Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Khalilzad on Iraq

I received a copy of Zalmay Khalilzad's remarks at the CSIS on July 11, at which he provides an assessment of how things are going in Iraq. His summary is this: "I will give my bottom line up front. I believe Americans, while remaining tactically patient about Iraq, should be strategically optimistic. Most important, a major change - a tectonic shift - has taken place in the political orientation of the Sunni Arab community." The full text follows.

As Delivered

Thank you, Zbig, for this very, very kind introduction. Many of you know that the Twelver Shia speak of certain individuals whom believers should seek to imitate, calling them the marjaiyya. To many of us who are playing policy roles but who have academic backgrounds, Zbig, you are a source for imitation. I also want to thank CSIS for giving me this opportunity to share my assessment of the situation in Iraq and my view on the way ahead, as well as to engage in some questions and answers.

I will give my bottom line up front. I believe Americans, while remaining tactically patient about Iraq, should be strategically optimistic. Most important, a major change - a tectonic shift - has taken place in the political orientation of the Sunni Arab community. A year ago, Sunni Arabs were outside of the political process and hostile to the United States. They boycotted the January 2005 election and were underrepresented in the transitional national assembly. Today, Sunni Arabs are full participants in the political process, with their representation in the national assembly now proportional to their share of the population. Also, they have largely come to see the United States as an honest broker in helping Iraq's communities come together around a process and a plan to stabilize the country.

Moreover, al Qaeda in Iraq has been significantly weakened during the past year. This resulted, not only from the recent killing of Zarqawi, but also from the capture or killing of a number of other senior leaders and the creation of an environment in which it is more difficult and dangerous for al Qaeda in Iraq.

These are fundamental and positive changes. Together, they have made possible the inauguration of Iraq's first ever government of national unity - with non-sectarian security ministers, agreements on rules for decision making on critical issues and on the structure of institutions of the executive branch, and a broadly agreed upon program. They have also enabled political progress that resulted in the recent announcement by Prime Minister Maliki of his government's National Reconciliation and Dialogue Project.

However, at the same time, the terrorists have adapted to this success by exploiting Iraq's sectarian fault line. A year ago, terrorism and the insurgency against the Coalition and the Iraqi security forces were the principal sources of instability. Particularly since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in February, violent sectarianism is now the main challenge. This sectarianism is the source of frequent tragedies on the streets of Baghdad. It is imperative for the new Iraqi government to make major progress in dealing with this challenge in the next six months. The Prime Minister understands this fact.

Today, I will discuss the status of these efforts, noting the achievements we have attained and the further steps we intend to take in partnership with the new Iraqi government.

Enhancing Iraqi Unity to Contain and Defuse Sectarian Violence

Containing sectarian violence will require political and security steps. On the political track, several steps are needed to enhance unity among Iraqis.

First of all, Iraqi leaders must build a consensus to address several issues that arise out of the new constitution. Because Sunni Arabs were underrepresented in the assembly that drafted the constitution, the document provided a fast-track amendment process under the new, fully representative national assembly. One of the central and difficult issues will be the constitutional provisions governing future federalization of Iraq - that is, the process, timing, and rules for creating federal regions beyond the Kurdish area.

The constitution also requires the assembly to enact the legislation to govern the development of the country's oil and gas resources, including the role of the national government in allocating revenues.

Another constitutionally mandated action involves the creation of a commission to review de-Baathification. There is agreement among most Iraqis that there have been excesses in this process. The right approach is to subject those who committed crimes under the previous regime to the judicial process and to achieve reconciliation with those who were Baathists but who did not commit crimes.

Second, beyond these constitutionally driven issues, the new government's efforts to enhance the unity of the Iraqi people will be channeled through Prime Minister Maliki's National Reconciliation and Dialogue Project. This is a bold initiative, which puts all of the toughest issues on the table for resolution.

The central goal of the national reconciliation project is to bring insurgent elements, who are currently in the armed opposition, into the political process. Many insurgents have fought the Coalition and the Iraqi government as a result of misplaced fears that the United States was seeking to occupy Iraq indefinitely or was motivated by a sectarian agenda. Now many are considering the pursuit of their goals by means of other than violence. Also, a greater sense of realism has set in among Iraqi political leaders. Sunni Arab leaders are realizing that nostalgia for their past dominance is not the basis for a realistic political strategy. Shia Arab leaders are coming to see that seeking vengeance against other groups for Saddam's crimes or attempting to exclude Sunni Arabs from playing a role in government is not a realistic option. Consequently, a growing understanding exists that reconciliation with most elements of the current armed opposition is both possible and essential for stabilizing Iraq, as evident from the fact that some insurgents have asked to be armed by the Iraqi government in order to fight the foreign terrorists.

As the Iraqi government and reconcilable insurgents come together, the question will arise of granting amnesty to those who have committed violent acts in the current conflict. Iraqi leaders understand that every war must end and that ending wars inevitably requires amnesties of some kind. A broad amnesty was issued at the end of the American Civil War. Many other recent internal conflicts have ended with broad pardons or amnesties. Recent examples include El Salvador, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, and Indonesia. Afghanistan has implemented a process to allow all but a few former Taliban to renounce their past and to reintegrate into Afghan society.

I understand that some in the United States reacted negatively to the concept of granting amnesties. We will work with Iraqi leaders to find the right balance between reconciliation and accountability and to ensure that the sacrifices of those who died or were injured in the liberation of Iraq are honored. There will not be a double standard that grants amnesty to those who killed soldiers in the Coalition but not to those who killed Iraqis. The American people can rest assured on that point. The biggest honor for soldiers and civilians who sacrificed to end the threat from Saddam's regime and to liberate the Iraqi people is for the cause of a democratic Iraq to succeed and for those Iraqis who initially fought this change to accept the new order.

Building Effective Security Forces and Establishing Enduring Security

In parallel with political efforts, the Iraqi government, with the support of the Coalition, must increase the effectiveness of Iraq's security forces and adjust our security operations to meet the challenge of controlling sectarian violence. This will require adjustments and new efforts in six areas.

First, the Iraqi government and the Coalition will continue to improve Iraq's security forces. In the last twelve months, Iraqi security forces have grown from 168,000 to more than 265,000. By the end of this summer, about 75 percent of Iraqi Army battalions and brigades will be leading counterinsurgency operations, with the Coalition playing only mentoring and supporting roles. By the end of the year, all Iraqi Army units are expected to be in the lead in their operations. Nevertheless, there is still much work to be done. Iraqi units must be fully manned, and the Iraqi army and particularly the police need to achieve higher levels of readiness. We are also implementing plans to accelerate the evolution of the Iraqi Army from a light force that is dependent on the Coalition for logistics and combat support into a heavier force that not only can take on well-armed enemy units more effectively but also can operate with less reliance on the Coalition. We will also have to maintain a long-term commitment to developing effective military leadership, as well as to working with the Iraqi government on the progressive modernization of their forces.

Second, there is a need for measures to ensure that Iraq's security institutions are capable of winning the confidence of all Iraqi communities - a confidence that Iraq's forces must secure if they are to be instruments for curbing sectarianism. Unfortunately, there have been instances in which Iraqi forces gave way to or even cooperated with sectarian militias. To counter this problem, Prime Minister Maliki, as well as Minister of Interior Boulani, has made the reform of the Ministry of Interior, including the purging of sectarian forces from the police, a top priority. It is vital that these changes take place as quickly as possible. The Coalition will assist through interim measures, such as increasing the vetting of recruits and embedding advisers with police units, to have an immediate impact in the conduct of the police. Also, General Casey and I have worked with Iraqi leaders to create a joint group to assess the capabilities and requirements of Iraq's security forces and to monitor such critical issues as the reform of the Ministry of Interior.

Third, as this institutional foundation is strengthened, the Iraqi government will be in a position to reestablish the state's monopoly on force, which is a central task of state building. Prime Minister Maliki understands - and is committed to undertaking - the next steps that are essential to the completion of this task. The need to demobilize unauthorized armed groups, including militias, is a critical part of this. Although this will be politically difficult, the new Iraqi government understands that it is necessary, both to stabilize Iraq and to reduce sectarian violence. Iraqi leaders, with Coalition support, are developing a program for the demobilization and reintegration of unauthorized armed groups, which will be implemented as insurgent activities diminish as part of the reconciliation process. As the Prime Minister undertakes this challenge, he can count on American support.

