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17 April 2016


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There were both a northern no-fly zone and a southern no-fly zone. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_no-fly_zones


Babak Makkinejad


Nigerian General: Give me a billion.

Governor of the Central Bank: Sir, we do not have that money.

Nigerian General: What do you mean you do not have it? Just print man! And I will send a Range Rover to pick it up.


On the Irish side of my family I've an aunt who worked for many years as a medical missionary in first Zambia and then Uganda. She spoke a few times of how the birth of an albino child was always greeted with dismay because such children were witches and proof of witchcraft and that their fate was almost always to be hounded to death as witches.


In reply to Babak Makkinejad 18 April 2016 at 01:22 PM

You have a pleasingly dry sense of humour.


In reply to Babak Makkinejad 18 April 2016 at 01:15 PM

You're right and I should have specified that the problem wasn't how they started out - the problem was how they behaved after the initial period.



I wasn't trying to over simplify, I was trying not to have to write an essay. Under both Ottoman and British control, Iraq was "managed" by leveraging the tribal/religious/economic schisms in Iraq, setting one Iraqi against another. Under the British however, there were several occasions where the idea of an Iraq, erased the schisms enough against the "hated" British that revolts crossed all boundaries.

From Independence to the Gulf War, a period of some 40 years, Iraq made "great progress" in trying to erase many of those schisms, while at the same time, external actors used internal proxies, to try to lever that schism, from the deliberate targetting of the dominantly Shia Communist Parties and their allied Unions, the Shah's use of the Kurdish revolts, Iran's use of the Kurds and Marsh Arabs and the calls to a Shia Revolt.

It took a long time for the United States to become united, less "tribal".

A wedge, driven into the right place at the right time, can undo 40 years of progress pretty quickly.

Look at Ukraine.


Thank you for this excellent brief on Arab culture and the Baath Party. If only certain people would read and take it on board.

Babak Makkinejad

Thanks. I stand corrected.


I don't recall Sunnis and Shias suicide bombing each other in markets prior to US intervention in Iraq. It was made clear that there has always been issues between various groups in Iraq, but not much focus on just how much worse it is now by comparison. Obviously the present difficulties in the ME were exacerbated by intervention, and in a very significant way.



We here on SST are trying to educate however helplessly. So, feel free to write essays, pilgrim. pl



Feel free to spread it around. pl



It is much worse now, much worse. As I wrote we removed the brakes on that kind of behavior. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Shia are still not "suicide-bombing" in Iraq or anywhere at the present time. And certainly not against non-Military targets.

The present difficulties may be traced back to the destruction of the Ottoman Empire; however squalid and venal she and her officials were in comparison to the Western Europeans.

When the Shia Doctors of Religion in Iran decided that there was a need for a politics during the Greater Occultation of the 12-th Imam, they opted for Constitutional Monarchy.

That experiment failed in delivering the Rule of Law, Representative Government, and Liberty and the English helped ushered in the dictatorship of Reza Shah lest chaos in Iran spread to India and to Iraq.

Even those opposed to Reza Shah could not argue against his restoration of order and reconciled himself to his personal and avaricious thuggery.

This is a long story and will continue for decades longer - if not centuries.

But there will be 3 billion Muslims in the world relatively soon and for most of them (> 90%) the ideas of Iranian political thinkers would as alien as those of Montesquieu.



It was late at night.

Often in "The West", "we" forget things, or never learned them.

It often takes many generations to effect major change, Iraq as a construct has been around for roughly 3 generations, far less time than it took for the Irish in North America to go from being regarded as "black", to "being" white.

"Our" Democracies are built on 500 years of evolution, with many historic cases of exclusion and persecution, and really only reached their current forms within the past 40 years, yet "we" castigate "them" for not managing a full transition from a medival feudal society to a full, all inclusive, liberal Democracy, with full rights for all, in less than 50 years, ( while at the same time, either trying to utterly destroy them as Nation States, and at other times, heavily interfereing in the process).

Imagine if you will, ( lot's of bad novels were written at the time), what the effects on Canada would have been, if in the late '60's and '70's, " somebody" had thrown a "wedge", ( arms, training, social mobilization techniques, money) at the FLQ and the Liberte Quebec movements.

There have been, ( and may be coming) times in the US, where an outside force, driving in a wedge, could have created unrepairable fractures in the US.

While driving in wedges roughly once a generation, may have been effective short term Foreign Policy towards Iraq, it has been disasterous in the long term.


Does the coalition's ability to allocate/withhold air support, artillery and payrolls allow us to moderate to some extent the progress of extremist elements in the local society? For example we were recently able to throttle Shia militia movements to the north, we seem able to limit IS progress with artillery and air strikes when we wished. This is a far cry from actual progress, but it might roughly define the parameters of atrocity prone sectarianism.


Some things that I think are of great import to some of your points; in the 6 week battle for Tikrit coalition airstrikes were only called in during the last week of fighting, prior to which ISIS still controlled 50% of the city including the central districts. The 5 weeks before the airstrikes was an Iraqi bloodbath as covered here by SST, and the decision to "cooperate"(the Shia militias reportedly pulled out as soon as the airstrikes commenced) may only have been a USA decision to save face and end what looked to be a very long meatgrinder. In the context that ISIS had yet to lose any territory whatsoever prior to this battle despite 6 months of strikes, and the heavily MSM-touted importance of the battle for Tikrit as an upcoming "turning point" repeatedly blared out weeks before the battle commenced, this makes sense.... rather than an explanation that there ever was a political intention to cooperate with the militias.
The battle for Ramadi in which no militias took part did occur only 10-11 months after this, but in the context of what happened in this interim 10 months this can hardly be called "shortly"(Ramadi was still under ISF control when Tikrit fell, and it was to be 2 more months until the ISF rout and the taking of the city by ISIS). I'm not trying to split hairs but rather pointing that political decisions behind the scenes could have changed immensely in this period regarding both Iranian and US policy towards Iraq(USA IMO had serious plans beyond the boasting to use Iraqi Army to take Mosul/environs of Kirkuk-I postulate that these plans were politically put on indefinite hold after the debacle that was the fall of Ramadi). I'm afraid im surpassing you in my rambling, but what more can be done in the face of this extremely confusing/bizarre situation indeed


Brilliantly put. Many thanks.



Could you have bent over backward any further in making excuses for the inter-communal savagery that is Iraq and many other 3rd world post colonial constructs? at some point you have to stop doing that and begin to expect adult behavior from people. The Irish becoming white? You really are grasping at straws. BTW, I think you should tell us who the "outside forces" were who drove in wedges that divided Iraqis. If it was the US insisting on supervised one man one vote elections, I probably would agree with that. as I wrote earlier, most of these places are just not mature enough politically for the people dispossessed of power by that process to accept the result. pl

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