Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The view from the other side

Bill Roggio comments a letter from from a highly-placed al-Qaeda leader Atiyah to Zarqawi. The letter has been analyzed by the US Military Academy's Combating Terrorism Center. The letter is remarkable for reversing the perceptions that are normally assigned by conventional wisdom to the US military and the Sunni insurgency. It is Zarqawi who is upbraided for losing the "hearts and minds" of Iraqis; it is Zarqawi who is criticized for not reaching out Iraqi allies. It is Zarqawi who is blamed for plunging al-Qaeda into "weakness" in Iraq. It is Iraq as viewed, not through the pages of the New York Times, but through the prism of al-Qaeda. Here are some excerpts from the USMA synopsis. The emphasis is mine.


The captured letter sheds new light on the friction between al-Qa`ida’s senior leadership and al-Qa`ida’s commanders in Iraq over the appropriate use of violence. The identity of the letter’s author, “`Atiyah,” is unknown, but based on the contents of the letter he seems to be a highly placed al-Qa`ida leader who fought in Algeria in the early 1990s. `Atiyah's letter echoes many of the themes found in the October 2005 letter written to Zarqawi by al-Qa`ida’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri; indeed, it goes so far as to explicitly confirm the authenticity of that earlier letter. `Atiyah’s admonitions in this letter, like those of Zawahiri in his letter to Zarqawi, also dovetail with other publicly available texts by al-Qa`ida strategists.

Although `Atiyah praises Zarqawi’s military success against coalition forces in Iraq, he is most concerned with Zarqawi’s failure to understand al-Qa`ida’s broader strategic objective: attracting mass support among the wider Sunni Muslim community. `Atiyah reminds Zarqawi that military actions must be subservient to al-Qa`ida’s long-term political goals. Zarqawi’s use of violence against popular Sunni leaders, according to `Atiyah, is undermining al-Qa`ida’s ability to win the “hearts of the people.”

According to `Atiyah, Zarqawi’s widening scope of operations, culminating with the November 2005 hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan, has alienated fellow Sunnis and reduced support for the global al-Qa`ida movement. In this vein, `Atiyah instructs Zarqawi to avoid killing popular Iraqi Sunni leaders because such actions alienate the very populations that al-Qa`ida seeks to attract to its cause. `Atiyah also encourages Zarqawi to forge strategic relationships with moderate Sunnis, particularly tribal and religious leaders, even if these leaders do not accept Zarqawi’s religious positions.

`Atiyah instructs Zarqawi to follow orders from Usama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri on major strategic issues, such as initiating a war against Shiites; undertaking large-scale operations; or operating outside of Iraq. `Atiyah goes on to criticize Zarqawi’s board of advisors in Iraq for their lack of adequate political and religious expertise, and he warns Zarqawi against the sin of arrogance. Because al-Qa`ida is in what `Atiyah calls a “stage of weakness,” `Atiyah urges Zarqawi to seek counsel from wiser men in Iraq— implying that there might be someone more qualified than Zarqawi to command al-Qa`ida operations in Iraq.

`Atiyah closes with a request that Zarqawi send a messenger to “Waziristan” (likely, Waziristan, Pakistan) in order to establish a reliable line of communication with Bin Laden and Zawahiri. `Atiyah confirms in the letter that al-Qa`ida’s overall communications network has been severely disrupted and complains specifically that sending communications to Zarqawi from outside of Iraq remains difficult. Interestingly, he explains how Zarqawi might use jihadi discussion forums to communicate with al-Qa`ida leadership in Waziristan.

Commentary

Several things stand out in this synopsis. The first is that al-Qaeda's does not intend to forge a "national united front" of Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds. Their vision of an Iraqi resistance is entirely sectarian. Second, even within the Sunni community, al-Qaeda took a narrow focus and alienated "moderate Sunni" leaders. Third, al-Qaeda's operations abroad diffused the propaganda benefits derived from keeping the spotlight focused on Iraq. Sympathizers want to read about bombings in Iraq, not experience bombings themselves. The news should Iraq, Iraq and Iraq all the time. Supporters can sympathize with al-Qaeda as a symbol, as long as they don't have to live with al-Qaeda the reality. Fourth, despite Zarqawi's rampage of murder, al-Qaeda was in a "stage of weakness" not only in Iraq apparently, but even abroad where its network had been severely disrupted to the point that communications were difficult.

Updated Commentary

On IM with someone I knew in Iraq not too long ago he typed back "stop posting those stories about al-Qaeda arrests in Iraq; they're history. It's Sadr you should worry about". Ok. It's a point of view, but a plausible one from recent events. One unappreciated thing about the "leaked" NIE is that it was prepared while Zarqawi was still alive, at least six months ago. That was a moment when another unremarked thing was happening. The emphasis was shifting from the Sunni insurgency to "sectarian violence". The primacy of the perceived threat was also moving from Sunni extremism to Iranian militancy. The Lebanon War emphasized that shift. After Lebanon the Junior Status of Syria in the theater became evident. In one sense at least, debating the NIE in the NYT's terms is akin to an historical retrospective.

In fact a new story from the Times of London suggests my Iraq contact was probably dead on target. And its a pretty sad state of affairs when you can get better advance info off your IM than reading the national debate on the flagship papers.

High-ranking US military officers have expressed frustration with the Iraqi Government because of its failure to confront corrupt officials and death squad leaders who have infiltrated Iraq’s security forces. ...

A high-ranking Iraqi security official told The Times that pressure from Shia politicians had forced the Iraqi Army to stop fighting the al-Madhi Army this month in the southern city of Diwaniyah. Such political pressure had also stopped Iraqi Army operations against militias elsewhere, he said. ...

Faced with such hesitation on the part of the Government, US military brass are growing worried. “There is corruption and problems inside some of these ministries but it’s got to be dealt with, and it ought to be dealt with by the Prime Minister and the folks that are inside this Government. I think the time is short for them to deal with that because this cannot go on like this,” one officer said.

As if one cue, the History News Network is running the results of a poll that shows that al-Qaeda has a 94% disapproval rating in Iraq. It also shows a growing popularity in the Shi'ite controlled Iraqi government and a declining confidence in US forces to provide protection. And however you stand on those issues, those numbers sort of, kinda of make sense.

That's been a problem with a lot of the public debate over Iraq. It tends to be significantly lagged. We form ideas for future execution based on conditions that have passed. I think we are going to see that the debate will also be lagged with respect to Afghanistan too. One day people will be talking Waziristan after Waziristan is no longer the main problem. That's unfortunate because current events are a moving target which we analyze with lenses planted firmly in our posteriors.

87 Comments:

Blogger 2164th said...

al-Qaeda is irrelevant as an organization but has achieved an icon status with the Islamists. OBL is probably more valuable to them dead than alive. C-4 argued that the reduced value of bin Laden should be reflected in a reduction in the reward being offered for his capture. Where al-Qaeda is very relevant is in their singular achievement of lowering the threshold on vicious inhumanity. The Iraqis and Afghans are paying for that and will do so until the day of the ultimate irony arrives. That will be the day when Muslims arise and demand and enforce a stop to the Islamic insanity, but don't short the market on Islamic tolerance for the intolerable.

9/27/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Much whining lately about the Iraq war sparking an even greater insurgency. It should be evident to all by now that he 'insurgents' would kill every 'infidel' possible at every opportunity. So it follows that if they carry out the deed on Iraqi soil, rather than London or New York, it would be seen as a good thing. Might have even been part of the stategy for going there - ya think!?

A sad state of affairs indeed.

I know it will never happen, but I can't help but imagine the ultimate justice of seeing the ankle biters in the MSM being tried at some future date for Crimes Against Humanity for propagandizing against efforts to contain the terror mongers and thereby allowing the development if Iranian nuclear weaponry used to kill millions.

9/27/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Wretchard said . . .
"It's Sadr you should worry about". Ok. It's a point of view, but a plausible one from recent events.

Well at long last. Thank goodness for IM. I've been making the same point for 10 months now on this blog and have been getting little traction.

High-ranking US military officers have expressed frustration with the Iraqi Government because of its failure to confront corrupt officials and death squad leaders who have infiltrated Iraq’s security forces.

... A high-ranking Iraqi security official told The Times that pressure from Shia politicians had forced the Iraqi Army to stop fighting the al-Madhi Army this month in the southern city of Diwaniyah.


But of course! Just who do you think this lousy Iraqi gov't is composed of? There a bunch of Khomeneist thugs who've been working with each other for years as exiles in Syria and Iran!

