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06 October 2006


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Richard Whitman

Do you think the Iraq Study Group under James Baker/Lee Hamilton due to report after the election will recommend anything alog these lines?


Minister Nuri al-Maliki:
"who President George W. Bush has championed as a strong leader"

I guess it takes a strong leader to know a strong leader..

Hannah K. O'Luthon

Well, if Iraq is indeed now partitioned, at least our most faithful ally in the region will have achieved its long term objective (the Yinon plan) at a bargain basement price in (its) blood and treasure. It would be interesting to know the operational details of just how that happened.


A US military presence in the Kurdish area of a partitioned Iraq would go a long way toward keeping the Turks relatively quiescent. It would also protect an area that comes closest to the proclaimed "ideal" so badly mishandled by the Bush administration.



I’ve thought, from the moment I watched him bring it up the first time, that Warner's mention of going back and reexamining the Sept 2001 "Authorization for Use of Military Force" to see if it supported “intervention” in a civil war in Iraq got their attention. To the extent that anything the Congress does ultimately gets their attention. It was shortly after that, a week or so, that the first stories appeared implying, via anonymous sources in the military, that AQ, or “foreign fighters” were ‘in control’ of Anbar Province.

Warner must know what Baker is going to propose after the election. Essentially, the race for the GOP nomination in 08 officially begins about 10 seconds after Baker makes his ‘recommendations’. Who will be the fastest to embrace them? Who will resist them the most?

If the de facto partition of Iraq is formalize….no matter what else happens, it will be seen as the main goal of the Iraq invasion. We will be burdened with the legacy of having done Israel’s bidding and destroyed the largest and most technologically advanced oil producing Arab state. And it will be viewed as a great victory for Israel. Accurate perception of reality, as a necessary perquisite, will have little to do with this view. (although I am not sure how off base such assumptions are) It is just the way the end result will be viewed.

All and all…not a very helpful legacy for the US nation. Good for the Kurds…good for the oil companies. Good for Iran. Perhaps. Good, in the short run, for Israel. Probably good for Syria. Very bad for Saudis…..which, in turn, might be seen as good for the oil companies. Very good for the US military to the limited extent there are those among it who seek to maintain a presence on the ground in the ME. As I wrote, all and all…very bad for the American people.

My take anyway…..


I have always believed that Sen. Warner is a good man. But the cynic in me wonders if his new thinking on realism in Iraq policy will be like his "compromise" on legalizing indefinite detention and abrogation of habeas corpus and due process for anyone labeled as an "enemy combatant". In any case better late than never. Its good to have real debate with facts on the best way forward with our Iraq project.

Charles Degutis

Re: Will Turkey accept a Kirkuk-based Kurdistan? Well, Turkey has long, loudly and violently opposed Kurdish nationalism on both sides of the border, and has been reported as having troops operating 6-7 km inside Iraq. Israeli's have been reported training Kurds. Debkafile posted a detailed report September 24, 2006 about Turkish and Iranian co-ordinated preparations for war in Iraqui Kurdistan and the seizure of their desired bits. Turkey in its present composition would never allow the establishment of Kurdistan, aspirations to the E.U be damned.


Eventual partitioning will make the Turkish decision not to allow the 4th ID to stage from there in 2003 that much more impressive. I wonder, what were the Turks saying in private counsel with the Administration back then?

I'm still suspicious of the Bush Administration's reasons for invading. I can't believe they ever intended to properly rebuild the Iraqi nation.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

Can't Iraq be modeled after Lebanon?

Duncan Kinder

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said the U.S. should consider a ``change of course'' in Iraq if the government there can't stabilize the country in the next two to three months.

Atrios has become famous for his use of "Friedmans" to designate six month intervals as projected time periods for things to materialize in Iraq.

I haven't checked Atrios' blog, but now we could have a "Warner," equal to between one half and one third of a Friedman.

Sooner or later, we are going to have to insist that our pundits and politicians make evaluations of Iraq based entirely on the situation as it may exist at that time and not permit them to hold open some time period for future developments.