Fourth, the Iraqi government and the Coalition will take advantage of reconciliation efforts to weaken and destroy the terrorists and other irreconcilable elements. Prime Minister Maliki understands the importance of reaching out to the maximum extent to groups who are willing to lay down their arms, provided that they accept the new democratic Iraq and fully cooperate in helping target those who persist in engaging in terrorism. We support this view because it will help to reduce the violence in Iraq and support other measures to defeat the terrorists.

A chasm has been developing between al Qaeda and those Sunni Arabs in Iraq who have been part of the armed opposition. Previously, many Sunni Arab insurgents saw al Qaeda's operations as beneficial for their own cause. Now, the Sunni Arabs increasingly understand that the terrorists are not interested in the future of Iraq and that al Qaeda's leaders see Iraqis as cannon fodder in an effort to instigate a war of civilizations. More and more, Iraqi Sunni Arab insurgents reject this cynical game. Osama bin Laden's specific denunciation of Sunni Arab political leaders, such as Vice President Tareq Hashami, and recently captured documents indicate that al Qaeda's leadership know that they are losing ground as a result of Iraq's reconciliation process. They know that if reconciliation goes further and begins to hollow out the Sunni Arab armed opposition, it is a mortal threat to their terrorist movement.

Fifth, as political reconciliation proceeds, the Coalition and the Iraqi government will carry out a series of focused stabilization operations to develop enduring security in major cities, particularly Baghdad. General Casey is leading the Coalition's effort to adjust the military strategy to focus on containing sectarian violence. Our stabilization operations will build up Iraqi forces in an area, while at the same time working with local leaders to implement programs to improve local governance and jump start economic development. A key requirement for Iraqi forces will be to go after those groups engaged in sectarian violence. Iraqi forces, with Coalition support, must establish an environment that poses sufficient risks to deter militant sectarians from launching attacks.

Sixth, the Coalition will be able to adjust its forces as Iraqi security forces stand up and as the security situation improves. Both the Iraqi government and the Coalition agree that the goal is for Iraq to stand on its own feet in terms of providing for its own security and that dangers exist in going too fast or too slow in drawing down Coalition forces. General Casey and I are discussing with the Iraqi government the formation of a joint commission to work towards the conditions-based withdrawal of Coalition forces. This will complement the joint commission on the transfer of security responsibilities, which has already produced an agreement on the first transfer - in Muthanna Province - to take place on July 13. This action demonstrates that as Iraqi security forces are ready to succeed in securing an area, responsibility for it will be turned over to them. This process will be based on continuing assessments of the security situation and Iraqi capabilities to handle it. If current progress remains on track, the Coalition will be able to continue its drawdown of forces.

Mobilizing Increased Regional and International Support

Besides ending sectarian and terrorist violence, Iraqi leaders have before them other opportunities and challenges, each of which can be used to support Iraqi efforts to stabilize their country. One opportunity that Iraqis are taking advantage of is the positive shift in regional and international assessments of Iraq's future.

More and more countries see the political change that has taken place in Iraq as enduring and even beneficial. At the regional level, several countries, including Saudi Arabia are encouraging Sunni Arab insurgents to move toward reconciliation. This is part of a process of regional reconciliation, which is leading to an improvement in relations between Iraq and other Arab states. An indication of this positive development is the recent series of visits by Prime Minister Maliki to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. These visits included potentially significant agreements for investment and assistance.

In addition, a number of countries and firms, including major energy companies, have approached the Iraqi government, proposing to increase their involvement in Iraq, to make investments in important Iraqi economic sectors, and to commit to binding contracts. These developments represent a shift, reflecting a calculation that the new Iraq is increasingly likely to succeed.

The Iraqi government has secured an agreement for the United Nations to co-chair a process to develop a compact between Iraq and the international community. Under this compact, Iraq will commit to specific goals and timelines for economic and other reforms in exchange for commitments for assistance from Coalition allies, the IMF, the World Bank, and other nations, including those who may have opposed Iraq's liberation but who now have a stake in seeing a prosperous Iraq. We will support this effort. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Kimmit, will lead the U.S. government's engagement in this process, as well as State Department Counselor Phillip Zelikow.

However, at the same time, we have to be candid in acknowledging the challenge posed by a few countries, such as Syria and Iran. Tehran has played a role in providing extremist groups with arms, training, and money. The Iraqi government is increasingly concerned about Iran's destabilizing actions. Iran must decide whether it is irreconcilably opposed to a stable, strong, and democratic Iraq. If Iran persists in its unhelpful actions, the Iraqi government, as well as the United States and other friends of Iraq, will need to consider necessary measures to deny to Tehran the ability to undertake destabilizing policies.

Realizing Iraq's Economic Potential

All of the efforts to stabilize Iraq, both internally and internationally, will be bolstered by the new Iraqi government's efforts to realize the country's economic potential and to increase economic opportunity for the Iraqi people. There is a huge gap between Iraq's economic position and its potential. Iraq used to have one of the most prosperous and advanced economies in the Middle East. Under Saddam, mismanagement and wasteful spending on military conflict threw away those advantages.

To recover, Iraqis must do much for themselves to set their economic house in order - and they are. They have made an important down payment on the reduction of counterproductive subsidies for gasoline and other fuels. They are also picking up a major share of the cost of sustaining their security forces. The Iraqi government is in the process of drafting new legislation to encourage domestic and foreign investment. It has also tapped into international expertise to assist its own experts in drawing up new hydrocarbon laws, a necessary first step in developing its oil and gas sectors. And as a signal of its intentions to move beyond the old thinking that kept Iraq from participating in the international economy, legislation to open the fuel retail sector to market prices and international players has been put before the national assembly for its consideration before its August recess.

The Iraqi government's new economic team, led by Prime Minister Maliki and Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh, have the right priorities. They have emphasized increasing oil production, improving basic services, developing a safety net for the poor, and promoting investment. They understand the need to diversify the economy, particularly by jump starting the housing and agriculture sectors. They are prepared to move forward in privatizing viable state-owned enterprises, establishing a modern financial and banking sector, and investing in needed infrastructure in transportation, communications, and health. Prime Minister Maliki understands the importance of curbing corruption, both by undertaking reforms to increase transparency and reduce opportunities for abuses and by strengthening institutions to fight corrupt practices. The United States and other friends of Iraq will help the new government to deliver results in these areas to the Iraqi people.


In my remarks, I have explained the path to success in Iraq - the actions that the Iraqi government, the United States, and other members of the Coalition see as the keys to achieving the strategic goal of a stable and representative Iraq. The Iraqis are going through a difficult transition, simultaneously facing the challenges of state and nation building while also fighting vicious terrorists. Iraq's leaders have committed themselves to a course of action that can succeed. None of the steps in this strategy are easy, but all of them are doable.

I want to end by saying a word on the importance of succeeding in Iraq. I am aware of the dangers of staying too long in Iraq, as well as the risks of leaving too soon, before success is ensured. A precipitous Coalition departure could unleash a sectarian civil war, which inevitably would draw neighboring states into a regional conflagration that would disrupt oil supplies and cause instability to spill over borders. It could also result in al Qaeda taking over part of Iraq, recreating the sanctuary it enjoyed but lost in Afghanistan. If al Qaeda gained this foothold - which is the strategy of the terrorists - it would be able to exploit Iraq's strategic location and enormous resources. This would make the past challenge of al Qaeda in Afghanistan look like child's play. Finally, a precipitous withdrawal could lead to an ethnic civil war, with the Kurds concluding that the Iraqi democratic experiment had failed and taking matters into their own hands and with regional powers becoming involved to secure their interests.

Whatever anyone may have thought about the decision to topple Saddam - whether one supported it or not - succeeding in Iraq is now essential to the future of the region and the world. Most of the world's security problems emanate from the region stretching from Morocco to Pakistan. Shaping its future is the defining challenge of our time. What happens in Iraq will be decisive in determining how this region evolves. Therefore, the struggle for the future of Iraq is vital to the future of the world.

Thank you.


Blogger Wu Wei said...

The Sunnis are the key. I'll believe they have changed when the car bombings of Iraqi civilians stop.

7/11/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Thanks Prof Wretchard for this excellent post.

As one who longs to know what's really going on in this ongoing world war, I treasure your chosen posts. Ever since First Fallujah.

As for this line: This would make the past challenge of al Qaeda in Afghanistan look like child's play.

