys in zoos throwing their feces at the humans exhibit more planning.”unquote

      C’maaan Rich. Look at Kerry/Clinton collaborating on preventing another war. ..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9Wh66FXZJQ

      06/27/14 1:27 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      5

      Well well well.. fuck the MSM.. you can find info on the net. America should see THIS..

      http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2014/06/isis_holds_military_parade_in.php#

      AND THIS…in regards to the militarizing of our psycho police..

      http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2014/06/why-prepositioning-militry-hardware-out.html

      06/27/14 4:31 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      6

      Hey, I’ve seen this movie before: the TV series “4400″ symbolized the insanity of the number of US soldiers who were sent to their deaths in Iraq by BUSH INC; both started out with great expectations seeking a GREAT LEAP FORWARD, but was just a TREK to a dead end.

      06/27/14 5:21 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      7

      An asterisk to the checkmate point on Iran:

      “– Should America conduct air strikes in Iraq (some claim they are already stealthily underway), those strikes would be in direct support of Iranian efforts, and perhaps Iranian troops, on the ground.”

      From 1980-1988 — Iran and Iraq fought each other. Our country heavily financed this war, supplying Saddam Hussein with weaponry AGAINST Iran. Over a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers and civilians died.

      When Rumsfeld met Saddam:

      https://www.google.com/search?q=image+rumsfeld+meeting+saddam&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=LbGtU4LLNePD8QHVmoGQCw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=1366&bih=608#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=5GQ3QYq2Rmwe_M%253A%3Bmbxz9qhNuCT7IM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fi14.tinypic.com%252F2d2b2uf.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Falternativeperspective.blogspot.com%252F2006%252F12%252Fsaddam-executed-for-criminal.html%3B1256%3B1141

      06/27/14 6:05 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      8

      quote”From 1980-1988 — Iran and Iraq fought each other. Our country heavily financed this war, supplying Saddam Hussein with weaponry AGAINST Iran. Over a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers and civilians died.”unquote

      Oh, those must have been the “weapons of mass destruction” Rumsfeld et al said Hussein had. Well..he did. We supplied them to him.

      quote”When Rumsfeld met Saddam:”unquote

      Insane. Just fucking insane.

      06/27/14 7:13 PM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      9

      Not Just Iraq this fire wil countinue to other land jsut watch…..

      إضطراب لليوم الثالث في مدينة معان الأردنية والسلطات تتحدث عن “حشاشين” ومهربي مخدرات يرفعون رايات “داعش”
      Trouble for the third day in the Jordanian town of Maan, authorities spoke of “assassins” and “drug traffickers carrying flags daash”

