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The State of Affairs in Iraq

By ProtiusX ·
This is a statement from a buddy who is still in Iraq. If he is reading this post let me say that I saw the photo of him and another co-conspirator (who will remain unnamed) going after more helipad lights. I worry about you guys! Don't loose your head over a couple of lights.
"Randy commented that he and Dave heard a report on how Iraqi bankers are being terrorized, etc.

The other day, while having my haircut, the barber confided he is scared to death of the Mahdi militia and he doesn't think much of PM Maliki, "Maliki, you know, you know, Maliki, he Iran [points finger to head], he Iran." He then elaborated, "Maliki 'Ali Baba', you know; you know Ali Baba? Maliki Ali Baba, Ali Baba" - which I took as a reference to Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Baba).

The flip side of this is Kurdistan. So, even if Iraq flies apart at the seams, Kurdistan can survive on its own. Kurdistan is safe, developing with two new international airports, and resource rich with newly discovered untapped oil fields. (www.theotheriraq.com)

There are four or five banks with heavy foreign investments (see attached), and they are expanding - primarily into Kurdistan."

So my friend and I have discussed this before but I wanted to put it to a larger audience - What are your thoughts on the future for Iraq?

Scenario #1 Democrats gain huge leads in mid-term elections and force the administration to begin troop withdrawals from Iraq.
In this scenario the external forces that have put so much pressure in Iraq will become invigorated and will turn their aggressions on the current Iraqi government. Civil war will ensure with the Kurds confining themselves to Kurdistan to the north and doing what it can to close its southern borders. The Shiite south will align itself with Iran. While I do not see the Arab Shiites joining nationally with the Persian Shiites I do see a strong theocratic bond that will then turn its resources against other western interests in the area (primarily Israel). The Sunni minority will suffer the most while being relegated to the eastern dessert the people will be impoverished and will either flee to Syria, or will continue to wage an increasingly feeble civil aggression against the Kurds to the north and the Shiites to the south.

Scenario #2 The Republicans maintain control of house and the senate and the efforts in Iraq get ramped up.
The difficulty in Iraq is that while the Coalition forces know what should happen to stabilize the country the political leaders of the new Iraqi government are not willing to become so draconian and do what needs to be done. Muqtada Al Sadr is a prime example of this. He should have been arrested along time ago and his Madi Army should have been forcibly disbanded. The Iraqi government and it's military has been given increasingly more responsibility for it's own security over the past year. During this time foreign fighters have flooded into the country from Syria and Iran and while opposed to one another have both attacked Iraqi government forces (army and police) and the coalition forces.

Bottom line is: If we cut and run now Iraq WILL descend into civil war which will destabilize the region for years to come. If we stay we must convince the Iraqi government to do what is necessary to win the war and repel the foreign terrorists that have infiltrated Iraq.

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Kurdistan and points South

by neilb@uk In reply to The State of Affairs in I ...

is, I fear, potentially a ticking time-bomb. At the moment, they're quite happy to have escaped the control and emnity of Saddam Hussein and are enjoying their new-found autonomy and the wealth coming from the US.

Kurdistan as a cultural, racial and geographic entity, however, spreads across a significant part of Turkey and portions of Iran and Syria. Nationalism - with or without religion thrown in - is a strong force and is something that the Iraqi Kurds are revelling in since Desert Storm. When they decide that they want an autonomous "Greater Kurdistan", more sh@t will hit more fans! Turkey may well be in the EU by then!

OK, now for the tricky one!

As for Iraq as a whole, the only rational argument for continuing as we are is that things will be worse if we leave. I would like to point out that when the US were forced out of Vietnam we were assured of a bloodbath and the fall of the "South East Asian Dominoes". Neither happened and the US remained a world power. We've already covered the lie that if you did not drop the bomb on Hiroshima, you would have to invade Japan and huge casualties would follow. We all know now and knew then that this was not true.

Let's be frank about it no one knows what will happen if we and the United States withdraw. We have little choice even if we step back from the political rhetoric: there will be increasing chaos if we stay, we do not know what will follow if we leave.