I would say the corollary is also true: OIF makes the meddling of the CIA in 80's Afghanistan look like child's play.

7/11/2006 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

What really strikes me about Khalilzad's speech is how far removed the ongoing efforts are from those who caricature them as the product of a retarded President, a demented Secretary of Defense and a clueless Iraqi government. That's not to say it's going to work. But the componentry in this solution is anything but naive.

7/11/2006 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: a goal of no car bombings.

Well, I'd not hold the Iraqis to any higher standard than, say, France, with their tens to hundreds of car-be-ques a night.

I think these people are going to surprise us. Certainly those who have moved here over the years and are our doctors and engineers have demonstrated that they are made of the same or better stuff.

I've never seen Mr. Bush looking better, more confident and cheerful. He must have taken the measure of these people and their new leadership some time ago.

7/11/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Events on the ground make w.w.'s standard for believe hard to reach.

The Gulf Daily News reports 40 die in new Iraq violence

datelined by Google as being four hours old.

Wretchard is right when saying the components are in position, but the board is in flux, all the players on the field.
The Goal posts mobile.

7/11/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"///Al-Sadr aide Awas al-Khafaji denied that the Mahdi Army was behind the violence and accused the U.S. of trying to stoke sectarian tensions.

"What is happening in Iraq is a U.S. plot to target the patriotic elements in Iraq and this is shown through the attempts to create a gap between al-Mahdi Army and the Sunnis," he said in the holy city of Najaf. ..."

This from that well renown publication of "Capitalists" everywhere. Forbes

7/11/2006 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

It's evident from Khalilzad's speech that the enemy is able to adapt, not simply militarily, but politically.

"However, at the same time, the terrorists have adapted to this success by exploiting Iraq's sectarian fault line. A year ago, terrorism and the insurgency against the Coalition and the Iraqi security forces were the principal sources of instability."

At one of the MNF briefings I remember hearing Caldwell say that 85% of all casualties in Iraq are now innocent bystanders, whereas some months ago they were US or Iraqi forces. That not only feeds the impression of growing chaos (because the people who die are those who aren't supposed to) but is really the outcome of the strategy to exploit the sectarian faultline.

But in a sense it's a strategy which reflects a particular weakness. The problem with stirring up ethnic hatred is that people too easily tire of getting all jumped up. Unless you can keep the pot boiling people tend to lapse all too easily into daily living. The fight against the Coalition isn't fueled any more by battlefield hopes any more. They are running it on pure terror. And it's not the case that this was the preferred strategy. It's the enemy fallback strategy.

7/11/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

W: Yes, our enemies are running it on pure terror, they are acting as if they are in a life or death war, they are a cancer upon society, destined to die, but causing lots of damage on the way.

We are acting like they deserve Geneva rights? Wth?

Re: the hidden wars, the persistent stray thoughts that W and DR infer:

Far Better to Declare War on the Weather

Democrats / Progressives are bravely declaring war against the Weather, while they nobly surrender against the declared Islamofascist enemy?

Al Gore, their 2000 candidate for President is now saying our primary focus should be Climate Change, which purportedly will reach a "tipping point" in as little as ten years, after which 80% of humanity will be destroyed. Al Qaeda can't do that!

John Kennedy, errr, Kerry, their 2004 candidate, has finally announced his plan for success in Iraq, which is withdrawal (never call it retreat or surrender) within a year. His idea got killed 85-13 in the Senate vote, which probably influenced why he didn't run on that particular plank way back long, long ago in 2004.

Is it my imagination, or are they really saying it's more important to fight the Weather / Climate Change than the Enemy in this War?

And, didn't we try not fighting back in the 90's? Or as I think of it, back in the build-up to 9/11.

For the same reason I wished Dean was their candidate in 2004, I honestly hope they run on these core anti-war beliefs in every election from now til perpetuity.

I'll agree with them when we have no more enemies in this world, when we return to the Garden of Eden, before Cain and Abel.

God love us all,

7/11/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Interestingly enough, the Times of India, according to Instapundit says:

"The terror attack on Mumbai trains was carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba and local Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists and was designed to trigger communal conflagration in the country’s financial capital, intelligence sources said."

This seems to be al-Qaeda's favorite idea, that starting a war between everyone and everyone will result in a Global Caliphate. It's an eschatological idea; that to bring on the furnaces of Armaggedon will leave them in charge of the earth. As I've written before it will more probably result in tragedy for the Islamic world. It is wrong to think that if you make enough enemies you will necessarily triumph. On the contrary, if you make enough enemies you will likely wind up dead.

7/11/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

The parts of Khalizad's remarks that most held my attention were the ones in the last section, "Realizing Iraq's Economic Potential."

They square very well with a Amir Taheri's piece in Commentary magazine last month. They also underscore why terrorists are so anxious to attack economic targets and so the kind of discord that will make economic development harder or impossible.

I have two posts on my blog that have covered these topic. I review Taheri's piece in a post entitled Economic Indicators of Progress in Iraq.

I address the matter terrorist targeting of economic infrastructure in a post entitled Terrorism as Economic Warfare.

I do not assume that Khalizad's placement of economic matters at the end of his remarks as meaning that economic matters are a low priority.

7/11/2006 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Grey said...

Great news -- but slow. Nation building is long, slow, and not fully in control of the builders.

"Third, as this institutional foundation is strengthened, the Iraqi government will be in a position to reestablish the state's monopoly on force, which is a central task of state building. "

Build institutions before privatization, please! (Learn from the half-success/ half-failure of V. Klaus in former Czecho-Slovakia)

Enhancing the state's legitimate monopoly on force is one pillar; the economic development pillar will follow if the state can enforce "rule of law" -- meaning punishment for criminals, and mass acceptance of what is criminal.

I note that a mistake of America in Vietnam was in trying to do too much, allowing the S. Viet "leaders" to be corrupt, yes-men, free riders. I'm glad that mistake has been corrected.

The deaths of Iraqis to terrorists must be blamed, over and over, on the terrorists, not the US. As long as Iraqi leaders blame the US, enough Iraqis will believe it -- since they WANT to believe it's not some Iraqi's fault. I don't think Bush or Rumsfeld is emphasizing this enough, neither in the US nor in Iraq.

7/12/2006 02:59:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

I generally agree with Khalilzad's assessment. The future is getting better despite the MSM.

We all known of the fact that Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserve and the obvious temptation to take a chunk by various factions makes for a volatile situation (the new Pirates of the Caribbean situation).

Let's face it. It could be a lot worse. Any combination of factions could enter into the game for a cut of the spoils. Securing the place is going to be long hard job.

Wretchard's reference to Gen. William Caldwell assessment of the battle in Baghdad was fair and balanced (I watch the briefing).

It's a semi-war zone and it has to be secured. The Iraqis are doing "OK" but not great.

As for the 15 dead via a fight between the Madhi thugs and Sunni factions, that's bound to happen.

It's no worse that the LA basin in the 80s and 90s. I remember local TV news stations counting "18 to 30" dead per week due to rival gang assassinations (the LA basin is approximately the size of the Baghdad area).

Further, if the Crips and Bloods had the same weapons as the thugs of Baghdad (AK-47s and high explosives they wouldn't have hesitated to use them).

Maybe LA would not have had the beheadings but, Tookie and his kind blew people's brains out while having a good laugh.

Returning to Khalilzad's remarks: To recover, Iraqis must do much for themselves to set their economic house in order - and they are... The Iraqi government is in the process of drafting new legislation to encourage domestic and foreign investment... They are prepared to move forward in privatizing viable state-owned enterprises, establishing a modern financial and banking sector, and investing in needed infrastructure in transportation, communications, and health. Prime Minister Maliki understands the importance of curbing corruption, both by undertaking reforms to increase transparency...

Although, the financial portion of his speech was last it probably first in importance over the long haul.

Iraqi must not bleed away it's top resource to old intertribal rivalry and join the 20th Century Economy. Those who disagree with this 20th Century stance must be dumped in the ash heap of history.

Iraq must quickly consolidate oil resources and effectively utilize them. That means attracting foreign investors and construction companies that can efficiently make those resources available to the international market.

I have a feeling that a lot of smart investors including Americans will be involved in this project for a long time.