Otherwise, one thing would be certain about Iraq - that we shall remain in limbo there till the cows come home.


Could the Iraqi partition resemble the erstwhile British India partition on sectarian lines?

Not happy results. Millions were killed during the partition process and several wars were fought afterward. It seems that nuclear detente has arrested the slide even if the terms of partition have not yet been fully accepted.

With US & Israeli support Kurdistan is well on its way. Turkey could be "bribed" with EU membership and agreement with Turkish Kurds to not initiate secession. US forces will probably have to provide the DMZ control to prevent Sunnistan from fighting for Kirkuk.

If an American policy of non-interference in return for draining of the jihadist swamp can be achieved there is a possibility that the ME could be stabilized. However, it seems the genie is out of the bottle and the ascendancy of the Islamists may not be easily thwarted. Can the regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan survive for long?

W. Patrick Lang


You are a naughty man and a proof of my thesis that Persians are among the clever of the earth. pl


Don't the Persians regard themselves and the Chinese as the only "great" peoples of greater Asia? (The Chinese have a slightly narrower view.)


In a partitioning scenario who gets Baghdad and would a potential Shiastan really let the kurds keep Kirkuk? And who would lead the shiastan? Sadr or the persians. Isn't a warlord scenario similar to afghanistan or lebanon more likely where control of territory depends on militia and tribal size. In other words total anarchy in the heart of the ME.


w/ regard to Webb, the latest poll shows Maccaca ahead again with a double digit lead. DAMN

I think that Doug Feith's Likudnik objective all along was the breakup of Irak when he directed Bremer to instigate the dissolution of the Iraki Army, Police, and the deep deBaathication contrary to Jay Garner's plans. This is just the end game now.

Kirkuk, the Turks can say is an Iraki Turkoman city before all these population changes and they could in their own eyes make a legitimate claim to it. A third of the Turkish population in Turkey proper is Kurdish. The so-called mountain "Turks" had long been supressed and until recently forbidden to speak their native language. Would Turkey allow a wealthy Kurdistan controllilng oil-rich Kirkuk to exist?

Meanwhile the elephant in the room. What happens when Israel nukes/bombs Iran? The Kurds are Sunni. But the Kurds are still Muslims and the Kurdish language is very close to Farsi. Are they going to give a shxt?

Probably not, they are self-absorbed. Will they share the oil-wealth to make a deal? Probably not, they feel they are at their zenith. What was that Latin phrase we were talking about a few days ago. Look behind you, remmeber you are a man. The Kurds act like there is no tomorrow. The Americans and Israelis will be there to hold their hands forever.

"The Kurdish language is an Indo-Iranian language spoken in the region called Kurdistan, including Kurdish populations in parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.[1] Kurdish is an official language in Iraq while it is banned in Syria where it is forbidden to publish material in Kurdish [2]. Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish, prohibiting the language in education and broadcast media.[3] The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q which do not exist in the Turkish alphabet have led to judicial persecution in 2000 and 2003 [4] [5]. In Iran, though it is used in the local media and newspapers, it is not allowed to be taught in schools [6] [7]. As a result many Iranian Kurds have left for Iraq where they can study in their native language.[8]

The Kurdish language belongs to the western sub-group of the Iranian languages which belong to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages family. The most closely related languages to Kurdish are Balochi, Gileki and Talysh, all of which belong to the north-western branch of Iranian languages. Persian which belongs to the south-western branch, is also considered a related language."

Best Wishes


"Eventual partitioning will make the Turkish decision not to allow the 4th ID to stage from there in 2003 that much more impressive. I wonder, what were the Turks saying in private counsel with the Administration back then?"

sorry, I missed that.
the Turks turned down billions in bribe money. What they wanted was simple. To accompany the American invasion force into Irak. I believe they wanted a 3:1 Turkish ratio to the Americans entering from Turkey. Bush actually turned down an offer of more coalition troops.

That's because the Kurds said they would fight the Turks.