Wretchard, you should do a post on the leading parties, politicians and their clerical backers within the United Iraqi Alliance. What is the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) all about? What about Dawa, Fadhila and Sadr? Such a post could be very illuminating.

Moqtada al-Sadr killed scores of American soldiers and marines and now he commands 30 parliamentary delegates, 6 ministries and his own semi-legal militia. And only now are we beginning to see the threat? I appreciate the "lenses in posteriors" comment for its explanatory power. It says alot about why so many have been unwilling to focus on exactly what kind of government we're turning Iraq over to!

9/27/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Reocon,
You can probably find comments over two years old hear bemoaning the insanity of letting Sadr continue to steal oxygen.
...at a time when he had about 200 active supporters!
---
Bobalharb Pins Hopes on "Extreme Home Makeover,"
Idaho Couple's Home Infested With Snakes

9/27/2006 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"here"

9/27/2006 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

If our goal in life has simply been to pound the Sunni insurgency into an unwinnable position that has been achieved a long time ago. Al-Qaeda was sectarian, too narrow to ever have a chance of taking over the whole shebang. What could they offer the Shi'ites and the Kurds but a sharper knife?

Unfortunately it isn't just al-Qaeda that has this narrow cast of mind. Some of the other "communities" can't look past their interests. Maybe they can eventually. Maybe never. We're about to find out.

I've written pretty extensively about how Iraq continues to be a problem, but not the same kind of problem. It's nature is changing. This point might be trivial, but it's essentially missing from the debate, which is still talking about Yellowcake from the Niger and the "looting of antiquities" in Baghdad. Maybe people can't help looking at events in a lagged manner because we only have data after the fact. But it helps to be concious of it.

9/27/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yeah, doug.
Mr al-Sadr as well as Warizistan, Syria, Lebanon and Iran being used as Mohammedan sanctuaries.

Identification of the ever changing enemy, which includes most of the elected Iraqi Government.

But no, no one here ever gave those ideas much traction.

9/27/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: Sadr.

Must be being kept alive (protected) for a reason. Perhaps the alternative would be worse (and perhaps better is worse).

Time will tell. Wish I could wake up in a decade and see how it all played out (rather than this day to day filling-a-cavity-like experience). We're so impatient (sometimes I envy the Chinese, with their ability to contemplate changes taking generations).

9/27/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I was surprised to see Sayyid Qutb mentioned in this Sept 26, 2001 ONION article.
Don't recall him being widely mentioned at the time.
Talking with your Child
As your child may or may not know, much of modern Islamic fundamentalism has its roots in the writings of whose two-year sojourn to the U.S. in the late 1940s convinced him that Western society and non-Islamic ideologies were flawed and corrupt. Over the course of the next several decades, his writings became increasingly popular throughout the Arab world, including Afghanistan.

9/27/2006 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

You can't say we weren't warned, 'Rat:
---
U.S. Vows To Defeat Whoever It Is We're At War With
WASHINGTON, DC—In a televised address to the American people Tuesday, a determined President Bush vowed that the U.S. would defeat "whoever exactly it is we're at war with here."
---
The collective sense of outrage, helplessness, and desperation felt by Americans is beyond comprehension. And it will be years before the full ramifications of the events of Sept. 11 become clear. But one thing is clear: No Austrian bodybuilder, gripping Uzis and striding shirtless through the debris, will save us and make it all better. Shocked and speechless, we are all still waiting for the end credits to roll. They aren't going to.

9/27/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

reocon said:

It says alot about why so many have been unwilling to focus on exactly what kind of government we're turning Iraq over to!

So we turn Iraq from a Sunni dictatorship into a Shi'ite dictatorship. Does this mean we're going to turn Iran from a Shi'ite dictatorship into a Sunni dictatorship to maintain the balance of power? This would be a case of nothing more than a superpower twiddling its thumbs, if not for the casualties involved.

9/27/2006 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"How long can it go on like this?

Three weeks after the horrific attacks that claimed more than 6,000 lives, many Americans are wondering when their priorities will finally be in the wrong place again. Some are wondering if their priorities will ever be in the wrong place again.

"In the aftermath of this horrible tragedy, people find themselves cruelly preoccupied with the happiness and well-being of their loved ones, unconcerned with such stupid bullshit as the new Anne Heche biography or Michael Jackson's dramatic comeback bid," said Dr. Meredith Laufenberg, a psychologist and family therapist at UCLA Medical Center.

"Who knows how long it will be before things are back to normal?"

9/27/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

White and Nerdy

9/27/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

The Cardinal Conundrum: An optimist believes we live in the best
of all possible worlds. A pessimist fears this is true.

9/27/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

The difference between an optimist and a pessimist is experience.

9/27/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger j willie said...

Reocon - here is the info you requested from Wretchard regarding Iraqi political composition (and this is a reliable source). And in the light of its conclusion, you would be well served to also review this (current) news before continuing your rather hysterical rantings that all is lost in Iraq. But, you don't seem predisposed to listening or reasonable debate, so I'm not gonna get into it any further with you. Just happened to see these two pieces after reading several of your posts and was struck by the discordance between your perception and the facts included in the articles.

9/27/2006 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Wretchard said:

"That's been a problem with a lot of the public debate over Iraq. It tends to be significantly lagged.... That's unfortunate because current events are a moving target which we analyze with lenses planted firmly in our posteriors."

The dynamics of the New York Times gambit with the cherry picked NIE leak has been interesting to watch. The whole MSM was spinning up to nail Bush nicely with the new meme: "Iraq made the war on terror worse". The story originally had the look-and-feel of the CBS Texas Air National Guard yarn that was supposed to terminate Bush's reelection. I wonder if the New York Times editors coordinated the release of the NIE story with senior Democratic party leaders? By monitoring Google/news, I noted that it took about 24 hours for the story to drain from the system after Bush declassified the relevant portions from the NIE. If you now do a Google/news search on "NIE", you'll find most of the results only concern the MSM's mishandling of the story (back page stuff). So much of this MSM "news" is stage managed with an emphasis on spin-up time and decay time. If the NIE yarn had clicked then it was probably good for a month and maybe influence the election. However since it flopped, it has already been forgotten to clear the way for the next gambit. I wonder what's next in the pipeline?

9/27/2006 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

lfwlpjmzSome things I noticed in reading Atiyah's letter:

1. The high intellectual level of the writer and the urbaness of the discourse. A reminder that we cannot underestimate them as simple-minded barbarians. The committment to be in it for the long haul.

2. Recognition that the US has no allies. Even the Brits are not mentioned.

3. Prominent mention of the 1994-95 Algerian fiasco - where the extremists lost the 12-year long Civil War because of their ferocious, indiscriminant brutality towards the civilians - contrary to the Maoist maxim of being fish swimming in a sea of sympathetic peasants - they tried terrorising the people they pretended to fight for into rigid lockstep with the extremists and were untimately rejected.
He gave clear evidence that Al Qaeda was having difficulty with command and control communications. Though at the end, the writer is encouraged that he feels the Internet is safe and Zarqawi should use that to contact Atiyah and others except the top leaders - (a sign that the US has not put resources into monitoring or trying to block Islamic use of the Internet, part of Bush's failure to get a corps of Americans competent in the languages of our enemy).

4. Like Wretchard, I noticed the complete lack of ANY instruction to work with Shiites. Meaning Al Qaeda is still true to it's determination that Shia are heretics - negating our "Special Friend's" claims that Al Qaeda is working with Iran, and we better attack Iran soon!

*******************
The associated Poll was an eye-opener. For some reason Wretchard left out the near-complete rejection of America by the Shiites, and of course the Arab Sunni. Our dear "noble, purple-fingered, democracy-loving freedom fighting hero friends"....what a surprise!

The Shiites of Iraq can give the French lessons in backstabbing. 61% say it is good to kill Americans. 91% want us completely out in 2 years. Of course, it didn't help the Bushies were bungling idiots in the post-war, or that the Shiite fear of the US permanently based in Iraq by present US plans is based in fact.

There is no difference between them and the Sunnis, who also by over 90%, want America completely gone within 2 years.

Anyone with illusions of "hearts and minds being won" with just a little more money for the "noble Iraqi Arabs" and a little more effort is delusional...