7/12/2006 03:06:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Very interesting. My impressions:
1. Be optimistic. Things are progressing.
2. The Sunnis are beginning to see the light but until they feel secure in the New Iraq, they continue to use terror as a bargaining chip.
3. al-Qaeda is kaput but the
"terrorists" which I assume to mean the sunni or shia militas are still at it. I'm beginning to think that maybe all this tit-for-tat bloodletting was necessary to move the process forward. Now the Iraqi people demand the Government do something about it. The policy is to "contain sectarian violence" until the Government and military are strong enough to monopolise the violence. The Ambassador says the government must produce within 6 months.
4. Get the International community involved. Show 'em the money! Some of them, imagining the possibilities, are beginning to rub their hands.
5. Deal with Iran and Syria.
6. Realise the economic potential.

One of the great political ironies of our time is that circumstances forced George W. Bush to do what he did not wish to do; nation building and by gosh, I think he's going to do it. With any luck, in time, the new Iraq and its oil may provide an alternative to Saudi oil allowing the US to deal with the roots of Islamic terror. God willing it will work and history will vindicate the maligned "neocons."

7/12/2006 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Regardless of the success or failure in Iraq, I don't think I can ever forgive the MSM, the Democratic Party, or other world leftists.

I feel about them as I feel about the Palestinians.

7/12/2006 03:37:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Maliki says his plan is Iraq's "last chance"

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told parliament Iraqi security forces had defeated a coordinated an attempt by gunmen to occupy Baghdad districts west of the Tigris in the past few days. Gunmen have fought in the streets, killing civilians and battling security forces in several districts.

Maliki said a national reconciliation plan he has promoted was Iraqis' "last chance" to stem the violence.

"If it fails I don't know what the destiny of Iraq will be," he told the assembled Iraqi lawmakers, including representatives of the minority Sunni community who had staged a week-long boycott in protest at the kidnapping of a colleague.

U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said communal bloodshed between Sunnis and Shiites was now the biggest challenge to U.S. and Iraqi forces, overtaking the three-year-old Sunni insurgency as the main source of instability.

"A year ago, terrorism and the insurgency against the coalition and the Iraqi security forces were the principal sources of instability," Khalilzad said on Tuesday. "Violent sectarianism is now the main challenge.

7/12/2006 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

In Baghdad streets, little sign of rule of law - Reuters

Private Uday Abdullah is one of 50,000 Iraqi troops and police sent on to Baghdad's streets last month to make the city safe -- but he does not see the point.

Lounging in the shade to escape the midday heat on Tuesday, the soldier said it is gunmen from rival Shi'ite and Sunni parties with clout in the government who rule the streets.

"We arrest lots of gunmen and they just walk free the next day. They're always from the Mehdi Army or the Badr Brigade or the Islamic Party. So what's the point of our job?" he said.

Many in Baghdad wonder the same thing as checkpoints set up as part of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's crackdown on violence spawn ever greater traffic jams but have failed to prevent dozens dying in sectarian shootings and bombings this week.

"We do nothing but create huge traffic jams with these checkpoints," Abdullah said.

Pointing to the traffic backed up on Senak Bridge, a major artery over the Tigris river, he said: "I am standing here. But I have no desire to be here."

Raed Abd al-Hafudh Saleem, a lieutenant in Baghdad's traffic department, is equally bemused and cynical.

From his concrete booth in the middle of a busy intersection in upmarket Mansour, he has a clear view of the many vehicles carrying heavily armed men that speed past every day.

"I don't know who these people are. I can't stop them because they never hesitate to point their guns at me."

Every morning, when he reports for duty at his little booth, he finds fresh bullet casings littering the road.

"I don't know where they come from. Everyone carries a gun in this country, from the bodyguards of officials and members of parliament to private security companies.

"How can I distinguish between all those and the insurgents, and militias?" he said.

He told how bodyguards recently fired into the air to clear the road for a ministerial convoy. When he remonstrated with them, one man fired a burst from his AK-47 just past his head.

"He said to me: 'Who are you to say this? I am the state.'"

7/12/2006 05:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Catch & Release

If the gunman are not made prisoners, the violence will not end.

Monopoly of Force, the Iraqi Government does not have it. To obtain it will require violence and death.

Reports that the Sunni have been "buying into" the process have circulated for well over a year, the violence has not waned, yet.

ledger, wgile at the height of the LA violence the death toll was as you say ""18 to 30" dead per week" the scale in Iraq is that high, DAILY Greater by a factor of ten. At 30 per week for a month, why there would be 130 dead, last month, in Baghdad 1,500 bodies made it to the morgue, from the violence.

You have made the point twice, now, I do not think it is entirely accurate.
The Scale is not at all similar.

7/12/2006 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

"This seems to be al-Qaeda's favorite idea, that starting a war between everyone and everyone will result in a Global Caliphate."

Many have suggested that if Hitler could have brought the world down in flames when he realized his cause was lost he would have done so. Indeed, this was even a feature of some genuine Cold-War deterrance concepts a "Doomsday Device" ala Dr. Strangelove, that would ensure that if you lost no one else would win.

Perhaps Al Queda truly have seen the future - and they ain't in it. And they don't want anyone at all to win. They act like barbarians because they prefer global barbarism to their own defeat.

7/12/2006 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"Hezbollah Captures 2 Israeli Soldiers

...Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the guerrilla attack "an act of war" and warned that Hezbollah would pay a "heavy price" for its actions. ...
...Jubilant residents of south Beirut, a stronghold of Hezbollah, fired their guns in the air and set off firecrackers for more than an hour after the capture of the Israeli soldiers was announced.

In the main Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh in Sidon, southern Lebanon, Palestinians set off fireworks.

As Israeli aircraft struck roads, bridges and Hezbollah guerrilla positions in southern Lebanon, Lebanese army anti-aircraft opened fire at them, the Lebanese security officials said on conditions of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. ..."

The wheel turns.

7/12/2006 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dick Durbin (!)
at Gitmo:
Interegator and detainee sit down, interegator pulls out his favorite Subway Sandwich, detainee lights up and Wolfs away, to Blitzer's disbelief:
"Are you sure it was not a dog and pony show for you?"
I don't think so, I think they are following the rules.
...but it was a dog show of sorts for the detainee, if Subs qualify as dogs.

7/12/2006 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger mledeen said...

Wretchard, you say that the terrorists have changed tactics by, as Khalilzad puts it, exploiting the sectarian fault lines.

But that was the Iranian/Syrian strategy from the beginning, it is NOT new. Right after Saddam's fall, Revolutionary Guards forces were doing their utmost to provoke 'civil war' of all against all, including Kurds and Turkamen in the north, different tribes in Anbar Province, as well as Sunni/Shi'ite.

I don't think we know about all the support Iran gives to both sides in the current phase, but obviously it's considerable. Khalilzad says:

"we have to be candid in acknowledging the challenge posed by a few countries, such as Syria and Iran. Tehran has played a role in providing extremist groups with arms, training, and money. The Iraqi government is increasingly concerned about Iran's destabilizing actions. Iran must decide whether it is irreconcilably opposed to a stable, strong, and democratic Iraq. If Iran persists in its unhelpful actions, the Iraqi government, as well as the United States and other friends of Iraq, will need to consider necessary measures to deny to Tehran the ability to undertake destabilizing policies."

It would be interesting to do a search to see how many times statements of this sort have been made by American, Iraqi, British and even Italian and Polish military and political leaders. And yet (insert the sound of teeth gnashing) we still have done nothing to Iran or Syria (and notice that Khalilzad first talks about "Iran and Syria" and then only focuses on Iran, which of course is correct, since Syria is Iran's puppet in these matters.

7/12/2006 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Those are sovereign countries, separated from Iraq by Borders.
...unlike the USA and Mexico.

7/12/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Is an out of use term from the Vietnam era.

7/12/2006 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Expectaions and perceptions become realities in people's minds.
Our "best" client States in the ME are backstabbing Iraq.
Eygpt, Jordan, UAE, KSA, Kuwait & Qatar

"... The expectation in Baghdad is that the Bush administration will pressure its Jordanian and Egyptian allies to signal a change of attitude by ending their media campaign against the new Iraq and unrolling the red carpet for Maliki. ...

... One idea under study is the creation of an "Iraq Assistant Force" by Muslim countries wishing to help Iraq build a new army and police force. Such a force could fill part of the gap left by the withdrawal of U.S.-led coalition troops, expected to begin when their U.N. mandate ends in December. ...

