« War Against the Boogey Men | Main | Clinton Steps Forward »

15 January 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

john in the boro

Today’s az-Zaman (http://www.azzaman.com/english/
index.asp?fname=news\2007-01-15\kurd.htm) has a story about Sadr’s counter to the new strategy to secure Baghdad. The cited English version leaves out many details that are in the Arabic version. Sadr ordered his militiamen to go along with the Americans until the “storm passes.” The fix is in with the Iraqi police to release whoever gets scooped up after the “storm” dies down. Further, Sadr asked Ali al-Sistani not to issue a Fatwa in support of the new plan or in support of disbanding the Mahdi Army. Many of Sadr’s cadre dispersed from Sadr City for points south or to Iran over the last week. “Played like a pawn” indeed.

Got A Watch

It's easier to get played when you are dumb as a brick. When you inhabit hallucinatory terrain, the wrong conclusion is likely to be reached.

Prof. Juan Cole lays out quite succintly how the Bushies have failed to understand the Sunni resistance from the beginning, and still fail to grasp any reality. See "Misreading the Enemy"

The same failure to grasp reality can be seen in how America relates to the Shiites, as you ably point out above, and by extension Iran. IMHO Iran has already "conquered" Iraq, all that remains is the mopping up and for America to recognise defeat. This is probably most galling of all to the neo-cons - the fact that they have been totally out-played by Iran, and a key driver of the "Urge to Surge to Defeat".

Reversing this Iranian "victory" seems all but impossible now, no matter how many bombs they may drop. Any action they seem to be likely to take now will only serve to re-inforce inevitable strategic defeat.

The echoes of Vietnam again - win every battle but still lose the war.

Chris Marlowe

This policy is a scaled-down version of what Jay Garner proposed to do in April 2003, before he was over-ruled by Bremer, who disbanded the Iraqi army and introduced the deBaathification policy which was so strongly supported by Chalabi and Wolfowitz.

In April 2003, it might have had an outside chance because the different power factions did not yet have a chance to form.

Today, the Americans are pushing on a string. We have no political leverage for negotiations, so we are put in the position of 'asking' our 'allies' to cooperate.

Stephen Jones

I don't quite know how names in Arabic translate, but I wonder if the Adil Abd Al-Mahdi mentioned here is the same person as former Iraq finance minister Adil Abdel-Mahdi, the fellow who was/is so enthusiastic about opening up the entire Iraqi oil business to foreign investment and control.

I seem to remember him from early 2005, and if I'm not mistaken, I believe there has been some renewed talk of selling off Iraqi oil interests to western companies again quite recently.

Cloned Poster

Played like a Pawn......... yes very much so.

I wonder how many "technology" deals were signed by Olmert in China last week?

Yes, the US are a pawn of Israel first and foremost.

Stanley Henning

What should be eminently clear to all but the most delusional among us (an unfortunate characteristic reflected in our key leadership with fingers on the trigger), that we lose if we do or don't -- in other words, we lose, period! In fact, we have already lost in Iraq. The President's response is to throw more troops in and many are beginning to say "hold the line as we prepare to pull out". The latter view is probably the most sensible under the circumstances. Because of the way we handled this up to now, the Iranian position has been strengthened regardless of our continued bumbling. So, what will we have gained from all this -- a huge waste of precious resources at home and terrible loss of credibility internationally, a greater destabilization in the Middle East, and concomitant strengthening of opposing forces. Because of the nature of the sandbox we have been playing in, we have indeed managed to far outdo our fumbling in Vietnam.

Cloned Poster

Following on from my post above, Bush is like a lottery winner (ask Gore) in the ME, he has $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to spend, they whore him like the novice punter he is, Condi, once you've gone black you go back, is whoring her trade in ME as we speak.

I expect the GOP are going reign in (pun intended) Bush after the Iran fiasco.

Stanley Henning

Oh yes, Neocons out there, I forgot to mention that I'll bet the Chinese are watching all this with great interest and some comfort. After all, it was Sunzi who said, "The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected." Too bad we neglected so much at the start. And I mention China because there is a bigger world out there. While we literally stick our heads in Middle Eastern sand, guess who will access the oil as we flail about, stirring up hate and discontent ? Where is our Grand Strategy when we need it ?


the neo-cons and Cheney's peace-through-strength hard-liners don't need Israel and Likud to have silly ideas.

Abrams of Iran-Contra fame is at the moment trying to instingate a civil war between Fatah and hamas, to the displeasure of about everyone else, starting from the Pentagon, to the Jordanians, Egyptians to the Israelis. Well, typical neo-con style, he just knows better what's good for them I presume.

