Tag Archives: Iran

Who lost Iraq?

Who lost Iraq? Two views:

Fareed Zacharia says that first, above all, Nouri Al-Maliki lost it.

The prime minister and his ruling party have behaved like thugs, excluding the Sunnis from power, using the army, police forces and militias to terrorize their opponents. The insurgency the Maliki government faces today was utterly predictable because, in fact, it happened before. From 2003 onward, Iraq faced a Sunni insurgency that was finally tamped down by Gen. David Petraeus, who said explicitly at the time that the core element of his strategy was political, bringing Sunni tribes and militias into the fold. The surge’s success, he often noted, bought time for a real power-sharing deal in Iraq that would bring the Sunnis into the structure of the government. . .

But how did Maliki come to be prime minister of Iraq? He was the product of a series of momentous decisions made by the Bush administration. Having invaded Iraq with a small force — what the expert Tom Ricks called “the worst war plan in American history” — the administration needed to find local allies. It quickly decided to destroy Iraq’s Sunni ruling establishment and empower the hard-line Shiite religious parties that had opposed Saddam Hussein. This meant that a structure of Sunni power that had been in the area for centuries collapsed. These moves — to disband the army, dismantle the bureaucracy [Moe: thank you Paul Bremmer you creep] and purge Sunnis in general — might have been more consequential than the invasion itself.

Dexter Filkins, noting among other things that the border between Iraq and Syria has been erased, names three causes: 1) the Syrian war, and 2)  Al-Maliki, whose thuggery since the US withdrawal (which itself was necessitated in part by his absolute refusal to sign the usual Status of Forces Agreement to provide legal protections to remaining US Troops), and 3) . . .

Which brings us to the third reason. When the Americans invaded, in March, 2003, they destroyed the Iraqi state—its military, its bureaucracy, its police force, and most everything else that might hold a country together. They spent the next nine years trying to build a state to replace the one they crushed. By 2011, by any reasonable measure, the Americans had made a lot of headway but were not finished with the job . . .

Today, many Iraqis, including some close to Maliki, say that a small force of American soldiers—working in non-combat roles—would have provided a crucial stabilizing factor that is now missing from Iraq.

So Bush broke it and Obama left before it was finished (I’m surprised that Filkins beleives we could ever actually ‘finish’ it). By the way, Filkins is a war correspondent of the ‘old school’ and spent years in Iraq during the war and his book about that time, The Forever War, is just stunning.

 

Not a sea change, but a step. Maybe an important one.

Wow. This is as of 5:00 pm Tehran time. The yellow is votes for Rouhani, the only ‘moderate’ candidate for President in Iran’s elections.

ipos-iranelection-results

This actually happened, in the hallowed halls of the United States Congress, in the very heart of Western Civilization, in the 21st Century

WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Wednesday introduced legislation that would “automatically” punish family members of people who violate U.S. sanctions against Iran, levying sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

The provision was introduced as an amendment to the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, which lays out strong penalties for people who violate human rights, engage in censorship, or commit other abuses associated with the Iranian government.

Cotton also seeks to punish any family member of those people, “to include a spouse and any relative to the third degree,” including, “parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews nieces, grandparents, great grandparents, grandkids, great grandkids,” Cotton said.

It really happened. Today. No kidding.

Chomsky-ish

POSTED BY ORHAN

Applying some of the ideas in last week’s Chomsky post

First, take a look at this map:

MiddleEast-map-iran-iraq-israel-us

Now, consider this hypothetical scenario:

  1. Iran invades and occupies both Canada and Mexico.
  2. Iranian aircraft carriers and destroyers are patrolling the waters ten miles off the coast of Northern Virginia (as today American warships patrol the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz) to “protect Iranian interests.”
  3. The President of the United States announces that, if attacked, America will defend itself.
  4. Iran, before the UN, and using the President’s declaration as proof of US aggression and bellicosity, demands the international community enact economic sanctions and threatens military action “to contain the American threat.”

As an American, what would you think? What would you feel? What would you say?

Well done! We’re right back in 1979; this time in Afghanistan

From today’s story in The Washington Post about the growing demonstrations in Afghanistan following the burning of a pile of Korans.

Nine Afghans were killed Friday [in Kabul]. . . [and]  six protesters and a police officer were killed in Herat Province when demonstrators tried to storm the U.S. Consulate. . . at each demonstrations, protestors shouted ‘Death to America’. . . More than 20 have been killed since the burning incident.

Remove this ‘causus belli’ of the Koran burning and that could have been written in 1979 about Iran, when 52 American Embassy employees were taken hostage.

While I’m on the subject: I haven’t posted that tally lately – Today is the 119th day of the 11th year of the War in Afghanistan.

I’ll bet Iran can see them too

From Jonathan Turley’s site:

Possible nuclear weapons capability, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, a threat to Israel, economic sanctions, fears of links to al Qaeda, and a compliant news media. Sounds like the hype leading up to war with Iraq, but this time it’s Iran. . .

