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08 April 2011


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Will Reks

Pat, are you saying that they want a garrison in Iraq to counter the perception that we have lost Iraq to the Iranians?

Or is the residual force necessary from the White House's point of view to prevent another civil war between Shia and Sunni?

Patrick Lang

Wil Reks

I was clear. It is rhe former. They don't give a damn about civil war. pl

different clue

Well, "if only" Obama would have governed against Buscism, in the sense of fixing blame for Bush Administration decisions on the Bush Administration which made those decisions; he would have been in a position to explain in speeches and otherwise why the Bush initiatives were going to produce inevitable failures and what those failures would be like. That's what I thought he was going to do based on the campaign he waged and the things he said. I voted for him based on believing he meant what he said. (Well, I also voted against McCain to avoid having a President Palin in my future).

Shame on sucker-me for believing him? I suppose. But shame on con-man Obama himself as well for putting out sucker-bait for people like me.


Would it really be so bad if we had to leave Iraq? It's not like we were invited in the first place.

If I recall correctly, I heard a lot of "9/11 = Saddam Hussein".

Patrick Lang


Surely, you are not asking me? pl


I think I see a way forward through this conundrum. The US must re-hire Baghdad Bob (I think his real name is Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf); and appoint him to give press briefings regarding Iraq. Provided that the press can be convinced NOT to look outside the briefing room (and there is considerable precedent for that), the PR campaign should go just fine!


No, I wasn't asking you, just muttering out loud. I don't recall you being gung ho on this endeavor.


The important question is which Democrat is going to run for office against Obama since if the US re-elects him they can count on passing at least half of the Republican/Teaparty agenda.

"But the United States wants Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to adopt political reforms that might lead to a larger voice for Shiites under Sunni rule." As if no one in the administration doesn't understand this means Iran gains power.

Patrick Lang


you have a short memory. pl


Rhetorically speaking,

Why can't you up sticks and vamoose out of there? It's not as if it's the end of the world is it? Life is a continuum. Like Evolution, the current state of the system allows certain entities an upper hand; if the situation changes, the very advantage may be your undoing! Move on, keep an eye on things and sometimes history might play you some winning hands without even trying. After 2 tries of forcing your game(Iranian Rev/Iraq war), give it a rest.

Something happens. Always. Otherwise there wouldn't be newspapers. :-)

Unless you want to engage in sunk costs debates, set this aside. There are other opportunities. Look at Africa, instead of letting Europeans rape it wholesale while they tut-tut you in the ME games, get in there.

Go on. Fresh (mis)adventures await.

William R. Cumming

Another accurate and wonder post by PL IMO!

Well if Israel did support the Iraqi invasion and I believe they did they did not understand the US lack of persistence in its policies and the constant refrain of the US giving up both individuals and allies to the forces of "evil" over time. Israel it was nice to know you and sorry that you got what you wanted in US foreign policy--at least for a time.

US withdrawal from Iraq will result in a total meltdown of current Israeli foreign policy. That is the real stake involved in the US posture towards Iraq. And as remnants of the Crusader Forts still exist sometime in the not so distant future that existence will be paralleled in IRAQ by the US bases. Time will tell.



"Shortly after his remarks to the troops in Mosul, Gates told reporters that, based on his meeting with Barzani, there is “interest” in having troops stay longer. “So I’m hopeful that Iraqi leaders will consult and let us know one way or the other,” he said.

His meeting with Barzani took place in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region."

Are we really thinking about cutting a separate deal with Masood Barzani if if Al-Maliki doesn't pop the question?


Now Obama fears that the fracas and failure of US policy (not just his) that will follow US withdrawal will be blamed on him. - pl

Sir, isn't FoolBama going to be blamed for the Triple Crowns of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya?

Or do you think, that Afghanistan can be pinned on Mesopotamius and Libya on Shillary?

I see no way FoolBama can pin Iraq on anybody, but himself.

Sean Paul Kelley

Love the photo, reminds me of a Chinese proverb I learned many years ago: Only the most wreckless mouse would think to hide behind a cats ears, and only the wisest cat would ever think to look there.

 Charles I

Current Israeli foreign policy:

"Death toll mounts as Israel strikes again at Gaza

8 April 2011

The exchange of attacks is the worst violence in the region for two years
Continue reading the main story
Israel and the Palestinians

Gazans count cost of violence
Region reminded of oldest conflict
Leaked Palestinian 'offers'
Jerusalem's troubled geography

Three Hamas militants have been killed in an Israeli air strike on the southern Gaza Strip.

The deaths bring the toll from several days of Israeli strikes to at least 17, including several civilians. Dozens of people have been wounded."


And now, to the cottage. Please talk amongst yourselves without letup until December.