The story by Amir Taheri is at the NY Post


7/12/2006 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Our friends at Westhawk have an interesting piece concerning "Sanctuaries" and their neccessity to a successful Insurgent campaign.

"Sanctuary" is not really an outdated concept.
We provide it to Kurdish terrorists operating against Turkey out of bases in Iraq.
The Syrians provide it to Baathists, as they also provided it to Mr Maliki, previously.
Pakistan supplies it to aQ, the Taliban and the Kashmerians
As for Iran, fill in the blank.

7/12/2006 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Smacko said...

From DR's link:

" But Maliki managed to isolate the critics within his coalition, with the discreet but decisive support from Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Sistani, the primus inter pares of Shi'ite theologians in Najaf. By last week, the only Shiite group still opposed to the reconciliation plan was the entourage of Muqtada al-Sadr, the young firebrand mullah with a base in the slums of northeast Baghdad."

Sistani again.

I sure hope we have 00 protection details on him :).

If the neo-plan for Iraq ends up even partly succesfull, I wonder if the world will recognize the input from Sistani that pushed it along.

7/12/2006 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger Smacko said...

As for Iraq's economic growth:

Wretchard has talked in the past of the importance of 'English Commen Law' as well as private property rights when it comes to developing nations.

Does anyone have any info on where Iraq stands with these?

7/12/2006 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Heck, doug, Saddam's indicted for terrorism family are now the "guests" of the Jordanian Royals and given Sanctuary.

The Jordanians assistance in the War extends only "so far".

7/12/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I figure Sistani has some protection beyond our understanding, given recent history.
Walid Phares writes,
"Is this the beginning of the Jihadi war on India?
Yes and no.
Yes it is a jihadist war on India, but no, the trains' bombings weren't the beginning of that war.
Unlike the U.S., Spain, and the UK, the Indians have been subjected to small explosions of the holy war for years."
Frontpage .

Here again, after the U.S., Spain, Britain, Russia, and other target nations of terrorism, India will have to declare the identity of the criminals, not only in term of their names and the names of their organizations, but the name of their ideology and its content.
The more jihadists widen their bloody fault lines against the international community, the more they will isolate themselves among “infidels” and Muslims alike

7/12/2006 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

7:26 AM, to the Border, what a concept.
Saddam's daughter has his attitude, if not his balls.

7/12/2006 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Part of the terrorist strategy from the beginning is to win by making the other side lose, that is to make the government such a failure and the citizens so miserable that they put the terrorists in charge instead. Somalia might be a recent example of that strategy succeeding, as was the rise to power of the Taliban.

That's why one of Saddam's last actions was to let all criminals out of prison, and why the terrorists focus so much on sabotaging electricity, water, sewer, etc. The terrorists think that anything that makes the government fail is to their advantage. That includes division among groups in the government caused by terrorist killings, like Sunni vs. Shiite.

Also groups like Al Qaeda plan on killing or converting all Shiites to their version of Sunni Islam. Some of the more cool headed terrorist leaders don't discuss this, but instead try to focus on the first step of beating the west and overthrowing existing Arab governments. But some of the more hot headed commanders in the field like Zarqawi let the "secret" out, that if Al Qaeda had its way tens of millions of moslems would either convert to a vastly different version of their religion or die.

This in my opinion is the biggest weakness in Al Qaeda. Their philosophy doesn't let them divide and conquer. If they had followed up on 9/11 by focusing only on the US and Israel as the enemies, they probably could have united the Arab world behind them. Instead Arabs saw how oppressive the Taliban sharia government was, and saw Al Qaeda and others killing more Arabs than westerners, for such petty "crimes" as attending a wedding or new year's party which had music and dancing. They also saw Zarqawi as the face of Al Qaeda saying that they were against free elections and that all Shia need to be wiped out or converted.

If the Sunni are turning at all against Al Qaeda in Iraq, it is for this reason, that the Iraqis see a sharia Al Qaeda government as being worse than democratic rule by a Shia majority.

7/12/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"According to reports, almost every shop in the main bazaar of every town – large or small – in Pakistan had a Lashkar collection box to raise funds for the “struggle in Kashmir.”
The group was indeed banned by the government in 2002;
nevertheless, it still operates across the country, inside Kashmir, and has now spread its tentacles deep inside India. The latter can deal with the branches within India’s many provinces, but the roots of that tree are deeply planted and fertilized inside Pakistan.

Hence, Pakistani President Musharref has to push from the West and the Indian government from the East to contain and isolate the Jihadi terror network. But can the Pakistani president rise to the mission?

Immediately after the attacks, General Musharref and his Foreign Minister denounced the “heinous act.” This was the right thing to do to cool Indian-Pakistani relations. But would the commander-in-chief of the Pakistani Army cross the line and move against the Laskar-e-Taiba inside his own country? It is a very tall order in view of the solid entrenchment of the jihadists in the second largest Muslim country in the world. To the east, on the border of Afghanistan, Taliban-Pashtuns tribes control Waziristan, where Osama bin Laden is believed to hide. To the West, along the border with India, stretch the Laskar. In the center and within the big cities, roam the Islamist parties of the country, intimidating the once influential secular parties.

In the middle, stands Musharref with his army. The question is about the Islamist influence inside the Army and the intelligence service.

A few months ago, a former higher-up in the armed forces advised on a website, “Musharref better withdraw the troops from Waziristan if he doesn’t want to see the intifada exploding.
Al-Qaeda, the Dawa leadership, the Laskar, and their allies inside India understand this deadly geography. They are playing chicken with both Pakistan and India, manipulating both against the other...

7/12/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The problem tho, Wu, is that the now defunct "WOT" is not the conflict in Iraq.
Certainly not only in Iraq, and certainly not only against Arab Muslims, who probably see the situation with greater clarity than many other victims Worldwide.

7/12/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The ultimate prize,
42 ready to launch nuclear warheads

There was a time the US said those weapons were "unacceptable", that time has passed into history.

The weapons have not.

7/12/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Mark White said...

When Khalilzad says "If Iran persists in its unhelpful actions, the Iraqi government, as well as the United States and other friends of Iraq, will need to consider necessary measures to deny to Tehran the ability to undertake destabilizing policies," one hopes he means reuniting the Shia Arabs in Khuzestan with Najaf's Ayatollah Sistani. Once that's done, the oil revenues that the ayatollahs from Qom use to pay for nukes and Revolutionary Guards will start going for roads and schools that teach engineering rather than jihad. That would certainly deny Tehran the ability to undertake destabilizing policies.

At the same time, we ought to also reunite the Shia Arabs from Hasa with Najaf. Once that's done, the oil revenues that pay for nukes in Pakistan and madrassas in the USA will start going for roads and schools that teach engineering rather than jihad. An statement from the Anglosphere+ Alliance (US-UK-India-Australia-Canada-Germany-Japan) ought to be enough to convince Teheran and Riyadh that withdrawal is a wiser course of action than resistance.

In return for Shiite liberation, an international administration set up by the Anglosphere+ Alliance would oversee oil revenues in the two provinces for the wider benefit of the Middle East, along the lines Laurent Murawiec discussed in his Saudi policy book, "Princes of Darkness."

7/12/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Smacko said..."As for Iraq's economic growth: Wretchard has talked in the past of the importance of 'English Commen Law' as well as private property rights when it comes to developing nations. Does anyone have any info on where Iraq stands with these? "

Great question. I imagine there must be verbiage about this matter in the Iraqi constitution. Whether or not there are other institutions in place to support such rights is rightly open to question. Someone must have done at least a preliminary analysis on this in the econ-blogosphere. I'll add it to my long and ever-growing list of things to look for and report back if I find anything worthwhile.

7/12/2006 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Smacko said...

Lol DR,

I love the quotes around 'unacceptable'.

Why not share the plan from your 'Avalon Hill (TM) DR World Domination' board game for dealing with the most volatile nuclear confrontation that is ongoing.

Pak vs India

'Unacceptable' indeed. Lovely smarmy tossoff comments from the sidelines again.

7/12/2006 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Smacko said...

I'm sorry, that last should have read:

Lovely "smarmy" tossoff comments from the sidelines again.

Now my real meaning is hidden from all.


7/12/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This is why I don't think it would necessarily be bad if Al Qaeda set up a sharia Islamist government in a small part of Somalia for a limited period of time. It might be worth it if we can exploit it as propaganda. The idea would be to get "victims" of the oppressive regime talking on Al Jazeera and western TV stations about what hell it was to live under an Al Qaeda government.