Rumsfeld and the neocons believed the "liberators" would be in a sea of happy, liberated Iraqis so grateful to us that they'd be signing off on permanent basing rights, so the US taxpayer has built over a dozen superbases complete with Burger Kings and movie theaters at a cost of over 14 billion dollars - on that "noble, America-loving Iraqis" assumption.

The Polls of Iraqis seem to indicate that most outside the Kurds believe America being there only encourages violence, that they are angling for long-term control of Iraq's oil and using Iraq as a staging point for future wars against other Gulf countries to help "America's Special Friend", and preserve its secret and vast WMD stores, and it's monopoly on such weapons in the region..
http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/home_page/250.php?nid=&id=&pnt=250&lb=hmpg1

Only the Kurds seem to regard us as not targets. But the neocons dream of a base from which America could launch other adventures to help it and it's "Special Friend" are problematic in Kurdish lands as well, after we write off the blown billions on bases we will likely have to completely abandon to the south of the Kurds. Because any base we set up in Kurd lands would have to be with Turkey's assent and willingness to let us supply - which is dubious.

I think in both the Al Qaeda note and the polls we see the Iraq endgame emerging.

Al Qaeda lost in Iraq to the US and also to other undemocratic radical Islamist factions that gained control through Bush's beloved "purple finger kinda folks". The US will eventually be asked to leave as an unwelcome guest that messed up. The oilfieds will see the French, Russians, Chinese, and Gulf States (who have not pissed off the Iraqis nor are in bed with Israel) getting the contracts and possibly giving the US some business getting the oil found, pumped - but that oil will obligated and sent to China and India. A counterweight to Iran has been removed by the Americans. US, particularly Bush credibility is low enough overseas and at home on their competence to do more military attacks that both Syria and Iran can breathe easy no matter how much "Our Special Friend" says we must attack to save America from the "gathering threat, that must not be appeased in another Munich."

9/27/2006 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Cedarford,

When Kurds are attacked by AQ islamists, these attacks originate in Iran. It is well known Iran has been helping AQ with logistics and providing it refuge within territory, which for the time being is still considered to be Iranian.

9/28/2006 12:40:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I did mention the US drop in the polls in which the Shi'ites see the need to rely on America less and less and on their government more and more. Though perhaps I should have emphasized it more.

It makes sense, when you think about it, that the Shi'ites should feel their oats. After all, the Sunni dictatorship and the successor insurgency are pretty much destroyed as a national force, though they may have some power within their own ethnic bailiwicks. So guys like Sadr are licking their lips over a prospect they could not have achieved by anything else but American arms. Gratitude you can't expect. Not even from France and probably not from the oppressed Shi'a.

But self-interest is something else. Both the Kurds and Sunnis realize a federation guaranteed by America is the key to their survival. And even the Shi'ites too. A negotiated arrangement guaranteed by America is the only stable outcome. They only way they are going to live together and share the oil under some kind of peace. Not one of them -- Shi'ite, Sunni or Kurd -- has the power to control the country. Their strongholds yes, but the whole country no. Really their only choice is between a prosperous peace fueled by Iraqi oil or misery under an endless and unwinnable civil war.

But who's rational? Hopefully the US is. If the strategic goal in Iraq was to show that the rule of law and democracy could trump tribal ambitions and ethnic identities the it hasn't been achieved yet. If the objective was to smash a terrorist sponsoring state (Saddam's) and provide access to Iran then Iraq is potentially worth its weight in gold.

Every time I read about Iran's cross border ops in Iraq I say to myself: those types of ops always go both ways. Boy oh boy. What opportunities for infiltrating Iran by turning, doubling and straight organizing inside it. Then I think about the CIA's track record and my heart starts to sink. If anyone can turn gold to lead, the bureaucrats can. But what do I know? I don't have an inside track on what's going on so there's nothing for it but to wait and see.

9/28/2006 02:49:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

It's becoming more obvious day by day that greater Iraq if there is to remain one, will be Shia. The violence occurring now may be a cleansing effort; Shia payback for the Baathist years. Maybe we shouldn't get to obsessed with it. Call me a knuckle dragger but Saddam should have been turned over to a mob, not a jury. In any case, our role is diminishing in Iraq and so should our expenditures. It's obvious that we have been in a force protection mode for some time now. We're leaving and whatever will be will be. As far as I am concerned, our focus should be on keeping Sunni 's focussed on Shias and visa versa.

9/28/2006 04:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

istarious.
By logical extension then, when the Kurkish faction, PPK, attacks Turkey, attacks that originate in US controlled Iraq, it is due to US sponsorship of those attacks?

Goose and gander?

No wonder Turkey will not gain EU membership, it is at war, covertly, with US.

I'd have not seen it that way, without your insight.

9/28/2006 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

j willie said...
Reocon - here is the info you requested from Wretchard regarding Iraqi political composition (and this is a reliable source).

1. J willie, did you read the links you provided? My arguments is that the current Iraqi gov't is composed by a bunch of Islamist thugs. Here is Threatwatch:

Dawa, the party of both of Iraq’s elected prime ministers, Jaafari and Maliki, is the oldest Islamist party in the country.

AND

The largest and most powerful faction is the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI.

AND

The United Iraqi Alliance is a coalition of Shi’a religious parties and like-minded independent candidates.

Like minded? Islamist?

My claim is that Sadr, whose murdered scores of Americans, now commands 30 seats in the Iraqi parliament. Here is threat watch:

The political faction of Muqtada al-Sadr does not have a formal party name - the Iraqi press simply refers to it as al-tiyar al-sadri, the “Sadr movement” or “tendency” - but its members in parliament are identifiable as a bloc and are not independents. In addition to the 28 Sadrist seats within the UIA, there are two seats on a separate list outside the UIA which are loyal to Sadr, and this would give him the largest voting bloc were it not for the alignment of UIA independents with SCIRI.

Is this a gov't that you, j willie, support?

2. ThreatWatch is behind the times with a couple of its assertions. I wasn't able to find when it was published, but according to the State Dep't own polling, the following is no longer true:

Mahdi Army attacks on Sunnis and al-Qaeda attacks on both Sunnis and Shi’a have convinced most Iraqi Sunnis that as much as they hate having American troops in their country, the Western presence is necessary for the time being.

3. There is almost no analysis here of the Shiite parties' militia.

4. Some of the conclsions still have weight and explanatory power. Why hasn't Maliki moved against Sadr?

The challenge for Maliki and future prime ministers, then, will be to hold together the two Shi’a factions and like-minded independents, the moderate Sunni-dominated factions and the Kurds.

5. The other ThreatWatch piece you linked is about Al-Qaeda, which not germaine to by point that we are turning Iraq over to pro-Hezbollah, pro-Iranian, Shiite Islamists.

Thanks for the links.

9/28/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"We're leaving and whatever will be will be."

Be still my heart.

However, whit, it is readily apparent that the military cannot shake this booger. Numbers alone tell the story.

Why didn't we begin scaling back last year - stripping down to the diplomatic facilities and security support? (Not more than which is needed for the "access" Wretchard mentions.) Because we couldn't - and we can't. Not with less unpleasant outcome.

It would help if the Iraqi Government wanted us to depart but, surprise-surprise, it's almost entirely dependent upon us. It would help if Congress forced some discipline on an unhurried, inertia-bound WH, which would then force some discipline on the various agencies of the enterprise - Iraqi government included. Not holding my breath, regardless of mid-term outcome.

So there we are.

***********************************

Sadr's on the Do Not Kill list.

Who do you think compiled the list?

9/28/2006 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As to the loyalty and steadfastness of the Iraqi Government, as a regional ally of the US, it is not. Not on Strategic issues, like Iran and the spreading Mohammedan terror.

"... BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 26 — Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari of Iraq today endorsed the right of Iran to pursue the "technological and scientific capabilities" needed to create nuclear power for peaceful purposes, in the first high-level meeting between officials from the new Iraqi government and its eastern neighbor. ..."

Which is not the US position, at all, vis a vie Iran.
The there is Lebanon:

"... BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Many American politicians were surprised by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's criticism of Israel's attacks on Lebanon. They need only look at the stance taken by Iraq's top Shiite spiritual leader to understand why al-Maliki cannot stand with the U.S. in the crisis.

On Sunday, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani condemned the "Israeli aggression" and warned that "Islamic nations will not forgive the entities that hinder a cease-fire" - a clear reference to the United States. His statement came after an Israeli airstrike that killed 56 people, mostly women and children, in the southern Lebanese village of Qana.