The fear mongering about Iran building nuclear weapons may not work this time. From McClatchy, “The 16 U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Iran’s covert nuclear weapons work remains suspended for now, but could be restarted if the Iranian regime decides to do so.” Bloomberg is reporting that Gill Tudor, spokesman for the IAEA, said “All nuclear material in the [Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant] remains under the agency’s containment and surveillance.” According to the AP, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says Iran “is not yet building a bomb.” . . .

t also appears that intelligence analysts are not going to be pushed around this time. A retired senior intelligence officer said “the guys working on this are good analysts, and their bosses are backing them up.” A Defense Intelligence Agency analyst summed it up by saying “if Iran is not a nuclear threat, then the Israelis have no reason to threaten imminent military action.”

On the map above, each star is a US airbase. Where we have airplanes and stuff.

Barry, don’t do it again

(FOX News and the rest of the GOP gasbaggery establishment were outraged when Obama didn’t support recently overthrown Arab leaders who had been our friends – even if their countrymen had not. Wonder what they’ll say now?)

Palavi ascends the Peacock Throne

In October of 1979, under political pressure, Jimmy Carter made the disastrous decision to allow the newly overthrown dictator, the Shah of Iran, to come to the US for ‘medical treatment’. That didn’t work out so well.  A month later, the US Embassy in Tehran was stormed by angry Iranians. They took 66 Americans hostage and held them until the day of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981.

When the Shah requested ‘medical’ asylum, US-Iranian relations were already shaky and Carter himself at first was opposed to the idea. But he allowed himself to be convinced since the Shah had been one of ‘our’ guys, pretty much installed on the Peacock Throne by the CIA.

And here we go again – sorta. I worried about this in a post last month. And now the Obama Administration is going ahead. They’ve agreed to take in President Salah of Yemen – who resigned yesterday (leaving his own people in charge)  – for ‘medical’ treatment. (Salah had already been treated in Dubai – where the care is superb.) He says he’ll return. Yup.

Certainly Yemen isn’t Iran and the recently ‘resigned’ Salah isn’t the Shah. But his authoritarian regime killed hundreds of protestors and relations between us are not particularly friendly.

Do we ever learn?

 

Dear Elvis, do we never learn from history?

As the Islamists of 1979 were overthrowing their government, Jimmy Carter opened the door to a terrified Shah, citing ‘legitimate medical reasons’.  There was political pressure from the Right to do so as Iran had been a US client state since our CIA (with the Brits) overthrew the last democratically elected Iranian government in 1953.

It went so well that irate Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage, holding them for 444 days.

Now the president of Yemen,  Ali Abdullah Saleh, is being admitted – for ‘legitimate medical reasons’. (The link doesn’t confirm that the decision has been made, but The NY Times says it’s a done deal.)

As Peter, Paul and Mary asked so many years ago, “When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn?”.

Maybe we could open one so we could close it?

According to a tweet from NBC News’ Jamie Novogrod, [Michelle] Bachmann responded to the recent raiding of the British embassy in Iran, by saying that if she was President, she would close down the U.S. embassy there.

Oh, what the hell . . .

Oh, and her short list for VP? Trump, DeMint and Rick Santorum. Unbeatable!

Another unremarked story

This one falls under the radar because Herman Cain had sex again, but not only did a nuclear facility in Iran’s 3rd largest city explode – it was the second one in a month.

This will really help:

Major-General Giora Eiland, Israel’s former director of national security, told Israel’s army radio that the Isfahan blast was no accident. “There aren’t many coincidences, and when there are so many events there is probably some sort of guiding hand, though perhaps it’s the hand of God,” he said.

So the Jewish (and Christian?) god told them to smite those damn Muslims. That’ll go down well.

The U.S. and Iran

After WWII, Winston Churchill said “To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war.” Someone tell that to the remaining neocons, the ones blustering about showing Iran who’s boss.

Oh. Great.

We really need this?

That worked out so well

From last week: Former Iranian president: Rafsanjani is out of any power in the government in Iran. Too bad. He’s somewhat moderate and friendly toward Western culture; his replacement is a strict hard liner. Let us hope Rafsanjani joins the budding opposition movement. He’d be a fine figurehead.

He was the guy who was poised to be re-elected to the Presidency of Iran until the ‘axis of evil’ speech in 2002 insulted the Iranians so thoroughly that they turned around and elected an uber-nationalist instead.

Something new?

Watch yer language citizen!

There were a few protest demonstrations in Tehran today – maybe the orange Green Revolution of last year 2009 has life in it yet. What I saw reported today had an aspect I don’t remember from last year. Yesterday, people in the streets were  calling  for the ouster of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.  I’ve no idea whether that’s because they don’t want to be an Islamic state or if they just want jobs. Either way, calling out Ayatollahs so disrespectfully in public feels new.

UPDATE: Iran is heating up. Just heard that the State Department has established Twitter feeds and Facebook pages in both Arabic and Farsi to broadcast support to the demonstrators.

How Arizona of them!

Suntanned women to be arrested under Islamic dress code

Really