      رأي اليوم- معان
      أعلنت السلطات الأردنية أن مهربي مخدرات ومروجين لمادة الحشيش في مدينة معان جنوبي المملكة يمارسون التمثيل بانهم ينتمون لتنظيم”داعش” بهدف إقلاق الأمن في هذه المدينة المضطربة.
      Jordanian authorities said that drug traffickers and promoters of hashish in the southern town of Maan South the Kingdom are represented as belonging to the “daash” aimed at disturbing the security in this troubled city.
      ولا زالت مدينة معان المحاذية للسعودية وسط صحراء الأردن الجنوبية تشهد إضطرابات لليوم الثالث على التوالي بعد مقتل أحد المطلوبين إثر مداهمة أمنية .
      Maan are adjacent to the Saudi desert of southern Jordan disturbed for the third consecutive day after the killing of a wanted militant after a security crackdown.
      ويؤكد اهالي المدينة أن غرباء عنها يثيرون الأحداث الأمنية فيما تعمل الاجهزة الأمنية فيها على التصعيد.
      Residents of the city confirms that strangers are interfere or raising security incidents as security devices on the escalation.
      وظهرت الجمعة الماضية في وسط مدينة معان تظاهرة هي الأولى من نوعها التي ترفع فيها رايات تنظيم داعش وسط مجموعة من المراهقين الذين قيل أنهم ينتمون لتنظيمات القاعدة.
      last Friday in downtown Maan was the first of its kind event that raises the banners of “Daash” organizing a by teenagers whom allegedly belonged to Al-Qaida organizations.
      لكن الحاكم الإداري في المدينة عادل شمايلة فاجأ الأوساط المحلية الجمعة بتصريح نقتله عنه صحيفة عمون الإلكترونية يقول بأن بعض الحشاشين في المدينة يرفعون رايات داعش ويلبسون زيها ويحاولون الإدعاء بأنهم يمثلونها
      But the administrator in the city Adel shamailh surprised local media Friday to deliver his electronic newspaper Ammon by saying that some of the assassins in the city who waving flags daash and wear uniform and trying to claim that they represent, were drug taker (Hashish) guys.
      وحسب المحافظ الشمايلة لا يوجد ادلة على وجود تنظيمات في المدينة سواء داعش أو غيرها .
      According to the administrator shamaileh there is no evidence both daash or others organizations in the city.
      وإنتقد الشمايلة وجود محاولت لإستثمار الأجواء في المدينة التي تشكو من التهميش من قبل تنظيم الأخوان المسلمين والتيار السلفي.
      He criticized some organisations debt to invest exists referred to the atmosphere in the city complain of marginalisation by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist.
      وكان القيادي البارز في التيار السلفي في مدينة معان أحمد الشلبي- أبو سياف- قد إستنكر إنطلاق مسيرة مؤيدة لداعش في المدينة ووصف المشاركين فيها بأنهم خارجون عن القانون متهما الأجهزة الأمنية بتدبيرها
      The leader of prominent the Salafi Maan Ahmed Al-Shalabi-Abu Sayyaf condim the marsh supporting / the Pro-daash in the city, described the participants as outlaws accused security services involvment.. .
      وتتعرض المدينة لليوم الثالث على التوالي لحملات أمنية بعد إضطرابات متكررة إثر مقتل أحد الشبان خلال مداهمة أمنية.
      For the third consecutive day, the city security crackdowns after frequent disturbances following the killing of one of the young men during a raid on a security.

      http://www.raialyoum.com/?p=112799

      Look to this early domestication in Maan:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEoTDtzAnAw

      06/27/14 7:26 PM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      10

      Kyzl Orda
      Should America conduct air strikes in Iraq (some claim they are already stealthily underway),

      US in full support funded the group in Syria, when Bashar al-Assad strikes and bombing them, western news agencies put all over the world the “Crimes” of Syrian regime.

      Sam group pass the borders to IRAQ, US & Syrian regime , Iran bombing and strike them?
      What’s? Is it a joke?

      06/27/14 7:38 PM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      11

      Our country heavily financed this war, supplying Saddam Hussein with weaponry AGAINST Iran.

      During that war US financed both……
      To refresh your mind
      Iran–Contra affair?

      06/27/14 7:43 PM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      12

      Peter
      The Kurds NOT just to (re)fine that border, there is some fresh news that they preparing to call for independent.

      Isreal Support Kurd State?
      Barzani announces the end of the conflict over the disputed areas.. For the Kurds!

      Why Iraq Is A Write-Off

      06/27/14 7:53 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      13

      06/27/14 10:07 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      14

      Bremer carried only Plan A with him into Baghdad after the shock and awe episode was over – sweep up the rose petals. There was no plan B for true empires don’t need plan B.

      06/27/14 10:17 PM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      15

      داعش يتبنى تفجير احد فنادق بيروت
      Daash announced responsibility foe the explosion one of the hotels in Beirut
      تبنت ما تسمى (ولاية دمشق القلمون) التابعة لتنظيم “داعش” الارهابي في بيان لها التفجير الانتحاري الذي استهدف احد فنادق بيروت في منطقة الروشة الساحلية،
      وبذلك تكون ثاني جهة تتبناه خلال يومين بعدما أصدر لواء “أحرار السنّة” في بعلبك أمس بياناً تبنى فيه التفجير الذي حدث في وقت متأخر الأربعاء.
      The so-called (State of Damascus, qalamoun) of “terrorist organization” daash said in a statement the suicide bombing that targeted a hotel in the coastal area, and the second one sponsored by two days after the Brigade issued a “free year” in Baalbek said a bombing was claimed late Wednesday

      06/28/14 12:01 AM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      16

      Bremer’s Plan A&B both same?

      QUESTION: Since it’s confirmed that Iran is also flying drones over –

      MS. HARF: Well, I didn’t confirm that, but I know there have been reports to that.