Norbert M Salamon

Sorry, off topic, but important:

Seven Lessons From the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory's Energy USa Graph [2010 analysis]



So "Dear Leader's" foreign "policy" has managed to alienate BOTH the Saudi's and the Israelis.
Not surprising , really.
When a narcissistic empty suit - surrounded by clueless sycophants - is put in charge, you're pretty much guaranteed an ongoing clusterfuck.
Gates seems a patriot, but how much longer can dedication carry him?

Byron Raum

I would like to throw in another term here, "American Exceptionalism." For so long as a significant part of the gestalt American psyche believes that American behavior has always been perfect, justified and does not need re-examination, we will keep on doing the things that are losing us our empire. And we are an empire, whether we want to believe it or not - simply the fact that we are the most benign empire the world has known so far doesn't change this.

Green Zone Cafe

Today's the anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.

Muqtada had his people out today and released a statement saying no not only to troop but to the U.S. Embassy as well.


It appears that our successive efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan will all be for naught except to help dig our own budgetary grave and engender an even deeper hatred toward us. When will we wake up and get our own house in order before we tear ourselves apart.

different clue


Actually, it is China which is now neo-raping Africa wholesale, is it not?
And China will make it very hard for us to get in there.

Not to say it isn't worth a try.

michael brenner

I have a somewhat different view from that of the Colonel insofar as our behavior on Egypt is concerned. First, we were equivocal on the issue of Mubarak;s removal; we tried to have him kept on as interim President and then pushed for Suleiman as his successor. Second, I am skeptical that we had the influence to keep Mubarak in power even if we sought to do so. It was the Egyptians who got rid of him. Third, the Saudis are supposed to be the ultimate realists. Were they counting on Americans' emotional ties to the House of Saud and fond memories of adventures past to have the US take decisions on sentimental grounds rather than a calculation of American national interests? On balance, it made no sense to back Mubarak to the bitter end. Four, I suspect that it is Iraq that still rankles the Saudis above all else. It is that tragic fiasco that has put them in a bind insofar as the region is concerned. Had that not happened, they perhaps would be less bitter about Egypt and its implications for the fraternity of Gulf autocrats.

Finally, a thought about Tahrir today. Is it unreasonable to think that the military's bloodletting there this morning is unrelated to American passiivity on Bahrain and Yemen,and our now evident selling out of the Libyan rebels to gaddafi no less? The implicit collective norm has shifted over the past month - an admitted intangible that can though affect tangible action.

If this is part of the price paid for our vacillation, then it should be placed on the balance against our tolerable relations with the Saudis. I still suspect that they'll remain so since they still need us a counterweight to Iran (as they view things, anyway) and pork is a staple on the Chinese menu. Of course, the Beijing boys are too clever to offer pork and will deftly reap economic advantages from our current malaise while positioning themselves to get oil from everyone in the region whatever happens.

On Iraq, there is no doubt that its all about Obama's political future. What else does he care about?

Michael Brenner


Governments generally achieve the reverse of their stated objectives.

Especially when they deny the realities of their situation.

The Elephants in the room are the size of Americas defence budget and the response of poor Americans to continuing decline in their standard of living.

I suspect that some American cities will be One tasering away from riots by Summers end.

William R. Cumming

Disagree Walrus! Next years nominating conventions will be the targets of riots and civil disorders.

Potential dissidents have no faith that violence now would not help re-elect Obama. IMO of course.

If my understanding is correct the Community Relations Service of DOJ used to keep an eye on street sentiment before being eliminated in the last administration.

michael brenner

Permit me two further thoughts on Saudi and Egypt.

1. The Saudis have been badly rattled by the events of the 9/11 decade. That has resulted in two major strategic errors. First, is their implacable opposition to any idea for a strategic deal with Iran for the Gulf region. However unpalatable, it would better serve their interest than the alternatives: futile hostile diplomatic coercion or war.

The other, more recent error is the failure to see than an essential pillar of the United States’ position in the region is its image (howver faded) of relative impartiality and as a supporter of democratic reform. Shorn of both, as now has occurred, weakens American influence across the board. That runs the risk of adding tension to regional fault lines and to strengthening those radical elements who have the House of Saud and their natural partners in their sights.

To their credit, the Saudis did undertake two serious initiatives aimed at cooling conflicts: attempted reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas in 2006, and a similar attempt to mediate between Hezbollah and the government coalition last year. Washington successfully undercut both.

2. On the behavior of the Egyptian military, I find their thinking obtuse. Never underestimate the element of sheer stupidity in human affairs. The political outlook has been for a set up that would protect most of their influence and many of their privileges. They now have jeopardized it. Unless they are truly seeking to install somesort of rule by cabal, they are just shooting themselves in the foot. perhaps they have sought the counsel of L. Paul Bremer III, Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz.

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