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16 December 2011

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William R. Cumming

Al-Maliki is a stooge of the Iranians IMO!

Matthew

Col: What is your interpretation of Talabani staying away?

linda

here is a link to a photo of the empty seating... also note the bunker number where the individual should retreat in the event of an attack:

http://www.businessinsider.com/iraq-end-of-war-bunker-assignments-2011-12

between the rhetoric of the republican candidates and the media's increasing fear mongering re iran, i sure hope that obama has counsel advocating reduced u.s. adventurism in the region. (yeah ... right)

turcopolier

Matthew

Talabani has always been close to the Iranian government. I believe he is a Sunni unlike many Kurds from the area near the Iranian border, but the message is that the US is unimportant now to Talabani and he must demonstrate his adherence to the Iranian influence in Iraq. pl

Charles I

There is an interesting item in Al Jezeera on the US stay-behind force, eventually to reach 17,000, and Moqtada al Sadr's plans for it.

"The billion-dollar complex, finished in 2009 after long delays and cost overruns, is the largest and most expensive American embassy in the world. It will eventually house some 17,000 employees.

The compound occupies 104 acres, twice the size of the White House compound in Washington, and includes not just an embassy building, but also housing for thousands of employees, cafeterias, a gym, a swimming pool and other facilities.. . .

a majority of the staffers at the embassy will not be State Department staffers, but the private gunmen hired to protect them. . .

These private contractors hired to guard the embassy will cost American taxpayers billions, and many of them come from companies with a checkered past in Iraq.

Triple Canopy, for example, a company headquartered in Virginia, won a $1.5bn contract to protect diplomatic officials. The firm has been accused of numerous abuses in Iraq, including one incident in which a supervisor told his men, "I want to kill somebody today", and later started shooting at an Iraqi vehicle. But no employees have ever been prosecuted, either in Iraq or in the United States.

Not all of the 17,000 personnel have arrived yet; around 8,000 are in-country, with more scheduled to begin their tours in 2012. But the planned expansion has already sparked a backlash in Iraq. Moqtada al-Sadr, the populist Shia cleric, issued a statement last month calling for "resistance" against US personnel at the embassy.

"If they stay in Iraq, through a military or non-military [presence]... we will consider them an occupation, and we will resist them whatever the price will be," he said in an interview on Al Arabiya television. "Even a civilian presence, we reject it."

Various armed groups have threatened to kidnap American diplomats in Baghdad, a plot Jeffrey described as credible. "Whoever it is seems to be putting some effort into it," he said."

The Moar You Know

What a picture. We are (and have been) irrelevant to the Iraqis, the pic captures that so perfectly.

What scares me is not Iran, or Israel, or any of that. No, what scares me is that there are still people - a lot of people - in this country who think this could have ended differently.

oofda

To Moar...what is really scary is that there are people in this country who "know" that this could have ended differently.

Basilisk

I think the proper British term for Talibani is that "he both batted and bowled." He took our money and at the same time he swanned about with the Iranian Service.

The only analogue I can think of is PL's own office in the Pentagon during the run up to DESERT STORM. One could be trampled in the traffic, and a schedule was needed to know whether these visitors ware Saudis, Israelis, US Congressmen, or wannabe future leaders of Iraq. The game of nations, I think they call it.

When OIF rolled around PL's advice was available, but regrettably, no one listened.

Green Zone Cafe

About two months ago I was talking to a general in Baghdad. I said that it would be a nice gesture for the Iraqis to award some decoration to those U.S. troops which had served honorably in Iraq. He said they were talking about it, and there would be a ceremony at the end in which something like that might happen. I guess it didn't happen. Oh well, the Japanese and Germans didn't award any medals to U.S troops either.

Phil Giraldi

The US is in retreat and the Iraqis who care about such things are fully aware of it. So why should we be surprised when their self interest tells them to close the book on the American chapter? How they connect with Tehran will be more important for their own futures and those of their children.