Best Wishes


Col. Lang,

I don't see how a de jure partition could be accomplished with the present US government. And that brings a smooth de facto one into question, too. Both would fall under the heading of "Dictators never know when they're beaten." They prefer to upend the chess table rather than concede.

Yes, the LRRPs are on the case and the fixer was in Tehran (Baker). I just can't see junior, much less his father/grandfather surrogates, rolling over on this one. Their graceful exits do not compute for me. What odds would you give on de facto vs. de jure, and when?

Fate has such a bitter sense of irony. It was Bush Sr.'s task to write the letter to Nixon asking him to resign. What he must feel when he thinks of his son. Maybe it comes out as "Babs, pass me the Halcion."



A banner week for the White House. Susan Ralston resigns:




"A map prepared by a retired U.S. military officer that sketches Turkey as a partitioned country was presented at the NATO’s Defense College in Rome, where Turkish officers attend. The use of the map at a conference meeting by a colonel from the U.S. National War Academy angered Turkish military officers...........Turkish officers also briefed Ankara about the developments relevant to the incident."


Webb's not that far behind:

Duncan Kinder

In the interests of full disclosure, I have finally hecked Atrios' blog, and my statement, "I haven't checked Atrios' blog, but now we could have a "Warner," equal to between one half and one third of a Friedman," turned out to be imprecise.

Instead, according to Atrios, a "Warner" instead equals precisely one half of a Friedman.

Explaining his use of the Friedman, Atrios states:

I know regulars understand this, but for those coming in late and wondering what all the discussion of Friedman Units of time is about, it began with FAIR pointing out that Friedman was forever labeling the next six months in Iraq as a critical, decisive time. But the real issue isn't about prognostication, but about the perpetual punting of The Iraq Question to a future date. It allows the pundit, or politician, to seem Real Concerned About The War without actually bothering to take it seriously.

James Pratt

Peter Galbraith is a Democrat for one thing, a partition would outrage the Saudis and the Turks for another. The Shi`a part would have a major problem with the Sadrists, both of the Sadr factions oppose partition. Fourth, exchanging the many enclaves would create at least two million refugees in a part of the world notorious for arming refugees. Does Galbraith speak Arabic?



You are correct. Iraq as a whole is lost. We may be able to save the pieces. I do suspect you are too optimistic with the phrase "sensible American military strategy". This assumes that Rumsfeld and Cheney will cease micromanaging and allow the military and intelligence communities to do their jobs. It also assumes Bush will actually step up to the plate as a President enacting policy based on reality. I see no signs that these necessary steps are about to happen. I strongly suspect that Iraq is now a pawn in a much more "serious" Republican campaign to retain control of the US Congress all being run by that master of US foreign policy - Karl Rove.

Just my two cents,



I guess you're right, Pat, and I have to agree that this kind of chaos was at the very least an acceptable alternative to that wondrous pie-in-the-sky regional democratic transformation shite they were peddling.

But just who does anyone suppose will control the oil pipelines out of there?

The easy, extant pipeline routes go through Syria and Jordan, and they have the added advantage of not going through the Arabian Sea. Semi-autonomous Kurdistan can't exist without oil revenue.

Bolstering this Kurdish region could well mean "regime change" in Syria, especially considering that controlling the pipeline would also provide leverage against the Iranians. Then there's always the old Haifa line, which would mean "regime change" in Jordan too.

As long as the big geo-political resource game is controlling oil flows, this federationist solution doesn't remove a single US uniform from the region. Which bush has pretty much said already-- we're there as long as he's in the White House.

Boggles the mind.


The purpose of Condoleezza Rice's visit to the Middle East is becoming clear - to encourage Arab states to form an alliance against Iran.


The idea is to form a "moderate" alliance in which Israel and some of the Arab countries (principally Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states) would join forces to combat Iranian influence, and Shia influence more generally.

This is partly motivated by American/Israeli desires to "get" Iran but also an attempt to repair damage from the 34-day war in which Israel accidentally bolstered the regional standing of Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hizbullah.

How credible is this? A Israeli-Sunni Arab-US alliance against Iran?

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