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20 December 2009

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Yohan

I would expect that the Iraqis would want to draw us into this since I'm guessing the Iraqi army can't provide a credible deterrent to Iranian encroachment.

It's one thing for an emboldened client to withhold favors owed to a weakened patron, but quite another for a vulnerable client to eschew any help from a patron when the client is dealing with a more powerful rival.

Does the SOFA require the US to defend Iraq's territorial integrity?

markfromireland

A little context might be useful for your readers.

That particular oilfield is shared between Iran and Iraq. (The exact placing of the border hasn't ever been resolved since Ottoman times.)

The well in question is not in production as it's disputed/debatable who owns it.

I'm reliably informed that about 2 weeks ago some Iraki troops (my informant who works in that particular oilfield wasn't sure whether they were border guards or FPS) built a small barrier (think small berm here) in front of the well, hoisted the Iraqi flag and left.

The Iranians have now demolished the berm and hoisted their flag.

It's a game - not unlike a game of "tag you're it" I suppose.

What I would dearly love to know is why the fuss now.The game of "tag" I described above is standard SOP and has been since the Iran/Iraq war. It seems to me that all the chest thumping about a well that is:

1. Not in production.
2: Is located in a not terribly important oil field.

Is an electoral diversionary tactic.

Somewhat related is this Arabic language report for al-Sumaria TV about the bombings of the Kirkuk to Ceyhan pipeline. Saturday's bombing of the pipeline is the fourth bombing in recent weeks. The Arab bloc in Kirkuk is accusing the Americans of not doing enough to protect the pipeline however they also say that these bombings are taking place are intended to weaken the position of Arabs in the North by creating an excuse for getting the Peshmerga in to the disputed areas in greater force ostensibly to guard the pipeline.

walrus

"How many dead? How many wounded? How many ruined lives? How many broken marriages? How many? "

...and treasure, don't forget the treasure.

Norman Rogers

I felt that the incident was not worth blogging about when it happened, primarily because, as you point out, we are irrelevant.

Flash back to 2005. If said incident had happened, an entire U.S. battalion would have been airlifted in to restore the sovereignty of Iraq. Condemnations and threats would abound. The Sunday talk shows would highlight this "escalation" and "expansion" of the war and would feature the entire cast of the somber administration.

As to your post. In 2005, you, Colonel Lang, would have been called a lefty moonbat and would have been compared to Michael Moore and Tom Hayden for your observation. Did that ever happen? Did anyone ever mistake you for an insurgent of the loony left? Still hanging out with Jane Fonda? I'm being facetious, of course.

Times have changed. I echo your sentiment and agree completely. The costs have been astronomical, and for nothing.

b

The issue around this well 4 on that oil field goes back to 1975.

Iran and Iraq then agreed on a border line but in 1980 that contract was scuttled by Saddam. Since then the line is not marked and as the (not producing) field and that well is right within a half mile of a discussable border zone it is really something that will need some talk.

The AFP had a nice tell about this well - every few month Iraqis go there and plant a flag, get bored and leave and than Iranians go there, plant a flag, get bored and leave.

The Colonel says: "We are not in this apparently."

Well - as the issue has been happening every few month over the last years who do you think has now cooked this up?

I see this as a pitch to - again - position Iraq against Iran. I doubt it will be successful.

Charles I

An infinite number apparently, per NATO Head Anders Fogh Rasmussen:

"Rasmussen: We are in Afghanistan to prevent the country from becoming a hotbed of terrorism once again. We should recall that the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 originated in Afghanistan, and that the inspiration for the attacks in Madrid and Istanbul also came from Afghanistan.

SPIEGEL: The nature of the threat has changed. The New York Times quotes a former CIA officer as saying that there is no longer an al-Qaida in Afghanistan, nor are their any Afghans in al-Qaida. Instead, hasn't neighboring Pakistan become the terrorist center and our real problem?

Rasmussen: We are also concerned about Pakistan, and we cannot view our challenges in Afghanistan separately from the problems in Pakistan. For that reason, our new strategy is based on enhancing cooperation with Islamabad. However, the threat Afghanistan poses to us should not be downplayed. We know, for example, that the Taliban has harbored al-Qaida groups and have an ambition to take over Pakistan, a nuclear power. We would be taking a clear risk by withdrawing without having accomplished ourthat the Taliban has harbored al-Qaida groups and have an ambition to take over Pakistan, a nuclear power mission first.

SPIEGEL: All the Taliban has to do is wait, particularly now that US President Obama has announced plans to begin withdrawing troops in July 2011. Wasn't it a mistake to offer the enemy a timetable by announcing such withdrawal plans?