Al-Maliki's comments came five days earlier, but it was no secret that the grand ayatollah and the rest of the Shiite clerical leadership strongly opposed Israel's offensive - and supported their fellow Shiites in Hezbollah. ... "


But, what the hey, let US give Mr Maliki a 250,000 man Army and a couple of billion USD to spend. Maybe he'll become our friend.
Selling out his lifelong beliefs for the money and power of being a US puppet, like Mr Diem and the Shah, before him.

9/28/2006 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

desert rat,

Outside parts of Constantinople, Turkey is largely an Islamist territory. From all my contacts with Turks, they all hate the US and hate Israel. That's my own "unscientific" personal experience with those of them that immigrated abroad. In my opinion, Turkey is an Islamist Trojan Horse. Most of the European electorate seems to understands this instinctively. Some in Europe, like the former German personality Joschka Fischer know this, but don't care or are too compromised to care.

9/28/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

Desert Rat,

So which is it? Maliki is NOT a regional ally or a US puppet?
Just curious.

9/28/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Regardless of the Islamification of Turkey. Are the Kurdish PPK attacks any less of a US responsibility to control than aQ operations sourcing from Iran are to be laid at Abracadbra's doorstep?

The US is not at War with Islamists or Muslims or Mohammedans, in Turkey or elsewhere.

It is engaged in a narrow pursuit of individuals. Not in a Regional or International conflict. It was so ruled in Hamadan, confirmed by the Congress and the Executive's response to that decision by the Supremes.

A greater Mohammedan War is either wishful thinking or a bad dream, but not a reality for the US Government.
The Federal's perception is Reality.

sfrcook, Mr Maliki is trying to play the part of friend and ally, as did Mr Diem. He is, though, like Mr Diem not a puppet. Mr Diem died when the "strings" did not move him to agreement with US.

In the end, the same was true of the Shah, he would not play the US tune for Mr Carter. He was replaced with the Mullahs.

In Mr Diem's case the US hung on, in country, to it's eventual discomfort. In Iran, we cut and ran.
Which was the greater folly?

Mr Maliki and the UIA faction's Bovernment, is not, I believe a puppet regieme, but a parasite.
It represents, IMO, Islamic fascism.

When Mr Rumsfeld said, some months ago that if we left Iraq, it'd be "worse than Saddam" he was speaking of the UIA and it's current governmental disposition.

9/28/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

desert rat,

By your absurd logic, you can argue that Mr Maliki is at war with Turkey, and that Iran is at war with Mr Maliki.

9/28/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

Desert Rat,

I understand your misgivings. I suppose the point I'm trying to make is that our enemies accuse him of being a puppet, while others, such as yourself, criticize him for not being enough of an ally. Frankly, tho, I don't believe anyone that supports the current policy expected him to always toe the American line, so to speak.

You quote Maliki's statements on the recent Lebanon issue, yet you could have just as easily quoted our Saudi friend, our Turkish friends, and let us not forget the statements made by our stalwart European allies.

You may very well be shown to be correct in you assessment of Maliki. However, that 250,000 man army is activily pursuing and killing jihadis. Which is more than I can say for most of the aforementioned allies. I fail to see how that is not in our national interest.

9/28/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

1. The world MUST talk to terrorists, negotiate with all terrorist groups!

The RIGHT to use terror as a legit weapon has been proven out by the Palestinians and as such is now the NEW standard.  Turkey MUST recognize the PPK. The west should fund and supply weapons to all “occupied” peoples. (Kurds, Berbers to name a couple) Just as the world forced israel to talk to the palestinians the world should now have that standard for themselves.

2. Now that we are talking, we must as well start using car bombs and terror on the enemies that use it on us and our allies.

example: The palestinians shoot kassams over the border to kill israelis, israel MUST respond with a 10 fold amount of rockets and must be aimed at the general direction of a palestinian town or village. No more targeted killings.

3. We must advocate peace talks or a hunda, as the great islamic warriors do, but at the same time (in english) talk of what targets we can destroy to cause them pain.

4. Sadr in Iraq is actually part of the USA vrs Iran war that has already started. Since we the West are now “the weak horse” we should not confront iran directly. I suggest an undercover attempt to mail anthrax through the syrian, palestinian & iranian mail services directed at any and all imams, clerics & leaders, or people we don't like. I suggest a sabotage of their electric grids, water supplies, food supplies. We should cripple all computers via viruses PC’s that are in countries that support our downfall.

sounds radical?

It’s just what they have been doing for decades:

Sirhan Sirhan, The Israeli Water carrier attacks of 1964, the diverting of fresh water from israel by syria and lebanon, attacks on airplanes, temples, restaurants, rockets, hijackings, slitting or throats of christian doctors , shooting of nuns, etc.

give them what they give us and guess what? no aid to rebuild.

if you force us to break you, don't expect us to fix you....

9/28/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No, istarious, it is by your logic that those conclusions are reached.

sfrcook,
The ISF is Iraq's only hope for effective Government. Just as the Army in Turkey has maintained a secular system, there for many years.

In Turkey that role may or maynot be breaking down, but it never has emerged in Iraq.

Just whom is the ISF or the Iraqi Federal Police targeting?

"... The leader of the Supreme Council for the Revolution in Iraq, Sayyid Abdulaziz al-Hakim, has launched a big campaign for an autonomous Shiite federated unit that would take in the overwhelmingly Shiite provinces in the south and the middle Euphrates, but this project has triggered the furious opposition of Hakim's nemesis, the young cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Hakim's bid was transparent. He sought to be the uncrowned king of a Shiite polity. But he was rebuffed. Sadr was joined in opposition to that scheme by the Daawa Party of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, by the Virtue Party, and by those secular Shiites who had come into the national assembly with former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. A bitter struggle now plays out in the Shiite provinces between the operatives of the Badr Brigade and Sadr's Mahdi Army. The fight is draped in religious colors--but it is about the spoils of power. ..."
as published in the WSJ online
So now we know why Mr al-Sadr is on the Us "Do Not Shoot" list. He is saving Mr Maliki's bacon.

Where is the ISF in this battle for power?

A definition of terms may be in order. A Jihadist... Mr al-Sadr and Osama both qualify as Jihadists, as does Mr Maliki and most other "practicing" Muslims.
Do we speak of Jihadists as those engaged in the external or internal struggle?

In Iraq the "Jihadist" aQ model has been operating in Anbar and parts of Baghdad. But not all Sunni Insurectionists are aQ related. The recent formation of a 30,000 man Sunni militia in Anbar, to support anti aQ operations, is a case in point.
This "new" militia will be, like the Badr Brigade and the Mahdi Army, autonomous and independent of the Baghdad Government.
But if these fellows prove reliable, then aQ could no more operate training bases in Iraq than Maoist Kurds could, not without US sanction at some level.

Or could they?
Could aQ or the PPK operate in Iraq without US support?
Could aQ operate in Iran without Iranian support?
Could aQ operate in Warizistan without Pakistani support?

Why is the US not moving against terrorist training camps in it's Area of Responsilbility, within Iraq?

9/28/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

DR, you say we are not legally at war with "Islam".

Any sensible administration that recognized who the enemy was, that is Islam, would bend all it efforts into provoking the enemy into making this a good deal plainer.

whatis "occupation" seemed to have a pretty good perscription for doing that, could not be done I suppose by any conceivable set of present US pols. Probably need to get rid of them all, since we can't do that either, we are down to blindly muddling along.

9/28/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

desert rat,

It is your absurd logic and argument, not mine.

Could aQ or the PPK operate in Iraq without US support?
Could aQ operate in Iran without Iranian support?
Could aQ operate in Warizistan without Pakistani support?

] The US is actively hunting down AQ in Iraq. AQ was using Iraqi issued passports when Saddam was in power.

] The Iranians are providing AQ logistical support. This is a fact.

] Now recovered from US nuclear threats, the Pakis are withdrawing their support.

9/28/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Do the Kurds in Iraq recieve US support? Well of course.
Does that support trickle down to the supporters of the PPK, you bet.

So does the US support the PPK by that chain, yep, especially when the US does not move against the PPK bases of operation, as they plant bombs and mines, cross border, in the homeland of our NATO ally.
The US supports with inaction and avoidence of the challenge, at a minimum.

Did the US fund anti Israel Mohammedan terror? Better believe it. The Israeli financed it themselves, for years. Reimbursing Arafart and the Palistinians for tax reciepts the Palis could never have collected themselves.