In fact, that recent remarkable little interview with Meyrav Wurmser, when she expresses dissatisfaction over Israel not attacking Syria, too, suggest that in fact Israel hasn't been crazy enough for their tastes.

John Howley

I am still scratching my head over the newly announced "Bush plan." Iraq is a mess and will continue so for the foreseeable future. The number of added troops is too small and their stay too transitory to change things among the six million Baghdadis.

And all the political confusion in Iraq looks as much like a dust screen as anything else.

Only by focusing on Iran do things seem to click into place. Suppose US-Israel action against Iran is planned for Feb or March. Wouldn't it be prudent to boost combat strength in Iraq to protect supply lines and deter Iranian inspired backlash?


With respect John,

I'm not scratching my head over "The Bush Plan" at all because I think it is completely consistent with NeoCon Military/Industrial Complex intentions, Israeli/Likud intentions, and Bush's own psyche.

1. The NeoCon intentions are clear, that is to bury for at least the next 50 years any concept or promise of a "peace dividend" arising from the demise of the Soviet Union, thereby ensuring that spending on weapon systems will continue unchecked. Maintaining strategic control of the Gulf, oil fields and oil infrastructure is also important. Thats what the codewords "American Interests in the Middle East" refers to.

2. The Israeli/Likud intentions are clear, that is to entangle us in the Middle East and keep us there long enough to destroy Israel's enemies, Iraq, Syria and Iran on her behalf and thereby relieve the Likudniks of making a painful but just peace settlement with the Palestinians.

In short, thats why the policy directions and strategy applied in Iraq have seemed to be so totally and utterly the reverse of what they should have been all along. The real goal being pursued is not the stated one of producing a secular democratic(and presumably prosperous) Iraq at all, for such a country, like a peaceful and prosperous Lebanon, would eventualy have been able to engage Israel in a debate about the Palestinians that Israel could not afford to ignore. Likewise without Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian Islamofascist bogeymen the question of a "peace dividend and winding back our forces would have eventually been raised.

So our actual policies have been designed to fail spectacularly, arouse the muslim world to righteous anger at our behaviour, thereby provoking a war of civilisations that means that the good people at GE in Lynn MA and a million other plants can keep making F404 and T76 engines and similar for decades to come.

Classic examples of such policies include "De-Bathification", Al Ghraib, Guantanamo, Rendition, Torture and other policies too numerous to mention. If I was a real conspiracy nut, I'd ask who selected the rope length that resulted in the decapitation of Barzan Ibrahim. There is a British table (and probably American) that relates it to weight and height. Why wasn't it used? Why was the video released? This is calculated savagery designed to inflame.

We are about to enter the beginning of phase two - the attack on Iran. The "surge" is about delivering calculated savagery to Baghdad, not to destroy the militias but to either provoke Iran or provide the basis for false flag or some other causus Belli.

The reason the press has been so cooperative and strangely supine during all this is that they are owned by either the Neocons or AIPAC.There is a highly coordinated disinformation operation in progress whith two messages. (a) Islamic states are threatening to kill us right now (appeals to males) (b) Islam wants to take over the world (which resonates with females afraid for their children).

As for Bush, the "plan" he has adopted is straight from the AEI/Likudnik playbook. Losing in Iraq would be a disaster - for Bush psychologically. His father has tried to get him out of the mess via Baker/Hamilton, but the Likudniks at the AEI have grabbed him, stuck him firmly back in it, and advised him to keep wading in deeper - something which he must do in a vain attempt to avoid being labelled the worst President ever - and possibly even the last.

Peter Principle

"That change of faces will keep Bush/Cheney in play for a few months while they contemplate the evidence that they will then have handed the reins to an Iranian surrogate."

They handed Iraq over to Iranian surrogates two years ago. And were quite proud of it, as I recall -- waving purple fingers all the way.

anna missed

So Casey is saying the "surge" won't yeld results for 6-9 months, there's already trepidation about the mixed mini base arrangements, the Mahdi are melting off to the south -- yeah sure, some inspired counterinsurgency moves, telegraphing itself into a Vigra run to the Rite-Aid.

So why would'nt the benchmarked Maliki play the hand he has, just like he's being played by the occupation. And seeing that the U.S. can't come up with anything but military solutions to political problems, it leaves Maliki free reign to bullshit the bullshiter, at least until "your time is up" as Flip Wilson would say (in a relative era) or at least until al-Mahdi or the cellophane man is ushered in to sign the belated oil laws. Then it really falls apart.


"Yes, the US are a pawn of Israel first and foremost. "

Actually both Israel and the u.S. are prisoners of the Israel's rabid U.S. supporters, the Neokon Likudniks and Xtian Zionists. (The Israel Lobby)

There are many reasonable Israelis and even Sharon himself cautioned Dumbya about occupying Irak. A Peace deal has been fleshed out between Syria and Israel which includes parkland, water rights, Hezbollah, Hamas, but is blocked by of course Dumbya.