BTW one thing that I find interesting is the repeated press reports about 17,000 Americans including 8,000 security guards that will remain in Iraq. The security guards will be contract guards and I doubt if many of them will be American, though there will be a core group of Marines at the Embassy itself plus DS. Most of the guards will be poorly trained minimum wagers from places like Bangladesh, I would imagine.

Green Zone Cafe

True, very few Americans among the guards and other support staff. The static guards are from Uganda and Peru. The embassy housekeeping and administrators are Kenyans. The food service are Indo Paks.

anna missed

Seeing that from square one, when the U.S. allowed SCIRI to re-enter Iraq, and form the nucleus of Iraqi governorship this particular fate was formulated. The subsequent Sunni insurgency and the eventual civil war led to the flight of the Sunni economic and professional class along with intensified political disenfranchisement, more or less sealed this particular fate. Given the recent ethno-sectarian history of Iraq it's hard to see how any other outcome was plausible, unless of course one is blinded by their own ideology.

So in the end we've killed a whole lot of people and ruined the lives a many more, sullied our international reputation, and spent a trillion dollars to exchange a secular anti-Iranian dictator for a sectarian one beholden and allied with Iran.

Fred

Why do you think it is important to have an award?Germany and Japan declared war on the US, the Iraqi's didn't.

Medicine Man

TMYK:

Well I'm sure it *could* have turned out differently for the US in Iraq, with more realistic goals, more genuine experts involved, more competent civilian leadership, etc. The real nuance is that even a hypothetical better-case-scenario might not be worth what it would cost the US.

turcopolier

Fred

I think GZC is talking about an Iraqi award for our troops. We received an RVN medal for service in that war. It is the green and white striped thing. The idea that the Iraqi government of Nuri al-Maliki would give troops whom he thought of as enemies a medal is remarkable. IMO the invasion of Iraq by the US was the product of Ziocon 5th column activity abetted by the egregious GW Bush. The Iranian agent of influence, Chalabi, found himself the focus of the Ziocon ambition for Iraq. His Iranian "handlers" learned of his privileged position in American policy planning and they "rode" it to the finish line in the invasion. During the occupation by Bremer's naifs, it became increasingly possible for the Irano/Shia forces to maneuver the US into supporting the installation of a government hostile to the US on the basis of the idiocy (in the ME context) of the meme of "one man, one vote." Well, we got what the neocons dreamed of in Iraq, a Shia government that they hoped would be friendly to Israel. It is not. pl

J

Colonel,

Mercenaries will be the mainstay in Iraq by the White House, the White House is seeking immunity deals for the Mercs (that like to be referred to in the kinder/gentle term as 'Defense Contractors') staying in Iraq to replace U.S. Military Personnel.
http://www.military.com/news/article/2011/us-pursues-legal-protections-for-contractors-still-in-iraq.html

Also, a revealing tidbit emerged from the Washington Times
U.S. to leave Iraqi airspace clear for strategic Israeli route to Iran
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/14/us-will-leave-iraqi-airspace-clear-for-strategic-i/

turcopolier

J

The security guards hired by the embassy will have no operational role other than that. pl

Rd.

turcopolier said...

"the product of Ziocon 5th column activity abetted by the "

...and that 5th column has made their way thru congress, the WH and now working their way thru the judiciary!! with friends like these......

http://news.yahoo.com/federal-judge-iran-shares-responsibility-9-11-terror-192626879.html

Ken Halliwell

The timing of this "judgment" smells fishy.

From the article: "...three defectors from Iranian intelligence organizations..." Really! What's the evidence for their claims?

If they are who they say, how do we know they are telling the truth? Does this judge simply believe everything he hears from witnesses and issues judgments accordingly?

As the old saw goes: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

The Twisted Genius

Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act authorizing Saddam’s overthrow in 1998. Shortly after that, CENTCOM convened a series of planning conferences involving every three letter agency in the DC area. The CENTCOM goal, as stated repeatedly during the conferences was "anybody but Saddam." Later that guidance was refined to be "anybody but Saddam and his two sons." Well, that's just what we got. How's that for planning?