There is no "War" against Islam, legally or realisticly. Not if the actions of the two most "demonic" powers are viewed from a nuetral perspective.

There is a chase after particular "bad guys", but even that has become muted.

If one believes that Mr Bush really believes the General President, like he said he does.

9/28/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

Do the Kurds in Iraq recieve US support? Well of course.

What support? Name it.

9/28/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Cedarford,

You and other critcs of US/Bush policy in Iraq often have very valid critiques that supporters simply cannot ignore. While criticism is healthy in the discussion, I can't seem to get over your apparent absolute joy in seeing the US fumble.

I get the feeling that many critics of US policy in Iraq would be critics of US policy no matter what the actual policy may be.

9/28/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Staring In Disbelief said...

Somewhere in the comment stream someone mentioned the Chinese's "generational patience" about change. I think a lot of our fellow posters would do well to remember that decisions must be made at all elevels in real time with less than adequate facts. In hindsight, it is a simple matter to catalogue the mistakes of the Bush admin, military, CIA, etc., quite another to make the call yourself when all is on the line. It has been said that creation is an act of WILL, because change is more a function of brute strength, perseverence and sheer cussedness than it is one of elegant, perfectly designed & executed plasns & brilliantly intuitive decisions. History is street fight or barroom brawl more than a performance of the Boston Pops. Sadr's time will come, because in the end he is more expendable to the Shiite pols than US support is. I am sure Wretchard's fears about CIA bungling the opportunity to infil & pressure Iran is true, but I am also sure other agencies (probably theDoD & SOCOM) are straining to fill the competency gap and some agency will emerge to leave that pathetic shell of an organization in the dust where it belongs. IF WE HAVE THE WILL TO OVERCOME. It is the chattering classes in the media (including us here in the blogosphere) that can afford to argue over who lost Iraq/Iran/Middle East/blah, with our endless second-guessing. I think the US public has a much greater appreciation for the challenge than everyone whose head gets to fill the "one eyed idiot" every night. While not happy with having to fight a war (hence it's "unpopularity"), they are more likely to want a MORE VIGOROUS procecution than a cut and run. Either way, it is up to the front line men & women in the US military, NGOs, Iraq Security forces, and Abdul Q. al-Citizen to do the hard, brutal work of Civilization.

Time will tell, but I'll take Civilization and 3 points.

9/28/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Starting with a decade of support with no fly zones in the '90's.

Then
"... 2,800 Korean troops and fewer than 1,000 US troops are stationed in the Kurdistan region to assist in rehabilitating infrastructure such as water supply/sewerage, roads, school renovations and constructing town halls. ..."

As well as this from the Jordan Times datelined 14 Sep
ANKARA (AP) — A special US envoy embarked Wednesday on a mission to help Turkey counter Iraq-based Kurdish fighters, whose war for autonomy threatens both the security of this US ally and the stability of northern Iraq.

Retired US Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston began talks with Turkish leaders after three bombings by suspected Kurdish rebels Tuesday, including one that killed 10 people in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir. ...

...“We need them [measures] urgently and they need to be visible so that not only the Turkish public, but the Iraqi public and the American public can see that we are serious about eliminating the threat of terrorism,” Ralston said at a news conference with Turkish foreign ministry officials Wednesday morning.

The appointment of the retired US general, a former NATO supreme allied commander and former US deputy chief of staff, is largely meant to underscore Washington’s commitment to helping Turkey and Iraq confront the PKK, which the US lists as a terrorist organisation. ...

...Turkish officials were expected to ask Ralston for some US military action — possibly with help from Iraqi forces — such as capturing senior rebel commanders. But the thinly stretched US military in Iraq is unlikely to pursue experienced PKK fighters hiding in the remote mountains along the border shared by Iraq, Iran and Turkey.

In a television interview later, Ralston made clear the United States had no intention of any military crackdown on the rebels, saying a military solution was always the last option to consider. ...

Interior Minister (Turkey) Abdulkadir Aksu told reporters after a meeting with Ralston that he had asked that the PKK be prevented from getting arms and logistic support.

“There is a serious security vacuum. The terrorist organisation has access to arms sources which should be in the control of the Iraqi government. This has to be prevented,” Aksu said. Aksu did not elaborate. However, Turkish intelligence reports have said that the PKK has had access to some weapons from the arsenal of the Iraqi military. ...
"


It is a long chain, but US funds bought Hungarian AKs for the ISF which were trucked to Kurdistan and supplied to the PKK. Plain as day, to the US Regional allies & enemies.

9/28/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

Hungarian AKs is the best you can come up with. You can't be serious.

9/28/2006 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

More serious than the denial.

What more do they need or deserve, from US?

9/28/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

These are supposed to be a counter to US tanks and fighter jets of the Turkish army?

9/28/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They recieve Sanctuary and Weapons, while operating against Turkey.
Facts is facts.

Perhaps they operate in Iran, as well. But if so, those proxies are out of control, attacking Turkey.

Like Marlon Brando, in the movies, no method to the madness.

9/28/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

istarious you already are setting up "Strategic" strawmen, admitting that the US is supporting terrorists that operate in Turkey. Then denying it's effectiveness.

Just as the aQ Jihadists stand no chance of military victory fighting against the 1st Cav. or the 4yh ID.

9/28/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The PKK are some of the "operators" our host mentioned in his original thread. Operating in Iran, as well as Turkey. Recall if you will the Iranian artilley barrage, into Iraq, a couple of months ago, the target: PKK.

Just who is managing the PKK account, for US, well...

Paging Col Kurtz!

9/28/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

Your argument is insane. The US in not sovereign in Iraq, nor does it control the politics in Iraq. Iran, on the other hand, is a brutal dictatorship. The level of political and military and control within Iran is wholly different.

9/28/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The US is certainly Soverign in Iraq, under a UN Occupation that expires in Jan'07.

It is in direct command of the majority of the ISF.
Mr Maliki has the Air Force, Navy, and the 8th Dvision in the South to command. Got command of those about threeor four weeks ago, I do believe.

That is not insanity, but reality on the ground. Come up to speed and stay a while.

9/28/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

The US is Sovereign in Iraq in same way Israel is Sovereign in Gaza.

I can't believe I would actually need to type this. Anyway, I'm done.

9/28/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Anybody care to argue against this conclusion?

We needn't give credence to the assertion of President Bush--that the jihadists would turn up in our cities if we pulled up stakes from Baghdad --to recognize that a terrible price would be paid were we to opt for a hasty and unseemly withdrawal from Iraq. This is a region with a keen eye for the weakness of strangers. The heated debate about the origins of our drive into Iraq would surely pale by comparison to the debate that would erupt--here and elsewhere--were we to give in to despair and cast the Iraqis adrift.

Read the rest, here.

9/28/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

So much of this MSM "news" is stage managed with an emphasis on spin-up time and decay time.

Now I understand why AP is trying to spring Bilal Hussein -- the NY Times wants to hire him since the events *he* stage-managed have been much more successful than what the Times/CBS have been able to put together.

9/28/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

At the ceremony, al-Maliki and Casey signed a document bringing Iraq’s air force, navy and one army division – the 8th Iraqi Army Division – under full, immediate control of the Iraqi government. Over the next several months, coalition officials say, the prime minister will authorize the gradual transfer of additional army divisions over the next several months until all 10 can operate under a fully independent Iraqi operational command. ..."

US State Dept

Then on 16 Sep another ISF Division, the 4th, transferred. Still leaving about 75% percent of the ISF under US Command & Control.

UN Resolution 1546:
"... One of the major debates in the adoption of Resolution 1546 was on security issues, particularly the relationship between coalition forces and the Iraqi interim government. The operational relationship — to be one of coordination and partnership — is outlined in an exchange of letters between Secretary of State Powell and Prime Minister Allawi annexed to the resolution. The resolution says that the coalition’s mandate would be reviewed “at the request of the Government of Iraq or twelve months from the date of this resolution,” that the mandate would expire when a permanent government is sworn in at the end of 2005, and that the mandate could be terminated at any time if the interim government so
requests. The Iraqi government was not given a veto over specific
coalition operations, and the coalition retains the ability to take prisoners.

CRS report to Congress

And then this explains it, even better, from the BBC

"... Decides further that the mandate for the multinational force shall be reviewed at the request of the Government of Iraq or twelve months from the date of this resolution, and that this mandate shall expire upon the completion of the political process set out in paragraph four above, and declares that it will terminate this mandate earlier if requested by the Government of Iraq; ...