On a related matter. The Saudi-Israel alliance has Sino reprocssions. The Saudi will be filling the Chinese three month petroleum strategic reserve. That's why the Chinese recently urged Iran to address the U.N's "legitimate nuclear concerns."

The chineese have also blasted the rapids in loas and have made the Mekong river navigable from Thailand to China. They have an alternative oil shipping route to the straits of Malacca.


Robert G. Kaiser has a good article "Trapped by Hubris, Again" in
the Washington Post,Sunday, January 14, 2007

But he does not pursue the analysis to its logical conclusion. He ends by defining the lessons learnt from Vietnam and, now, Iraq. Precise goals : these people had them, though not the ones they publicly articulated. Understanding : they didn't need it, because they had the force to overcome any problem (they still think that!). Strong
local support : they had that "through Chalabi & Co". A political plan :
they had that,too (instal Chalabi and help him keep the yokels quiet while
they stripped the country from under them, while the region quaked at their

None of these undoubtedly sound principles matter when a populace of idiots
elect (and re-elect) a bunch of sharpers,grifters and other assorted crooks
fronted by another idiot. This is where the system's institutional checks and balances are supposed to kick in, but if the system is as corrupted as this one is, they don't function.

That leaves just the individual and his or her conscience. For Vietnam,
enough individuals finally stood up and said : No more! Even when they were
reviled, ridiculed, beaten, even killed, by the establishment, they would not give up. And finally they prevailed. A similar movement is now starting for the futile killing in Iraq to stop.

But these are not the individuals who should have to stop a country that has been hijacked by crooks or madmen or even well-meaning idiots, and is heading towards a disaster. Where are the individuals of conscience within the establishment who are prepared to take personal risks for the larger good? Willing to sacrifice a career, face ostracism, be publicly attacked, lose financially,
if that is what it takes to make a stand on principle?

Is the establishment so corrupted that there is no one left with enough moral
fibre to do this? Even in Rome at its most corrupt and despotic there were
men who retired to their homes, lay down in a tub and opened a vein: if they
could not stop it, at least they would not be part of it! But, here, we have only the Powells, Zinnis, Scowcrofts, Fords and their sorry kind, murmuring their disagreements into their sleeves (or the tape-recorders for their memoirs).

Babak Makkinejad


I think you also need to include the very close relationship that exists between Israel's Labour Party and the Democratic Party in US. This relationship is very initmate, specially among the higher echelons of both parties.


While certainly not a smoking gun, I found http://www.iraqslogger.com/index.php/post/761/Sunnis_Allege_Sadr_A_Saddam_Executioner>this post in a Sunni website interesting. They are suggesting Muqtada al-Sadr was one of Hussein's executioners. This might explain why some were chanting "Muqtada - Muqtada" so enthusiastically just before the door opened. Even if al-Sadr wasn't there, I am sure the stories are already spreading, and increasing his influence.
Crazy stuff.

Brian Forester

This is not directly related to your post but it still came to mind:

Petraeus was once asked why Iraq had no George Washingtons. "Because," he replied, "Saddam would have had them taken out and shot."
"Iraq: Blame the Top Brass?"


The new focus on Iran requires no Israeli conspiracy. Terrorist links and Iran's nuclear program may be real vital interests to Israel but they are just as much a pretext for DC as the fictions that span us into Iraq.

At stake is the greatest geopolitical prize in the world. This is now an increasingly desperate battle to maintain the status quo and keep the Persian Gulf an American lake. The fall of Sunni Iraq destroyed the delicate balance of power between the rising power of Iran, their restive Shi'a Arab brethren, the Turks and the Sunni Arab world. Regional war looms in any case.

The unipolar dream having died out in the Iraqi sand DC now must play unfamiliar games of state. Even if this vain vacuous administration had the will it lacks diplomatic ability to play smart especially against the chess players in Tehran. There will be no cunning game based on subtle diplomacy and deep regional knowledge. Bush won't use Iran as logical swing asset; tightening its grip on its crumbling Sunni vassal states by schmoozing with Tehran. That would be like expecting a toddler to confidently juggle buzzsaws.

DC then must either accept failur and cut its losses or taking another desperate risk: provoke the wily Mullahs into a conventional military confrontation and bludgeon them back from The Prize with massive USAF strikes against their entire military complex.

Tehran will resist this strategem. It will bide it's time and quietly play its deft imperial game with the Shi'a factions of Iraq.