Ultimately these asymmetric terror wars will be decided by the general population, more than direct military conflict. As Mao said, "The guerillas are fishes and the people are the ocean they swim in". In cases where the people turn against the Islamists, like the Taliban in much of Afghanistan, the Islamists will collapse like a house of cards when even a small amount of force is applied in the proper way. The almost instant destruction of Saddam's oppression forces in Shiite and Kurdish areas of Iraq during the early days of the invasion is another example. In the case where the population doesn't support the terrorists, they are hanging by a thread and can easily and quickly be overthrown with small amounts of foreign military assistance.

But in cases like some Sunni areas of Iraq, the population supports the terrorists, and the population are the terrorists, so killing can only reduce the number of terrorists, not eliminate them. It is like draining part of a cup of poison. No matter how much is drained off, the rest is still poison.

7/12/2006 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well smacko, what Mr Reagan said, in 1984, was that there would be
:"grave consequences" if Pakistan enriches uranium above 5%.
Pakistan Nuclear Weapons - A Chronology

They did enrich above 5%, there were no "Grave Consequences".
Anything that would trigger "Grave Consequence" would be, almost by definition, "unacceptable". No?

Fast forward to today, the US pays both sides of that nuclear standoff.
Mr Bush wants to assist the Indians in their further explotation of the atom. He did not offer a similar package to the Pakistanis. Perhaps that is what Mr Reagan meant, back in '84.

7/12/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Gipper was not familiar with moving Goalposts.

7/12/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Now, snacko, you may not see a historical cycle in the US rhetoric concerning Islamic nuclear development, but it seems quite evident to me.

Look yhrough the prism of 3000 year history of Persia's conflict with the "West" and it is easy to see how the Iranians view US rhetoric as regards to Islamic modernization and soon to come Regional parity.

7/12/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

mledeen would know.

7/12/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Smacko said...

Pak, Iraq, Iran, NK.....

Sometimes I wonder if Bush privately curses the former presidents for kicking all these cans down the road, instead of dealing effectively with the developments at the time.

Even the gipper. Pak conducted thier nuke 'cold test' in 1983.

All the 'payments on the future' not paid, with the notes coming due now.

7/12/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The next one will have a MOUNTAIN to recycle.
...bringing the nation back from Ivy League Eunichood.
Also known as submission.

7/12/2006 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Steve Emerson's Video would not even be released for more than a decade AFTER 1983.
...yet it's been MORE than a decade since.
And Rove entertains CAIR and La Raza.
(no longer a Koolaid drinker, sorry)

7/12/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

La Raza

Talk about your racists.
The very name exclaims it.

Ot's like the Federals subsidizing and paying homage to David Duke.
Or Senator Byrd.

7/12/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Associated Press Writer


Two groups of tourists were robbed at gunpoint on the National Mall, just hours after the police chief declared a crime emergency in the city in response to a string of violence that included the killing of a British activist.

The activist, Alan Senitt, was attacked in the Georgetown area on Sunday, his throat was slit and police say the attackers attempted to rape his companion. It was the 13th homicide in the city this month. Robberies are up 14 percent, and armed assaults have jumped 18 percent in the past 30 days. ..."

13 murders in a month, less than 1% of Baghdad's toll, and the Nation's Capital Declares Crime Emergency

via Mr Drudge

7/12/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/12/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

If true this is very, very good news, and part of the evidence I've been asking for:

Despite the sectarian bloodshed, fliers were circulated in a predominantly Sunni area north of Baghdad, urging Shiite families not to flee and warning people not to hurt members of the majority sect. The fliers were purported signed by the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of several Islamic extremist groups, including al-Qaida in Iraq.

7/12/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

We hear a good deal about perception being reality. It reminds me of the days I use to fly out of Washington National Airport on Allegany Airlines. Now Allegany was the sticky floor theater airlines, puke city. So they did a marketing survey asking flyers to list the the top five. U. S. Air came in the top five although it didn't exist, so Allegany just changed names..bingo the new perception was the new reality.
OK, so we just change the names of some counties and people around. Iraq is now New Flowers,Egypt is New Blue Nile. Hezbollah is now, Gardenia Glenn. IED's are now Oops Surprises...
All is well. Of course this will be handle by the UN under an Oil for New Names Program but it will work, oh Toto, I know it will work.

7/12/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This is the story about how some Iraqis would rather go without electricity and water instead of having something built by Americans

Reconstruction has also been hampered by Iraq's fractured population. In a meeting with U.S. reconstruction officials, city engineers said the national government was ignoring their requests for help and openly accused Shiite ministers in Baghdad of sidelining Fallujah's Sunni officials.

Progress has also been slowed because remnants of the insurgent force still operate in the city, although at a far lower level than the days when gunmen roamed the streets and insurgent commanders ruled.

Iraqi engineers said insurgents target U.S.-funded projects but have largely spared those funded by the Iraqi government.

"We have had some attacks, but not big attacks. We have good dialogue with (insurgents)," said Khalid al-Jumily, a local engineer who works on several reconstruction projects. "We try to educate them. We say, 'This school is for you.'"

7/12/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Just for you, doug.
From Ms Malkin's site

"According to GOP Rep. Charlie Norwood of Georgia, The Race snapped up $15.2 million in federal grants last year alone and more than $30 million since 1996. Undisclosed amounts went to get-out-the-vote efforts supporting La Raza political positions. The U.S. Department of Education funneled nearly $8 million in taxpayer grants to the group for a nationwide charter schools initiative.

We are the World

7/12/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The MSM initially passed along Palestinian propaganda without verifying, saying that the Israeli air strike had only killed civilians, missing all the Hamas targets.

After initially claiming its leaders had escaped harm, Hamas militants took over the intensive care unit of Gaza City's main hospital, where doctors said seven militants were in critical condition. The gunmen refused to say who was being treated.

7/12/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

off subject ..I was talking to Chesty Puller last night about Peter "The Weeper" Pace and his last tissue tester. We agreed he should have rehearsed his speech. The feminization of the Armed Forces is now compete. Marines don't kill they hand out candy and the top Teufel-hunden is Patton's "Willie"

7/12/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Those illegal immigrants, just 12 million points of light.

Mr Mike Pence, R-Ind, has a reasonable solution to the legality issue, as regards the 12 million already here.
USA Today

My four-part plan is tough on border security and tough on employers who hire illegal aliens, but it recognizes the need for a guest-worker program that operates without amnesty and without growing into a huge new government bureaucracy.

7/12/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger John Sadowski said...

Thanks Wretchard. This should be 'required reading' for all Americans.

7/12/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Rumsfeld also indicated on his flight to Iraq that he did not expect any change for now in the legal arrangement under which American troops fighting in Iraq are immune from domestic laws. Some Iraqi leaders have questioned that immunity in light of a recent string of allegations of murder and other atrocities committed by U.S. troops against Iraqi civilians.

He said the Iraqis are free to say what they want, but that with regard to the handling of allegations against U.S. service members, "It's being handled as it should be."

7/12/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Maloki is on a 17 month, now, conditions based timeline, with nominal extensions, 23 months.

The questions about US immunity & Iraqi demands for participation in the various investigations and other related issues are seeds being planted now, to be harvested, later.

Never forget that Mr Maliki was Mr al-Jaafari's press spokesman, he understands both time and storylines

7/12/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger dajsid said...

the really interesting part is missing... the questions he was asked at the end of his speech. this one caught my attention:

Q: Hello, Mr. Ambassador. So the security crackdown in Baghdad has been going on a
couple of weeks — what’s your assessment of how well is it going? Is it succeeding?

AMB. KHALILZAD: It has not produced the results I expected so far. The plan is being reviewed, and adjustments will be made. No, it has not performed to the level that was expected.

7/12/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Hugo Chavez is interviewed by Greg Palast of the BBC, it is not balanced, but it is interesting.
In the "Progressive"
Hugo Chávez

7/12/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

I fear the Death squads are just getting warmed up and Khalilizad's optimism is unwarranted if this harbinges Civil War. The Shiites have held back for almost 2 1/2 years other than sporadic militia actions and Sadr's brief challenge - waiting for a government and seeing if the Sunnis would stop their violence and accept an Iraq where they don't have 100% of the power and get the lion's share of the wealth of the Iraqi economy.