We should get out as soon as possible. The UN - hated though they are by the US - should arrange for an international group of peacekeepers and negotiators from the Arab countries to bring together Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, and work out a solution that suits the Iraqis and not the US. The UN should arrange for shipments of food and medicine, from the United States, the UK and other countries, as well as engineers to help rebuild the country with no strings attached.

I have to stress that the UK and the United States, having destroyed Iraq through two invasions and ten years of sanctions, should play no role in the future of the country other than to supply money. The United States should withdraw from Iraq and the international community, particularly the Arab world, should try to reconstruct a nation. That gives the Iraqi people a chance.

Neil

sorry to disagree with you but then, I always was a pessimist and I do hope that I'm wrong.

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Don't think you are though

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Kurdistan and points Sout ...

Iraq will break up eventually, only someone like madman hussein could keep a country like this together.

Whether the breakup will be less violent or more with continued intervention is something we'll never know.

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"only someone like madman hussein could keep a country like this together."

by deepsand In reply to Don't think you are thoug ...

This was a point I raised elsewhere prior to the invasion, as the over-arching reason for arguing against invading, as well as here after such, but now as the root cause of the current morass.

For taking such a stance, I was held up to ridicule and scorn by many here; still, I held my ground. I now say to all who villified me, (edited out of a respect for civility.)

GWB either failed to understand, or chose to ignore, the fact that, like not a few other countries, Irag was and is not a nation, but rather a loose and contrived confederation of parties in conflict, bound together by the force of a sufficiently powerful and ruthless ruler. Remove said force and all **** breaks loose.

Humpty Dumpty has fallen, and all the King's Horses and all the King's Men can do nothing to put him together again.

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I would have backed you up if I'd have seen in it

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to "only someone like madman ...

You only have to look at the break up of the USSR and the balkan states for a bit of a clue.

States jammed together from disparate ethnic and religious leanings where one particular section of the population has exercised extreme control to keep their pre-eminence always go bang.

Anyone who pulls their head out of the sand for a furtive look round should be able to see this.

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The question whose answer eludes me is ...

by deepsand In reply to I would have backed you u ...

how is it that those of us standing on the deck can see the mast of an approaching vessel on the horizon, while those up in the crows nest give no warning of such? And, if they do, their cries are ignored by the captain?

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Agree and some disagree

by ProtiusX In reply to Kurdistan and points Sout ...

You may be spot on regarding the Kurdistan question but I must disagree with some of the points you've made.
A blood bath did occur in the vacuum that was Vietnam and hundreds of thousands of people were murdered and imprisoned for their complicity with the South Vietnamese government and the US. I know this as I have a friend who was born in South Vietnam in 1968, and remembers his father being drug from the house in 1976 never to return again. It was a crime for his or his family to enquire where the Vietnamese government took their father. They learned later that he had been taken to a re-education camp and then executed. The other lesson we can learn from Vietnam comes from the testimony of North Vietnamese Army officers who stated that the war was all but over after Nixon bombed the North but they were encouraged to persevere when the listened to American radio and read American news reports about the unrest in the US. They knew if they could hold out the American's would loose heart and go home. That is precisely what happened. We left our friends and allies to their fates.
So, I disagree and say that we should stay in Iraq and ramp up our attacks on the insurgency until such time as they are dead or loose their resolve.
The other point that I have to disagree with you on is the destruction caused by the "US and UK" forces. Firstly, let me point out that while certainly in the majority the coalition forces consist of more than our two nations. I have pictures to prove this. I worked with Lithuanians, Latvians, Italians, Poles, Georgians, El Salvadorians, Japanese and even Mongolians. The thing I disagree on is the level of destruction allegedly caused by the Multi-National Forces in Iraq. The amount of money being spent on constructing schools, hospitals, housing, roads, and water treatment facilities and so on is staggering. No one knows about this because it is not news worthy but I can assure you it is happening. These services are being done without Iraqi compensation at any level.
The only destruction that is occurring of Iraqi property is by the constant bombings and explosions perpetrated by the foreign terrorists who are **** bent on fomenting a civil war.
There is no vested interest in Iran or the other surrounding nations to have a stable democracy in Iraq and that is why the foreign element has infiltrated into Iraq and is bent on destabilization.