... Paragraph 4 "... 31 December 2005..."
That takes the authorization to 31Dec06.

Then it's back to the UN for US, or negotiate a new deal, direct with Mr Maliki.

9/28/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

We will not let them (the ISG) go, Rat, until we're gone. It doesn't benefit us.

9/28/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

The ISF rather.

It does not benefit us to do otherwise, while we're there.

9/28/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Who is the ISF loyal to, trish, in the end, do you think?

US or Them

9/28/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Kill Sadr. Invade "the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan." Stop talking already; talk obviously gets us less than nowhere, it gets us confused and, evidently, auto-outdaeted. Jesus, this war is fucking retarded.

9/28/2006 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Chris - I have no glee about American bungling, just a sidgeon of "I told you so!" satisfaction of how an American administration largely clueless of the ME were led by the nose by Chalabi, neocons serving the twin beacons of Israel and Wilsonian "transformation" into this position. How the conflict has been derailed into a debate about enemy rights.

Believe me, I am even more down on the Left - which struggles to make this war a law enforcement paradigm and is utterly oblivious to the threat.

The Bushies - ignorant and proud of it, determined to avoid any sacrifice by the American people or reluctant to do strategic communications or diplomatic outreach(in arrogance, destroyed diplomatic alliances from 2002-2005, now trying to repair some of the damage, but it will take years...) Why 5 years after 9/11 there is no change in tax cuts, decline in the American military order of battle (less Fleet, AF tankers transport, 4 less Army Divisions than commanders say are minimum for present commitments - let alone the neocons dream of more wars started..Why in God's name have they refused to ask for funding a strategic communications effort like we started 2 years after the Cold war began, or the funding to get a core of Americans educated in the culture, strengths, and language of the Muslim countries the enemy comes from???

The Left - On a campaign to slur & discredit America here and abroad, led by secular Jews who want their vision of Transnational Progressivism triumph where Communism failed - joined with the European Left's alliance - who regard the Islamic problem as a sideshow..Who, IMO, are waaaaaay out on a limb that will be chopped off as more Islamic lessons in blood are inflicted on us..and more learning takes place.

Wretchard in an earlier post said that maybe we HAD to go into Iraq simply to try things see them suceed or fail, and learn from it. While their is wisdom in that...there is also a huge reservoir of past wisdom in previous "transformations" tried in Islamic countries that failed. We somehow had the neocons and others talk the Bushies into ignoring the failure of European democracies to construct lasting modern nations under rule of law and free elections, the failure of democracy in Pakistan, Egypt. The Shahs failed attempt to create a modern secular nation in Iran. We somehow have had the natural defenders of the West and it's institutions on the conservative side be the ones who failed to define or understand the enemy's civilization, and offer up only military solutions predicated on wrong assumptions, reluctance to sacrifice or inconvenience their people, and what seems to be shallow thought, major decisions arrived at with minimal debate or reflection by an "inner circle", and critical lack of forward planning.

And we still have a post-communist Left that is still infused with the worst of Stalinist, Bolshevik thinking and in their belief that America, Israel, and the West is The Problem. They compound the diffuculties of West's response to violent Islam by blaming the West for it, staking a position of mindless opposition to any effort by the West to defend itself against or defeat radical Islam - and still offering the failed prescriptions of their secular Jewish philosopher Kings of Marx, Marcuse, Derrida, Chomsky...along with trendy 3rd Worlder thinkers of the 60s.

So, Chris. No glee, here. Because I'm convinced that 9/11 was too small, too localized an event to shift 40 years of liberal thinking, and 90 years of Bolshevik, post Bolshie philosophy on the "inconvenient fact" of medieval Islam or the desired future of Western Civ. No glee, as I see Iraq will mean 6-10 years lost in the struggle with radical Islam by imposing a sort of stasis....and that more lessons in blood must be administered on us by the Islamoids....and we still have the greater menaces of China and the Transnational Progressives that seek to erase the idea of national sovereignity.

9/28/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I'm guessing the gradual ramp down of US involvement, except for defense -- force protection as some put it -- gives us a preview of how the bike will go now that we've taken our mitts gingerly off the handlebars. Though I'm guessing that the leverage point has changed from direct action to training, support, politics and bribes.

But as I think Desert Rat suggests, its a policy without a shape, not just in Iraq but even in Afghanistan. The bike stays up, but it just meanders in slow figure 8s. Look ma, no hands. But it's not going anywhere obvious.

I don't want to get too philosophical about it, but maybe that's normal for the Middle East and Southwest Asia. All them presidents, kings, princes, imams and sheiks who we call allies in one way and enemies in another. A Byzantine court the pack of them. (I'm guessing). About all you can do is list them all out on a database and scheme with the best.

Maybe there won't be any neat endings. Just time bought until we can come up with fusion or clean nuclear power or ethanol. Until the world changes at the hands of the private sector and technology, like it always does. The politicians aren't as much in control as they think? But if we can keep the world from disasters that might be enough. It was enough in the Cold War.

9/28/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

Historical parallels between the current situation in the ME with the Shia, Shiite,,and Kurdsish factions embroiled in a power struggle call to mind that encountered in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It has been some time since the agression of the Khoi Khoi of SW Africa with it's polytheistic Gia precepts, mainly, that we might say that the earth has a spirit of growth; that its flesh is the soil, its bones the arrangement and connection of the rocks of which the mountains are composed, its cartilage the tufa, and its blood the springs of water. The pool of blood which lies round the heart is the ocean, and its breathing, and the increase and decrease of the blood in the pulses, is represented in the earth by the flow and ebb of the sea; and the heat of the spirit of the world is the fire which pervades the earth, and the seat of the vegetative soul is in the fires, which in many parts of the earth find vent in baths and mines of sulphur, and in volcanoes. This was best propounded by Da Vinci.
The clash with the Shia and Shiite and the Khoi Khoi, Nguni,Swati, and Sambura over the nature of the Gia was once very vigourous and deadly.
With the advent of colonialism the schisms diminished and ancient flames retarded by the introduction of monotheism and greater firepower.
Subsequently the Sambura, Zulu and Ndebele learned that commonality of interests was beneficial to their tribes and so primative protocols were embodied into their tribes.
Only future scholarship in this area will be able to unravel why, in other cases the Kamba,Igbo,Dinka, and Cewa were not able to successfully integrate these concepts into realities. So time will tell if these parallels will hold for the Kurds, Shia, and Shiite as they hammer their way toward a brighter future.

9/28/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

C4, your ideas on raising taxes are lunacy. The rest of your stuff is well thought out, I don't see how you think a tak bump would do more than cause a very temporsry revenue increase, probably a mere hiccup, while the lunatics in congress would seize on phony revenue projections to fund god knows what. In 3 to 5 years particularly with Pelosi et al calling the shots and a democrat in the White House, the deficits would zoom to about 3 times the current levels. In the meantime the probability is that not a nickel more would be spent on the armed services, in fact cuts would be the order of the day.

If we can maintain some stability we have a chance to get someone more rational in the White House at least, not McCain I hope.

If there was any possibility the money would be spent rationally I would say a one or two year tax bump could generate $500 billion or so and I would grudginly do that if you could guarantee where they spend the money. Yoiu can't though.

9/28/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

To follow this way.

Anent Africa

9/28/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

Tax Man

Let me tell you how it will be
ThereÕs one for you, nin'teen for me

Cause I'm the tax man
Yea I'm the tax man

Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all

Cause I'm the tax man
Yea I'm the tax man

If you drive a car-car I'll tax the street
If you try to sit-sit I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk I'll tax your feet
Tax man

Well I'm the tax man
Yea I'm the tax man

Don't ask me what I want it for
If you don't want to pay some more

Cause I'm the tax man
Yea I'm the tax man

Now my advice for those who die (tax man)
Declare the pennies on your eyes (tax man)

Cause I'm the tax man
Yea I'm the tax man

And you're working for no one but me
(Tax man)

9/28/2006 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. -- Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. -- Mark Twain

The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. -- Albert Einstein

9/28/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

With all due respect Desert Rat and Wretchard, what SHOULD the policy be?
Install a government more to our liking and dispense with the notion of elections? Not try to develop the autonomy of the Iraqi army and maintain Iraq in a perpetual state of dependence? Given all the shortcomings of the current policy, I haven't as yet seen a preferrable alternative advanced. It may be that our current course is the least bad of list of terrible options. What seems to be in the shortest supply is patience.