They haven't. The bombings and whackings of busloads of Shiites kept up, and the consensus is the new government and occupying American forces cannot protect them.

Ergo, the Shia think - violence and cleansing is the emerging option to end the Sunni threat. The Kurds? Just waiting for a Civil War to start without initiating it themselves in a way that pisses off there American benefactors. Be sure they have lists drawn up of boundaries they wish to achieve that are Sunni-free, names and locations of Sunni families, and hope to have complete dominance of the Northern oilfields, Kirkuk, and Mosul.

W writes: But in a sense it's a strategy which reflects a particular weakness. The problem with stirring up ethnic hatred is that people too easily tire of getting all jumped up. Unless you can keep the pot boiling people tend to lapse all too easily into daily living.

I wish Richard was right, but history shows that new nations, or artificial nations constructed by colonial powers are largely unfit for democracy, lack unifying social norms, and are good candidates for civil war. Decolonialism usually involved some later "readjustments" to establish and enforce norms. By ethnic strife, by civil war, even by Partitions if civil war was avoided or dividing a nation into two or more new smaller nations were thought preferable to all out conflict. Even the US was not immune to needed a Civil war to establish a universal norm after decades of talk failed to reconcile the irreconcilable. Even Canada came close - twice.

Many new nations avoid this inevitable confrontation because a Caudillo or oppressive democratic state keeps ethnic strife repressed long enough for social and cultural norms to be developed.

Latin America may have avoided Civil War through Caudillos ruling long enough to make norms accepted by all. Or at least make the Ruling Elites seem "a normal thing".

Palestine and India's time ran out in 1948. Most of Subsaharan Africa, shortly thereafter.

Some countries, even with long dictatorial rule of a minority, are bound to have massive strife when the ruling minority is displaced. Lebanon. Jewish communist rule under Bela Kun in Hungary. Ethnic russian rule in the Balkans and 'Stans. Malaysia. Fiji. Now Iraq.

7/12/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

jp supplied us with this wonderful poll Survey of Iraqi Public Opinion

Page 39 is a telling graph. The opposition to Federalism is masive, outside of Kurdistan.

Only 3% of the population of Kurdistan trust MNF for their personal safety. In the other Reions there is no one that professes trust in MNF to provide personal safety.,
page 41. The bars for the Sunni areas and the Northern Arab tell a tale as well.

On page 42, 80% think the Militias should be abolished.
Page 49 indicates US presence is thought to be the 1st or 2nd greatest obstacle to "Peace" 16%, #4 in the ranking if Don't Know 28%, and NA 28% are factored out.

#1 is Sectarianism @ 29% followed closely by Federalism, 27%.

page 85 the greatest influence on your Dec '05 vote
#1 = Religion @ 34%

7/12/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Can we play cards in Gardenia Glen, or would that make Peter Pout?

7/12/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

For the non-initiated:
Poker Protection Tips
Speaking in Tongues
A friend recently told me of playing in a game in Gardenia, California,
and how several of the players spoke Vietnamese to each other while playing.
My friend seemed astonished that he lost all his money to these guys.
Wonder what they were talking about?

7/12/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

These discoveries were like a bucket of ice water poured rudely over my head. I’m a trained magician, and can usually detect a hustle a mile away.
Why had I become so gullible?
Was it because I wanted to believe in luck?
It was the only logical answer I could come up with.
I wanted to believe, so I had.

In 2002, I began writing Mr. Lucky again.
From the beginning, I knew the novel would be much different than the one I’d originally intended twenty-four years ago.
It would be based upon those same three stories, told from the perspective of someone who’d learned how easy it was to be fooled.

7/12/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

People never say things behind the back of their illegal employers while in plain sight by speaking in tongues, do they?

7/12/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

No government in the world can stop violence against all of its citizens. The crime rate is not zero in the United States. It was not zero is Saddam's Iraq (which was one of the biggest criminals).

This day always had to come, that the Shia would start fighting back. The key now is whether the Sunnis choose civil war or they pull back.

IMO What Maliki needs to do now is negotiate an unwritten cease fire on Iraqi civilians. Everything else is exempted: attacks on other militias, the government, the foreign forces, etc. He could point out that if someone feels they need vengence, they could use a militia target instead of civilians. Maliki should ask for a week of cease fire or if he can't get that a single day to start out. By doing this civil war could be avoided and each group could retain the use of violence as a bargaining chip.

7/12/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

nunca, doug.

7/12/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Iran and Syria may be to the region what Sadr is to Iraqi internally. The unmentionable. But as the kidnapping of Israelis in Lebanon suggests, while we may not want to mention them, they will always bring themselves up anyway. The problem with perceiving Iran and Syria's hand isn't intellectual, it's political. Just like the Luftwaffe didn't officially exist, despite all intelligence indications, until Hitler actually announced it and even then it was ignored.

The cure for this type of blindness is political and by that I don't mean a new Republican victory. Personally I think some terrible catastrophe has to befall before the political system wakes up. The shark actually has to get a hold of our leg before we acknowledge it was in the water.

7/12/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

The first thing I do when playing poker is check for prints on the cards and playing surface, usually a manhole cover or neatly excised piece of cardboard. If the prints are paisley or any tartan I don't play.
I'd like to play but I just returned from Montana to Florida in preparation for hurricane season.
(excuse me while I throw in some relevent wording, Sunnis,Iraq,Kaliflower)
OK..I'm expecting a call from Jim Cantore Wx Channel on how to keep possum fresh without ice or electricity. I don't want mine go'in bad. So I'll have to turn down the invite.
Now back to the posts where dealing out chess moves on Iraq is radioactive.

7/12/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Chinese have said they will veto the Japanese Resolution at the UN. They, along with Russia have introduced their own version, toothless, but forcefully worded.
China, Russia Introduce U.N. Resolution on N. Korea; Drops Language on Threat of Military Action .

A foretaste of Iran?
World Powers Agree to Send Iran Dispute Back to U.N. Security Council for Possible Punishment

But rest assured no action will be taken prior to 22 Aug 06, when the Iranians say they'll respond.
Until then, like their NorK comrades, the Iranians will be protected by their UNSC Allies from any meaningful action.

Mid October '06, about the same time as the Havana Summit,
the UN will vote on an Iranian Resolution of some sort.
US Elections come in November.
December '06, fish or cut bait.
War or retreat.

The Ambassador says "It is imperative for the new Iraqi government to make major progress in dealing with this challenge in the next six months. The Prime Minister understands this fact." speaking of sectarianism, but it is true of the overall violence, as well.

Well it is true that all societies have a bit of violence embedded within them, to compare Baghdad with say, Washington DC or LA is lunacy.
13 dead in 12 days creates a "State of Emergency" in DC.
That 13 is a third of a days deaths in Baghdad. 1,500 processed at the morgue last month, how many in shallow graves, uncounted?

7/12/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I'm not one to get into conspiracy theories, but more and more publicly released evidence shows that Iran is the terrorist center of everything. Like much of the faked evidence about Iraqi WMD was planted by Iranian intelligence. This was to trick us into taking their evil neighbor out, plus have our hands too tied up to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Likewise Egypt said that a prisoner swap was worked out with Israel but was torpedoed by outsiders (Iran). Iran is the sponsor of both Hamas and Hezbollah, with Syria also playing a role.

The effect is that now Israel is tied up militarily too, at a critical time for Iran, when it is finishing the development of nuclear weapons.

7/12/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is not a conspriacy, w.w., it's a well plan Operation.

We've been discussing it for years.

Part and parcel of the Mohammedan Wars.
It is not a nationalistic enemy we face, the Mohammedans may control Nation States but their strategies and tactics transcend them.

It is a Global War for them, a series of local conflicts for US.

The Perception of Justice Kennedy, the Law of this Land.

7/12/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"They, along with Russia have introduced their own version, toothless, but forcefully worded."
Can't accuse em of being the only ones in this game using that tactic.
Like the local terrorists scattered about, maybe they read the newspapers too.
Starting w/the NY Times.

7/12/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

You are right on the money about the death rate in DC and the state of emergency.
We are the greatest nation on earth, hell you'd think we could at least keep up with Iraq!

7/12/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Hansen said...