It is perhaps a mistake overestimate the Bush team. Apart from masterly spin and some deft bureaucratic backstabbing they've demonstrated a striking incompetence with any kind of complex scheming. What we see looks like ineptly confronted deepening chaos not an artful conspiracy. Mickey Mouse confronted by marching buckets. The POTUS judging by his rhetoric, which increasingly features the ingratitude of the Iraqis he selflessly liberated, is just as likely to call the USAF down on Iran at the point when even he acknowledges all is lost in Iraq. He clearly thinks he does not need anything but a thinly spun pretext and on this he may be right.


Walter E. Jones, R-NC is my Congressman. I crossed party lines to vote for him this last election.

Patrick Buchanan "Mr. Bush: Meet Walter Jones"
"Bush's contempt for Congress is manifest and, frankly, justified.

Asked if Congress could stop him from surging 21,500 troops into Iraq, Bush on "60 Minutes" brushed aside Congress as irrelevant.

"I fully understand (the Congress) could try to stop me from doing it. But I've made my decision. And we're going forward." Asked if he had sole authority "to put the troops in there no matter what the Congress wants to do," Bush replied, "In this situation I do, yeah."

Is Congress then impotent, if it does not want war on Iran?

Enter Rep. Walter Jones, Republican of North Carolina.

The day after Bush's threat to Iran, Jones introduced a Joint Resolution, "Concerning the Use of Military Force by the United States Against Iran." Under HJR 14, "Absent a national emergency created by attack by Iran, or a demonstrably imminent attack by Iran, upon the United States, its territories, possessions or its armed forces, the president shall consult with Congress, and receive specific authorization pursuant to law from Congress, prior to initiating any use of force on Iran."

Jones' resolution further declares, "No provision of law enacted before the date of the enactment of this joint resolution shall be construed to authorize the use of military force by the United States against Iran."

If we are going to war on Iran, Jones is saying, we must follow the Constitution and Congress must authorize it. "

Different Clue

And here is yet another theory. As Global Warming becomes more undeniable,and burning more fossil Carbon becomes more unacceptable, where will Urbanized Mankind
turn for mass quantities of energy? Probably nuclear energy.
The Western Powers and Japan foresee this. They envision a future of nuclear
reactors all over the Third World. But..THEY want to be
the Sole Suppliers of enriched uranium fuel rods to all those Third World nuclear reactors. The only way they can be the Sole Suppliers is if Third World Countries are prevented from
enriching their own uranium.
Iran's enrichment program threatens to abort the Fuel
Rod monopoly desperately hoped for by the yet-to-be-formed (waiiittt for it...)
OFREC! The Organization of Fuel Rod Exporting Countries!
(By the way, here is an even stranger theory. Chief
Justice Taney was a closet Abolitionist. He felt that the only way to get slavery abolished was to help get rendered a decision so divisive as to lead to a secession of some kind which
would be defeated, and in consequence of which defeat slavery would be abolished.
A very strange theory, I know.)
As to FB's comment above,I grant that a lot of people actually did vote for
Bush. But I am still not satisfied that Bush actually
won either election. Be downhearted over the lack of
a Ukrainian response to an apparently Ukrainian election, but take heart in the large number of non-idiots who either voted against Bush, or wanted to but were prevented from doing so by bogus voter-roll
purging, contrived voting-machine shortages in likely
Democratic districts, etc.


Babak is absolutely right. The Israeli Lobby includes the Democrats as well as the Repubs.

That's what in fairness the very next line from Buchanan's column is the devastating one.

"If Biden, Kerry, Clinton and Obama refuse to sign on to the Jones resolution, they will be silently conceding that Bush indeed does have the power to start a war on Iran. And America should pay no further attention to the Democrats' wailing about being misled on the Iraq war. "


TR Stone

The best comment I can make is, watch the beginning of the Johnny Depp movie "Ed Wood" where Johnny Depp (Ed Wood) says "I know I didn't do well last time, but this time I'll do better!".


While I think it's pretty clear to anybody but the hard core koolaid drinkers that everything out of the Bush cabal's lips regarding the rationale for war was a complete and utter lie, it is still amazing to me that the original causus belli for the 'war' has been completely ignored. Just for the record, can somebody here confirm one way or another that the Shia were not involved with the original Al Qaeda?

Unfortunately for the world, I think the current Bush cabal has balls bigger than their brains, and their plan is about nothing more than playing smashmouth with anybody who dares to cross them. There are natural limits to power, and if they persist with carrying out their pipe dreams, my opinion is that the results will be something far less than they could have ever imagined, along the lines of the Israeli 'defeat' last summer, multiplied by a thousand or more.

TR Stone

" I'll do better this time"
Johnny Depp as ED WOOD (better yet as GWB)!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

January 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
Blog powered by Typepad