9/28/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

DR & others debating which side we are on.

Could it be that Bush & Rummie are playing the sides against themselves. GWB has said many times that we took the war to them so that we wouldn't need to fight them here. Makes sense to me.

I really believe all this cloak and dagger that the Bushies are playing is a chess game where it's US against the world, so call them enemies, allies, friends, adherants of a peaceful religion or whatever, but the bottom line is...if it;s killing they want to do, better that they kill each other than to export the only thing in this earth they are good at - jihad - to US.

Bush could have chosen to set up bases in Armenia. Christian population, surrounded by Muslim enemies, perfect location in central Asia and a population that could use an infusion of $$$$. Now we're talking parties in the streets of Yeravan, mobs embracing our presence.

But he didn't. He chose Iraq and lit the fuse to the powder keg in the ME. Now all those folks are killing themselves and we should stop them? Why, so they can come over here & work on US?

I say put a round peg in a round hole. Those square Muslim pegs slip wonderfully into the hole the are digging for themselves.

9/28/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The objective, from the beginning, was to hand off Iraq to responsible Iraqi. There was never another option, still is not.

The Policy of Iraqization was slow to start and, even now, poorly managed. Only 4% of US troops, in Iraq, are embedded with Iraqi troops. Way to few.

While there are no "hard and fast" timelines, various Generals have given the durrent attempt to stabilizr Baghdad 60 more days. Mr Maliki has his schedule, US out of the Security Mission by Nov '07.

The "End Game" should be negotiated with Mr Maliki.

Many moreUS advisors, embedded in the ISF.
Greater independence THRUST upon the Iraqi.
aQ will not take over Iraq, just as they are saying on FOX, right now.

9/28/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Cedarford,

Thanks for your response. You seem like a rational fellow even if we disagree on some issues here and there.

Your evaluation of the American left is right on in my opinion. As uninspiring as President Bush is, and even with all of his misteps, I still believe We are much better off with him in the Office than we would have been with Kerry in charge.

9/28/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Daveh - C4, your ideas on raising taxes are lunacy.

The few remaining supply sider idiots are still talking about the economist studies showing a 20 cent increase in government revenues for each dollar given to the rich being "flawed". And how even with a booming economy, the "record revenues" supply siders trumpet are still not making a dent in Bushs massive new government spending and the colossus few wish to discuss - the 40 trillion Medicare, Big Pharma drug subsidy unfunded liability and the structural trade deficit to the Asians who are loaning us the money for more tax cuts for the wealthy.

Supply siders are a bit on the irrational, true-believer side, so the bottom line will be the results of the Great Dubya Experiment of 8 years of single party rule to the Supply siders theories - as the bought whores of the corporatists pushing "money for nothing!" for fatcats.

Meanwhile, the net size of our military and capital weapons inventory has declined dramatically from Reagans days, and under Bush II, the decline accelerates as he has been attriting key military assets without replacement because he refuses to jeopardize millionaires and billionaires quest to get richer from Chinese IOU'd money Bush borrows and gives to them..

If raising taxes to pay for a war is lunacy, it is lunacy believed by the Founders, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, LBJ, Lincoln, and even Reagan - who agreed to a tax hike in 1986 rather than scrimp on his effort to win the Cold War.

I also think it would be interesting to see how many "Bush-backers" = the saber-rattling chickenhawks = safe from any risk in the war with radical Islam by their economic status...would be as sanguine if they were asked to also sacrifice something in the war effort or demands to expand the war to Iran or Venezuela or Syria.

As of right now, the leaders of those countries can do the math. They know the US is in no shape to confront any other threat with 70% of our ground forces tied up, other than by nuclear means. And they sense the Left and the sons of wealth and privilege have no interest in any sacrifice to build the military up after 16 years of decline. They know that overall, the size and strength of the US military has continued to decline under Bush and his refusal to build it up - other than on a few thousand extra "special ops" soldiers, and "transformation". O&M in our two theaters has sucked up defense spending expenses, which themselves are dwarfed by Bush's Republican pork projects for his benefactors. Less jets, ships, subs, Bradleys, tankers, M1A1 tanks, less Reservists...no new Arab or other enemy language skill cadres being developed. With 110 billion in equipment Maintenance, replacing attrited equipment deferred. All while the Republicans fed deeply on the Club for Growth slop piled into the troughs of K-Street corporatist lobbyists for them...

So the leaders in places like Iran and Syria and N Korea know that the US lacks the will to build up our military as Reagan did. And until that will and agreement to sacrifice comes back

In a sense, Iraq was good for the Army and Marines as both were considered "Cold War dinosaurs" by Rummy's cabal - headed for significant downsizing before we got into a postwar mess in Iraq. 18 Reagan Divisions down to 10, and Rumsfeld thought he could go down to 8 to better support high tech transformation spending and be a good Team Player on Bush's tax cuts he wished to give to the "doer folk who invest their millions"...

We lose more subs and surface ships each year than we build.

9/28/2006 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Rat:

How can you say that's the mission in Iraq. That, at best, would be gravy in the GWOT as it would be for any of the many ME cesspool nations.

Bush has given the Iraqis their best opportunity to govern themselves and already they're showing signs. Might not be the outcome for Iraqis that you & I wished for but now that's for them to determine. If our continued military presence there catalycises the process, all the better.

But for sure our presence there exposes our enemies, both here and abroad. It gives the jihadi an opportunity to show the world his mettle on his home field.

It grants our illustrious left wingnuts ample hemp from which to hang. It, finally, after eight years of appeasement by an US administration, stands up to the forces of evil in the world and says "NO MORE".

I can't beleive you and others gripe constantly about the continued deployment of troops in Iraq while, for yet another post cold war decade passes with US military presence in places like Germany, Iceland, S. Korea, on & on. We pay those guys to protect us. Should we not expect them to?

9/28/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What has happened to Federal Revenues Collected over the past 5 years, Cedarford?
Mindless spending is one thing.
Mindless "Economics" is another.
Tax Cuts for the Wealthy, Indeed!
How about total taxes PAID?

9/28/2006 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

Desert Rat,

The suggestions you make are exactly what has been and continues to be implemented. Other than your dismay, which is certainly understandable, with the slow pace at which said policies are being realized, how does what you said differ from current policy?

C4,

Stick to you lunatic rants about the Jews. Compared to your understanding of economics, they sound downright coherent.
PS: Perhaps you didn't get the memo, but that whole "tax cut for the rich" theme was already tried in '04. It's a loser.

9/28/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Khobar Towers
The Clinton administration left many stones unturned.
BY LOUIS J. FREEH
...I was overruled by an "angry" president and Mr. Berger who said the FBI was interfering with their rapprochement with Iran.

Finally, frustrated in my attempts to execute Mr. Clinton's "leave no stone unturned" order, I called former president George H.W. Bush. I had learned that he was about to meet Crown Prince Abdullah on another matter. After fully briefing Mr. Bush on the impasse and faxing him the talking points that I had now been working on for over two years, he personally asked the crown prince to allow FBI agents to interview the detained bombers.

After his Saturday meeting with now-King Abdullah, Mr. Bush called me to say that he made the request, and that the Saudis would be calling me. A few hours later, Prince Bandar, then the Saudi ambassador to Washington, asked me to come out to McLean, Va., on Monday to see Crown Prince Abdullah. When I met him with Wyche Fowler, our Saudi ambassador, and FBI counterterrorism chief Dale Watson, the crown prince was holding my talking points. He told me Mr. Bush had made the request for the FBI, which he granted, and told Prince Bandar to instruct Nayef to arrange for FBI agents to interview the prisoners.

Several weeks later, agents interviewed the co-conspirators. For the first time since the 1996 attack, we obtained direct evidence of Iran's complicity. What Mr. Clinton failed to do for three years was accomplished in minutes by his predecessor. This was the breakthrough we had been waiting for, and the attorney general and I immediately went to Mr. Berger with news of the Saudi prison interviews.

Upon being advised that our investigation now had proof that Iran blew up Khobar Towers, Mr. Berger's astounding response was:
"Who knows about this?"
His next, and wrong, comment was:
"That's just hearsay."

When I explained that under the Rules of Federal Evidence the detainees' comments were indeed more than "hearsay," for the first time ever he became interested--and alarmed--about the case. But this interest translated into nothing more than Washington "damage control" meetings held out of the fear that Congress, and ordinary Americans, would find out that Iran murdered our soldiers. After those meetings, neither the president, nor anyone else in the administration, was heard from again about Khobar.