Rasmussen: No, no, President Obama did not present an "exit strategy." He held out the prospect of a gradual transfer of power to the Afghans. Withdrawal, however, is only possible once the necessary conditions have been met. We will not be in Afghanistan forever. We will stay as long as it takes to finish our job.

The mission will be fulfilled when the Afghans are capable of governing their country and guaranteeing security"

So the Nato mission is now about saving Pakistan.

"we cannot view our challenges in Afghanistan separately from the problems in Pakistan. . . the Taliban . . .have an ambition to take over Pakistan, a nuclear power. . . Withdrawal, however, is ONLY(EMP ADDED) possible once the necessary conditions have been met."

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,668055,00.html NATO Head Anders Fogh Rasmussen

I assume that once all the new forces are in place, all hell will break out on the border to draw them there.

Patrick Lang

b

No. I think not, Obama had ordered our forces to leave Iraq and that is all there is.

pl

Patrick Lang

NR

I haven't watched a Jane Fonda movie since I saw that picture of her sitting on an NVA AAA gun. pl

Pirouz

I can add that the Iran/Iraq border was thoroughly negotiated before signing the Algiers Agreement. However, Saddam purposely stalled on Iraq's responsibilities toward physical demarcation efforts, and then opportunistically tore up the treaty and invaded Iran in 1980.

Thus the border complications remain a legacy of Saddam Hussein.

I wouldn't shortchange the US role in this minor disagreement. US diplomatic and military figures have played their part in egging this thing on (in synch with Petraeus' recent comments contending the UAE air force could whoop the IRIAF), as has the Western media.

Regarding the overall purpose and relevance of OIF, this is nothing compared to the political coalescence of Iran/Iraq which is likely to increase with the decreased USM footprint in the years to come.

Jim Jordan

... and to top it off the US will not be getting a share of the oil that is inside Iraq's borders either

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/shell-wins-historic-iraq-oil-contract-1838472.html

Six years on the road to nowhere

PirateLaddie

How many? Well, isn't the question more properly "How many Americans?" The Bush regime lost its bet in Iraq (quick & cheap oil from our new buddies), and while Obama seems to be getting out before the military is totally ground into the dust, he's doubling down in Affie -- a place with even less charm. We need to come up with something along the lines of "the healthy bones of a Pomeranian grenadier" if we're to put our imperial tendencies on a short leash.

N. M. Salamon

Seemeingly Iran and Iraq agreed for a arbitration commission to looke into resolving this particular border issue [as per Press TV today]. This being ME land do not expectg quick resolution.

William R. Cumming

Would availability generally of GPS show that this is simply an orchastrated feint by IRAN to ensure the world knows the BASRA southeast of Iraq is now part of Iran? Good work US in allowing de facto Iranian expansion post Saddam! We (US) certainly are skilled at GEO Politics. Perhaps just revenge for not shooting down Saddam's heliocopters in the post Desert Storm period. Thanks for the memories Bushies.

ps3 video cable

I think there were no border issues between these countries. So how these issues are raised. That needs to be checked. The borders are well allocated and whoever crossed it need to respect it.

curious

That was the lamest attempt to manipulate oil price. (expiration of january contract) The price has been going crazy in the past 4 weeks.

Let's just say, plenty of people trying to gamble with dollar, oil, gold to pad 2009 book. The ride was good in the last 3 months


http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=aXg6jfNEWBNs

“The market is looking to the dollar and the stock market for direction,” said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks & Opinions LLC in Houston. “Oil is moving on what’s happening in the financial markets, not because of anything to do with the fundamentals.”

Arun

Two anonymous US officials told ABC News that Obama had ordered a couple of cruise missiles launched against targets in Yemen. Other anonymous officials refuse to confirm or deny it to the Washington Post.

How do we find out if it really happened?

Harper

Whatever the outcome in Iraq, we are out of there, and the future will be determined by Iraqis and their neighbors. Flash ahead to summer 2011 when the same, presumably, will be true of Afghanistan. When President Obama announced the date when the exit will begin, the situation suddenly changed, dramatically, for the worse in Pakistan. Those few words at West Point convinced many in the Pakistan Army that we are not there for the long haul, and there was, therefore, no reason to bend to continuing US pressure to go for the kill against the entire Jihadi apparatus inside Pakistan (Taliban, a few Al Qaeda, a large number of Lashkar, Hisbut, Jundala, etc.). Words carry unforseen consequences. I still wonder whether we shouldn't instead be focusing on a diplomatic/political/economic breakthrough between India and Pakistan, along with Afghanistan. Both China and Russia could help. This creates a larger framwork for solving the UNDERLYING causes of the Afpak predicament. The note on Iran/Iraq provoked this thought process, even on Christmas morning. Oh well...

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