I do vividly remember a few self-proclaimed Iraqi analytical experts repeatedly squalking about giving all the money to Chalibi and his INC and let them handle it. They were unbelievably annoying. I never was an Iraqi expert. In fact, I don't know why they asked me to attend these conferences. But I spotted Chalibi as a self serving charlatan totally unsuitable as a recruited asset, much less a trusted ally.

Fred

PL, I agree with your assessment. BTW just what is Chalabi up to these days?

Roy G.

Basilisk, iirc PL was blacklisted at the time, as his advice wasn't 'on message' - to the neocons in charge. I always took that as a sign of 'lalala you're not saying what I want to hear so I dismiss you.' That sort of ideologue fantasy is what has got us in our current sorry state of unreality, no?

anna missed

One of the great mysteries in Iraqi politics of the past couple of years, to me, is the electoral/popular descent of the former SCIRI/SIIC, especially after the death of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim in 2009. While I've seen next to no commentary on this subject, it seems it's importance to subsequent events is undeniable since its erosion of popular support within Iraq created a vacuum that was filled by the Sadr trend giving Maliki no other choice but to conform to his (Sadr's) central demand that the occupation would cease according to the prior SOFA agreement. Did this fall from grace, as it were, have anything to do with SIIC's association with the Bush administration and become negatively identified with the occupation, or was it do to his son Ammar al Hakim's inexperience or incompetence in carrying on with the stature of the organization, or was it something else?

Green Zone Cafe

I don't know what Maliki's opinion of the U.S. military and the USA is (I shook his hand once at a meeting and he said thank you to me), but I doubt it is something as simple and clear and unambiguously hostile as "enemy." Maybe you could use the neologism of "frenemy."

First, Maliki owes his position to the USA. This is an obvious historical truth which he is aware of.

Second, in the bad days of 2006-2008, the USA prevented Maliki from being killed by suppressing those who would have killed him.

Third, Maliki took on the Iranian-proxy, American-enemy Mahdi Army in 2008, in "Operation Charge of the Knights." This was a wholly Iraqi-initiated operation which caught the US by surprise. It ended up that the Iraqis needed US help, but they acquited themselves reasonably well, and it was Maliki who ordered the operation. In doing so, he completely changed the situation in Basrah, where the Brits had left the city to the militias. The USA had his back on that one.

Fourth, a small but significant thing, if Maliki not showing up to the final base closing ceremony is significant. Maliki has been to Arlington Cemetary twice to lay wreaths in honor of the U.S. fallen. He got a lot of flak for that from the Sadrists and others. It did not seem to me out of the realm of possibility that the Iraqi government would offer a ribbon to the Americans who liberated them from the hated Saddam.

Fifth, the USA does have its friends here, in the Iraqi Army, Iraqi SOF, Iraqi intelligence, throughout ministries.

Maliki is walking a tightrope. He knows he has several unambiguous enemies who would kill him instantly if they had the chance. Among those I would count Moqtada and Iyad Allawi - FYI Allawi's bodyguards were implicated in the bomb that went off in the Green Zone two weeks ago, supposedly set off to embarrass the Maliki government. This accounts for the offer from Allawi to talk and reconcile with Maliki after the bomb went off.

Maliki wanted to keep more of a U.S. presence here, but was rebuffed by both the Sadrists and the remnants of the Baathists. The immunity issue was too tough to finesse, given the American insistance on the formalities of international law (a treaty passed by the Council of Representatives rather than a memorandum agreement signed at a lower level), the depredations of things like Blackwater at Nisoor Square, Haditha, and a lot of smaller incidents, and the resistance or reluctance to going out on a limb by the parliament members themselves.

The Iraqi government is scared now, there is a tank or APC on almost every corner of the Green Zone. I'd bet that a lot, including Maliki, wish there was still a battalion or two at FOB Prosperity and Camp Victory.

turcopolier

Roy G

My wife said back then that one would be able to tell when things really had turned to s--t because the phone from the media would slow up and would start ringing from the government, and it was so. pl

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