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Vietnam

by neilb@uk In reply to Agree and some disagree

I guess I have a different perspective on Vietnam as - thank God - my country was well out of that one and I was a teenager with little interest. I had become a little more interested in wider world affairs during the very last stages.

I do believe that the lessons of Vietnam which cost your nation so dear are being ignored. The US withdrawal from Vietnam was done on the basis that the local south Vietnamese forces would "fill the gap", your troops now, like then, are under enormous pressure, support for the war at home is decreasing. I'm expecting - I hope I'm wrong - something akin to My Lai.

As to what happened after the war. Well, simply to say that had you not got involved in the first place in what was really a proxy war agains Russia, events would have progressed differently.

The historical parallels are too close for comfort.

As for Iraq, given that the majority of the foreign insurgents are there to stir the crap up and foment civil war in Iraq for your benefit, I leave you to extrapolate a solution.

As for your comment "no vested interest in Iran or the other surrounding nations to have a stable democracy in Iraq". Well of COURSE NOT. But then anyone will an ounce of political savvy KNEW that. But your President has to do something to keep his bogus "War on Terror" going so he destabilises the region as much as he possibly can. Hello? How sensible is that!

Neil

p.s. Israel's up to her old tricks, I see. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6112386.stm

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The vested interest

by NickNielsen In reply to Agree and some disagree

There is no vested interest in Iran or the other surrounding nations to have a stable democracy in Iraq and that is why the foreign element has infiltrated into Iraq and is bent on destabilization.

Of course not. The last thing Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, or Iran want in the region is another Western-style democracy; one is too many. Anybody with half a lick of political sense has known this for decades.

The only thing the Saudis want less is a Shiite-dominated state, democratic or otherwise, on their northern border. Why do you think they tolerated Saddam for so long?

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Foreign and Domestic

by onbliss In reply to Agree and some disagree

For any kind of violence committed by foreign forces to be sustainable, there needs to be domestic support.
Say if we think the violence is caused only by foreigners, then we would find three categories of Iraqis, those:
1)Supporting the violence
2)Opposing the violence
3)Indifferent to the violence

Even if the people in categories (2) and (3) were to be in the majority, there should be sizable (1) category people for the violence to last this long. Without the common people's support violence would fizzle out faster. Jammu & Kashmir, Srilanka, Afghanistan, Palestine, French Resistance helping Allied soldiers, Lebanon etc. are just few examples where the "foreign hand" could not have accomplished much without local sympathy and support.

It might not be possible to know the numbers of infiltrators and domestic supporters, but it would be naive if we believe that it is just the infiltrators that are causing all the trouble.

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Viet Nam

by DelbertPGH In reply to Agree and some disagree

After the U.S. left Viet Nam, there was plenty of murder, some in South Viet Nam, much more in Cambodia. Two or three million Cambodians died, killed by the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese, who later invaded to get the country quiet.

What did not happen was that Thailand or the Philippines or Maylaya fell to communism. Our prestige was not shattered; we did not lose the cold war. America came out okay, having left a war it should not have gotten into, and where it could not achieve victory.

Victory in Viet Nam was not a matter of defeating the North's army. Victory was establishing a good-guy government in the South, which would unify the people, keep the communists from operating and recruiting new soldiers, and allow us to leave. There was no chance of the good-guy government appearing in Viet Nam to save us from our problems, any more than there is in Iraq. That's why it was smart to leave Viet Nam. That's why it was so dumb to repeat virtually the same mistakes in Iraq.

(Protius is right, of course, that almost all the destruction caused in Iraq from 2003 to today was by the insurgents. Most of them are Iraqi, though, not foreigners. And regardless of who is blowing up the country, Arab pretzel logic blames the U.S. as the root cause.)

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