Sadly, this fits into a larger pattern of U.S. governments sending the wrong message to Tehran.

9/28/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"What Mr. Clinton failed to do for three years was accomplished in minutes by his predecessor."

9/28/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"I can't beleive you and others gripe constantly about the continued deployment of troops in Iraq while, for yet another post cold war decade passes with US military presence in places like Germany, Iceland, S. Korea, on & on. We pay those guys to..."

Deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.

9/28/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

sfrcook wrote:

PS: Perhaps you didn't get the memo, but that whole "tax cut for the rich" theme was already tried in '04. It's a loser.

The loser is the grandchildren of regular Americans who will pay back the foreign loans we are taking out now to pay for all the resulting red ink (Clinton raised taxes in 1993 and we had a surplus in 1998, 1999, and 2000). In the near term, interest rates will go up as the government keeps trying to attract lenders, thus cooling the economy and reducing revenues that much more. Throw in a war to bring democracy to Iran, and the red ink goes up by a quantum leap.

9/28/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Doug - What has happened to Federal Revenues Collected over the past 5 years, Cedarford?
Mindless spending is one thing.
Mindless "Economics" is another.


1. Federal Revenues have gone up at 25% of the rate of Bush's reckless sailor spending on pork and tax cuts for the wealthy using borrowed Chinese dollars.

2. Mindless spending is a 1.3 trillion new entitlement on Big Pharma's drugs where the government is prohibited from seeking discounts. Or 29 billion in new agribiz pork for millionaire owners. Or spending to grow the civilian side of the Federal Government by 40% in Bush's 6 years - more than even LBJ did.

3. MIndless economics is Norquist, Abramoff - and the Club for Growth parlaying their supply-side cause into the rainmaker K-Street lobby. With control of the Presidency and Congress - the supply siders finally got their grand experiment. On how tax cuts will pay for themselves, trickledown will have the masses swimming in a better leaky dinghy as a rising tide lifts them along with the yacht owners peeing on them. On how massive amounts of borrowed foreign money given to the top 1% will make America More Competitive.

We will all have a chance to evaluate supply-side theory from 8 years of it being practiced.

How trickledown reduced income inequalities or ushered in new middle class wage prosperity. How the tax cuts reduced the deficits. How our trade balance improved with the new money the "big boys" had to invest...

And if it worked, all the young little Hayek and Ayn Rand disciples will crow on the "Great Dubya"....if on the other hand, it creates an economic crisis, one even involving the destruction of the dollar and the Euro the new global currency...we will know it fared no better here than in past experiments in Russia and Latin America.

9/28/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

Teresita,

We certainly are getting way off topic here, but you and C4 don't seem to comprehend is that there are two sides to the fiscal equation. A revenue side and an expense side. It is simply idiotic to argue that tax cuts have not lead to a surge in revenues. That being said, clearly, when the surge in SPENDING is surpassing the surge in revenues, we are left with continued deficits. I agree that we are spending too much, yet I strongly abject to the notion that we are under taxed. I have little faith that any new revenue generated by tax increases(with the resultant dampening of growth) will be spent on deficit reduction but more likely fuel further spending.

Oh and by the way, Teresita, Clinton raised taxes in 93, but cut them in 96. Oh and you might want to take a look at the levels of spending during those halcyon days of the dot com bubble and y2k scare. If that level of federal spending was maintain during the last six years, we would not have a deficit now. As to the unfunded entitlement liabilities, that topic was tackled last year. Unfortunately the AARP succeed in spooking the political class and the electorate enough as to make reform untouchable. By the way, what exactly is the Democrat plan on that?

9/28/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

sfrcook:

Clinton's discretionary spending increased from 539 billion in 1993 to 614 billion in 2000 -- a 13% increase.

Bush 43 started with a budget surplus of $128 billion in 2001, courtesy of Clinton.

Bush 43’s discretionary spending increased from $649 billion to 967 billion – a 48% increase, and he ain't even done yet.

The 2007 deficit estimate is $354 billion. The President promised to try to cut this in half by 2009. So we're going from $128 billion in black ink to about $152 billion in red ink (assuming the President keeps his promise) because we have an adminstration that taxes less and spends more. The solution, then, is to tax more and spend less.

9/28/2006 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

Teresita,

TAX CUTS INCREASE REVENUE BY FUELING ECONOMIC GROWTH!!! The solution is tax LESS and spend EVEN LESS!

Oh hell, good night.

9/28/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

sfcook - We certainly are getting way off topic here, but you and C4 don't seem to comprehend is that there are two sides to the fiscal equation. A revenue side and an expense side. It is simply idiotic to argue that tax cuts have not lead to a surge in revenues.

I couldn't agree more. If you are a government running a huge deficit and borrow 100K from the Chinese or Saudis to give me that 100K as a tax cut, I guarantee that "federal revenues will increase" - by about 20,000.00 as I kick a small piece of that loot back. Leaving the taxpayer 80K short plus interest the Chinese or Saudis get.

If the corporatist Republicans don't give me 100K that taxpayers likely other than me are stuck repaying, likely my kids generation, then of course "federal revenues" generated from borrowing won't go up at all!

If you personally give me 1,000,000 to make me wealthier, Sfrcook, I guarantee that "federal revenues will increase" on this genius "borrow to bring supply side wealth to the already rich" Ponzi scheme.

If that wasn't sweet enough, the Bushies borrow more hundreds of billions for corporate pork, 85% goes to the wealthy and connected - which I'm sure gives you "increased federal revenue" assuming they can't hide "their money" in trusts and philanthropies.

9/28/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Ok. So the next question is, by how much did the Federal government increase its borrowing and by how much did tax revenues grow.

9/28/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Who is the ISF loyal to, trish, in the end, do you think?

"US or Them"

Well, that kinda depends on who you mean by "them."

I've read it both ways, Rat, and I don't know.

9/28/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"I don't want to get too philosophical about it, but maybe that's normal for the Middle East and Southwest Asia. All them presidents, kings, princes, imams and sheiks who we call allies in one way and enemies in another. A Byzantine court the pack of them. (I'm guessing). About all you can do is list them all out on a database and scheme with the best."

Doesn't make for a very satisfying war, does it, Wretchard? Not even a satisfying ambient war.

And I guarantee there will be no neat endings. Just a long procession of shitty little wars.

9/28/2006 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

C4,

Let me get this straight, capital gains tax cuts in 96 where good, but capital gains tax cuts is 03 were a give-away to the rich?

I'll try again. We don't have a revenue shortfall, tax cuts pay for themselves and more. Perhaps you haven't noticed that annualized GDP growth since 03 matches that of the late 90's. The initial lose of revenues attributed to the tax cuts is more than off-set by the resultant surge in tax revenue by such outstanding GDP growth.

However, when the growth of spending(corporate pork or new entitlements) exceeds the growth of revenues you have a deficit. Show the same fiscal restraint as was evident in the 90's and, poof, deficit disappears. Hence, no need to borrow and your Chinese and Saudi boogeymen are not so fearsome. Again, no need to raise taxes, just cut spending. With this congress, easier said than done.

Really C4, despite your frequent bigoted rants, class-warfare rhetoric, and fear-mongering, you seem to be well informed. This can't be so difficult for you to comprehend, can it?

9/29/2006 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

sfrcook said:

Perhaps you haven't noticed that annualized GDP growth since 03 matches that of the late 90's. The initial lose of revenues attributed to the tax cuts is more than off-set by the resultant surge in tax revenue by such outstanding GDP growth.

In theory.

In practice, despite GDP growth of levels seen in the 1990s, spending is far greater than in the 1990s, and the result is apparent to all. Facts are stubborn things. Instead of budget surpluses, we have record deficits, and a promise by the same 'Pubs who spent us into this hole that they will try to reign it back in, if only we turn out and vote for them in November. The Laugh-er curve is buried somewhere under all that red ink. Right now Clintonomics looks pretty dang good to the young folks who will have to pay for this joyride someday.

9/29/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

Teresita says:

"spending is far greater than in the 1990s"

Do you realize that your are making my point for me, did you miss the part where I said exactly the same thing, or are you just too dense?

Let me make it simple for you Teresita. Tax cuts good spending bad. We spend too much, we are NOT under-taxed.

9/29/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

94% disapproval? Wow. I'm not sure al-Qaeda even manages 94% disapproval in the US.

10/01/2006 10:10:00 PM  
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