The only problem I see is, there is no government in Iraq! Sure, there's a "green" government. But do you all realise...they don't even live or work in Iraq? They can't even come out of the Green Zone, without an armed escort. Think about it. Mark

7/12/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Do terrorists learn from us, cont...
This is a great interview Hewitt had with Dennis Lormel, a former senior executive with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (counterterroism blog)

(Speaking of transactions less than $10k ...)
...So I think they had a false safety net in the sense that as long as they operated like that, they didn't recognize the capability that we had with SWIFT, and using intelligence information for financial tracking.

HH: I read as well...I've heard that $10,000 dollar number forever, where banks have to report. And I surmise from your post that if they were working in numbers significantly less than $10,000, they might have thought nobody cares.

DL: Absolutely. That's true.
HH: And now they know that we do.

DL: Yup. I think...so I think in that dimension, and with that element of people, which could be significant and certainly some people that we really want, you're now more challenged to be able to identify them.
Radioblogger / Lormel

7/12/2006 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

What ever indig Government exists in Iraq, mark, exists in the ISF.
They are the single major force in the country. Seems they are being kept in the barracks, along with most of our men.
The Camp Taji tale, available at Westhawk describes how aggresive actions against the Insurgents or Sectarians is discouraged by US commanders.

It is not an isolated incident.
When the ISF is unleashed, within weeks, IMO, by Mr Maliki then you'll see an Iraqi Government.
Mr Maliki has to wrest the "monoply of offical force" from US, before there can a real independent Iraqi Government.

7/12/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Habu, aren't you confused?
Instead of Jim Cantore and Kaliflower, weren't you thinking about Jim KALLSTROM and downing of flight 800?

7/12/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Seems to me, if there is a unifying strategy by the anti-coalition forces, Iran, Al Qaeda, et al, it is to keep the region in chaos and therefore, the ball in play for later exploitation. The West wearies quickly it is known. Nothing can preserver like the will of God. A stabile democracy will bring economic fortune and that will sap the forces of envy and despair of its vitality.

Chaos = Opportunity

7/12/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

SLATE - Bing West mentioned in 'Rat's Westhawk Link.
Handing Off a War

The American way of war has historically been to seek out and defeat the enemy army, not to assist a foundering ally.
Following in that tradition, through mid-2004 most American units in Iraq were focused on offensive operations to crush an insurgency recruiting from among a million military-age Sunni males.
Beginning in 2005, it was Gen. George W. Casey, the Multi-National Force commander, who identified this strategy as shoveling against the tide and redirected the military effort toward training an Iraqi security force.
In Ramadi, al-Qaida must be destroyed before there can be any local settlement. Watch Ramadi to see if the Iraqi army and police will fight together.

In Fallujah, though, al-Qaida does not control the local insurgents. Watch Fallujah to see if a political settlement can be reached between a predominantly Shiite national government and the local Sunni insurgent leaders.

7/12/2006 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

7:07 AM Not outdated 'Rat, but out of use.
To use it would be to admit how much s... we'd be giving a Clinton Admin for allowing SANCTUARIES that lead to more civilian deaths as well as more of our troops.
The long war marches on.

7/12/2006 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Whit at lucky 3:37 sez Regardless of the success or failure in Iraq, I don't think I can ever forgive the MSM, the Democratic Party, or other world leftists.

I just want to second that. We are at war, and half the country seems to be at war with the USA's legitimately elected government. The rebels have plenty of allies, our dearly departed French, Russian and other Allies in Europe.

That's not healthy.

7/12/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

One of the fascinating sets of dichotomies we are seeing these past few weeks is the actual capture of Iranian fighters and Intel posts in and around Basra, hinting at more than just clandestine support. Iran, however, may have started that before its own ethnic problems erupted these past months and their trustworthy troops, Revolutionary Guard/Special Guard/hired Chechen and other thugs, were needed to quell these disturbances and still needed to keep order, if not peace. Thus the Regular Army, which aligns itself to the population's demographics is put on *hold* and used sparingly. If they had dreams of declaring government in and around Basra and invading to support it, that went by the wayside with internal conflict. The MSM does the world a disservice by not reporting on this and we are left with Azeri television and Gateway Pundit for news.

As for the 'catch and release' syndrome in Iraq, I really do wonder why a prison or detention camp is not put up in Kurdistan and those captured elsewhere sent there? They would have nice and watchful oversight, and with MNF help could get tribunals set up in, oh, a year or so... but those kept would have *no* friends nearby to escape to and no means to travel far even if they did escape. I have always been in favor of exploiting the ethnic fears of those fighting against them while supporting a greater unity for those that want a peaceful Iraq. In point of fact a nice trilateral exchange system for prisoners could be done so that no captured fighter or terrorist is *ever* in home territory for keeping and final adjudication. Fanciful the idea may be, but it is one that unites those wishing to be united and divides those that are already divided from the populace and gives them fair hearing. And, perhaps in their fear they will tell us more than they would amongst friendly ears.

Overall the Iraq post-war campaign has gone well: major roads and supply routes sectured, inroads to supply Ba'athist redentists, insurgents, and terrorists have been, by and large, choked off. Baghdad was always to be the last strong hold of the various groups wanting to bring it all down around them, and was *purposefully* left as that safe haven. That city is the small mirror reflection of the Nation, and those that are important to their Sect, Tribes and Nation are there and now the populace gets to see all the ugliness of fighting close-up. And only Iraqis can end this and ever could. Cleaning out the militias, save for those that proved to be so dangerous as needed removal, would have been seen as 'interference in the expression of those peoples viewpoints'. They were left until these days so that the *only* expression they have now is that of violence, raw and destructive.

The military and economic trend lines for Iraq as a whole are good to very good. Attacks on critical infrastructure is down and now the Nation actually has become an agricultural exporting Nation which it was before Sadaam. In many ways the garden of the Middle East, and know the waters flow so that rich marshland returns... and vipers scurry from their holes seeking dry ground and are finding fences. And folks now hunting vipers.

To steal from Winston... Never have so few, done so much, with so little, for such little gratitude from those that sent them.

I had not expected so much in so little time and am pleasantly surprised.

So many others expect so much done perfectly and instantly, and quibble about how little of *everything* is done, ignoring the great work that has been achieved already, no matter how imperfectly.

I salute all the Forces in Iraq who have done so much for the world.

And I salute the Iraqi People: I suggest you get sunglasses as the dawn after that long night will shock the eyes and you will need a bit to get accustomed to this strange land you are making... called Home.

7/13/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Howard Hyde said...

I am most interested in Khalilzad’s remarks on economic policy, because in my humble opinion, getting this aspect wrong is a major fertilizer of discontent, conflict and instability.
Khalilzad’s points:
>>increasing oil production, improving basic services, developing a safety net for the poor, and promoting investment...diversify the economy, particularly by jump starting the housing and agriculture sectors... privatizing viable state-owned enterprises, establishing a modern financial and banking sector, and investing in needed infrastructure in transportation, communications, and health<<

…sound no worse than a Democratic or even Republican party platform, but Iraq cannot afford to do stupid things that aggravate problems. The government needs to focus first, second, third and last on its primary responsibilities:
Make sure people don’t kill each other; make sure people don’t steal from, rape, persecute or conspire against each other (please note that these core imperatives derive directly from the 10 Commandments, or as I call them, the 5 Secular Commandments 6-10).
Promote, protect and defend private property rights through law enforcement, adjudication of private contracts, adminstration of standardized registries, and privatization of anything that does not deal directly with the above security responsibilities. As the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has demonstrated, poor people the world over do own assets; what they lack is the standardized registration documents that would turn their assets into living, leverageable capital.

Apart from protecting life, limb and property from the violence of some against others, the government should get out of any other realm of the economy. Private entrepreneurs will see to it that oil, food, housing and medicine are developed and delivered efficiently and at the lowest possible costs.
Failure to stay within its proper boundaries can only result in 1) the gorvernment being overwhelmed by too many crises at once, and fail at its primary job of safety and security for its citizens, 2) corruption, as bureacrats find increasing ways to deal themselves and their friends the spoils of a rigged economic system, and 3) inefficiency, in the form of unstable currency, high unemployment, and shortages, all of which increase the pool of potential recruits into Jihad and sectarian violence.

If anyone can point me to sources where I may learn more about what this government is actually trying to do, please let me know.
My blog on Capitalism and Economics is:
I would love to start a dialog with Iraquis on on Capitalism and Economics.
Thank you.

8/12/2006 02:28:00 PM  

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