      QUESTION: Okay.

      MS. HARF: Matt confirmed it for you earlier. (Laughter.)

      QUESTION: Do you have any issue – are you taking any issue with Iran is flying drones over –
      Bremer carried only Plan A with him into Baghdad

      MS. HARF: Well, we had this – Matt and I have had this conversation this week a few times in this room. Look, what we’ve said is any actions that Iran or any other country in the region should take should all be used towards promoting an inclusive government to helping the Iraqi army shore up and be able to fight ISIL. It shouldn’t be about promoting sectarianism or promoting militias. So I’m not going to comment specifically on some of the reports about Iran, what Iran may or may not be doing, other than to say that anything they would do should – we would push them and encourage them to play into this overall strategical*.

      06/28/14 12:14 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      17

      After reading above comments..

      notes to self..
      1. I’m glad I live in the land that time forgot.
      2. The DCOTP(tm) is confirmed.
      3. Vodka is best served cold with lemon.
      4. Revelations is right on schedule.

      06/28/14 2:17 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      18

      Oh, the Iran-Contra affair! More Neo-Con nostalgia (not really)

      06/28/14 8:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      19

      Kyzl Orda said…

      More Neo-Con nostalgia (not really)??

      Oh yah its alos Kyzl Orda nostalgia, isn’t?

      Lets read:

      “In July 1981 an Argentine cargo jet crashed in Soviet Armenia after delivering Israeli-supplied spare parts for US-made tanks to Tehran. With world-wide attention once again focused on Israeli arms sales to the Khomeini regime, it was soon discovered that this was Israel’s third such load of arms already delivered to Iran that year. Later in the year, the British press documented reports the Defense Ministry of Iran had signed another $135,800,000 contract to purchase Israeli-supplied arms. These arms, which were to be shipped to Iran via Rotterdam/Antwerp, were to include 50 Lance missiles, 68 Hawk missiles, 3730 Copperhead shells with laser guidance systems, and 40 155-mm field guns among other equipment.”

      “In another unusual revelation, Leslie Gelb of the New York Times wrote in the March 9, 1982 issue of the International Herald Tribune that, according to documents in his possession, Israel had sold about half of all the weapons that had arrived in Tehran throughout the previous 18 months.”

      The London-based Observer reported on September 29, 1985 that “Israel is Iran’s most reliable arms supplier with a trade valued at between $500 million and $800 million a year.

      06/29/14 3:45 AM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      20

      Peter
      You may chose this pictur to use instead of the one you put in the top?

      06/29/14 7:28 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      21

      I actually thought the picture shown in this post was of a mannequin that kind of looked like John Kerry. For some reason, he doesn’t look like a living human being in this photo.

      Which, maybe, all things considered….

      06/29/14 7:51 AM | Comment Link

    • jim hruska said...

      22

      WMW,
      It’s possible that the basic problem of US foreign policy is that we are playing chess, and our adversaries are playing Go?
      Another point is that we reinforce failure whilst they reinforce success.
      Why do we do that?
      jim hruska

      06/29/14 1:11 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      23

      Dear Jim –

      It is easier to reinforce failure since policies are too often rooted in egos, not facts on the ground or real needs.

      Supposedly Lenin had said it is better everyone fail than one person succeed. Unfortunately, it often seems our social-political hierarchy is stuck on one of two poles — everyone must fail (because then the neocons don’t seem alone in failure) or it has to *look like* everyone succeeds

      06/29/14 8:01 PM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      24

      So yeah, I’d go back to Iraq. Not out of some deeply felt sense of connection with the Iraqi people or for a closely held sense of moral obligation, because I have neither. Not because of the sunk costs of our losses there, although I still feel them acutely. Not to build a democracy, because the people there aren’t ready for it. Not because “we broke Iraq” or because people are suffering, since I feel pragmatism and self-interest trumps morality in national-level decision-making. The main reason why I am willing to go back to Iraq, as dirty, bloody, and frustrating as it is likely to be, is because I don’t want Iraq to be used as a base to threaten the US or our allies and interests, and I know that acting now might actually save us blood, treasure, and national prestige in the future.
      BACK TO IRAQ:

      07/1/14 8:27 PM | Comment Link

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