Friday, April 11, 2008

Going forward

Grim at Blackfive has a concise analysis of what problems need to be resolved before Iraq can achieve some measure of stability.

Iraq has essentially three problems to "solve" to become a stable country. These are the Sunni problem, the Shia problem, and the Kurdish problem. By "problem" I mean not that the people are a problem, but that each of the main subsets of the population has a particular challenge that has to be resolved before it can integrate into a successful state.

Let's focus on the Shia problem.

The Shia problem is armed factionalism. The current violence of this last month and going forward represents the start of the solution to that problem. People alarmed by the violence have missed the story. The GoI and the JAM are both disaggregating their bad elements. ...

Disaggregation of irreconcilable elements is a key element to our COIN strategy; here we see it happening naturally. The political process appears to be strengthened, and the Sunni blocks are now participating in helping to settle the Shiite question in a manner acceptable to themselves -- as are the Kurds. That sounds like a genuine national coalition forming, one that will accept Sadr as a political figure.

Sadr's own rhetoric, meanwhile, has in this cycle been markedly different from his rhetoric in 2004. It appears that he wants to move into a political role, rather than trying to overthrow and replace the central government.

Now whatever one may think of Moqtada al-Sadr's participation in politics, the essential question is whether his participation will take place within the framework of an Iraqi Shi'te subpolity or within an Iranian dominated framework. The difference is essential. Sistani's declaration that the "law is the only authority" goes to this very point: whose law and whose authority. In this case Sistani seems to suggest that the Shi'ites can settle their "problem", but settle it within the framework of Iraq.

An article in the New York Times describes the struggle between the United States and Iran to define the framework.

Iran is engaging in a proxy war with the United States in Iraq, adopting tactics similar to those it has used to back fighters in Lebanon, the United States ambassador to Iraq said Friday. ...

He said that the paramilitary branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps was continuing to direct attacks by Shiite militias against American and Iraqi targets, although he offered no direct evidence.

Asked if the United States and Iran were engaged in a proxy war in Iraq, Mr. Crocker said, “I don’t think a proxy war is being waged from an American point of view.” But, he added, “When you look at what the Iranians are doing and how they’re doing it, it could well be that.”

In other words, Iran is making a bid to solve the Shi'ite problem on its terms for its purposes. Grim notes that the task of creating a political framework in which the three constituent communities can co-exist in a country as complex as Iraq is a formidable undertaking. How easy it is to forget that Saddam's solution to the problem of stability and unity was to wage a more or less continuous campaign of internal warfare against the Kurds, the Shi'ites and dissenting Sunnis; gassing the Kurds, draining the Marshes. And when all else failed waging war on Iran on a scale that would have rivaled the Battle of the Somme. Besides invading Kuwait. All in the "good old days" that so many commentators, unaccountably afflicted with amnesia, hanker for already. Grim notes its replacement, the step-by-step emplacement of a laws, local councils, community governnance.

The GoI is internally tremendously complex, as The Long War Journal has covered extensively, but it seems to be improving in its capacity. The provincial powers law, finally passed, should allow for the pushing down of powers to the less-internally-complicated provinces, which should improve local governance and services.

The challenges facing the Government of Iraq -- solving the Three Problems -- are daunting enough. But what is currently beyond their power to shape is the international context within which they must face these issues. From Lebanon through Saudi Arabia, down onto southern Iraq, Iran is dispatching its agents, deploying its proxies. The task of facing them falls to the United States, if Washington can persuaded to acknowledge the problem.

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Blogger Kevin said...

The spin is in full force as the recent fighting between Shiite factions has exposed the ugly truth that Iran is running the show in Iraq. But in the name of “information warfare” must this fact be covered up? Is the truth unpatriotic? Is discussing reality treason? What would John Boyd say about corrupting OODA-loops in the name of propaganda? Or are these all honest mistakes and people really do believe that Da‘wa and SIIC are working against Iran?

For those who seek the truth and are ready to accept whatever that brings, even if that result conflicts with the latest information warfare orthodoxies; the most illuminating intellectual framework through which to study Iraq is as a struggle between Iraqi nationalism vs. Kurdish/Sunni/Shia regionalism. In this struggle Iran is clearly on the side of regionalism, as is shown by their support for Da’wa and SIIC. The Iranian interest in regionalism is rooted in the obvious fact that a weak and divided Iraq, Iran will be able to at the least dominate, and at best annex an eventual Shiite regional entity. This is why their puppets (Maliki and Hakim) have no interest in unifying Iraq (not that they could anyway).

Sadr is a nationalist. He appeals for a united Iraq. This is not in Iran’s interest as they are realistic enough to know that a united Iraq could in double time fallback to a Sunni dictator and in ten to twenty years a new Saddam could close the border crossings and the shrines of Karbala might be off limits for more generations of Iranian pilgrims. Just as the Saudis benefit from controlling the Mohammedan shrines f Mecca and Medina, the Iranians surely want the same benefits accruing to their political elite.

The comparison of Sadr to Hezbollah fails for the very obvious reason that in Lebanon Iran opposes the current government and would wish Hezbollah to come to power. In Iraq the current government is headed by Iranian puppets, why in the world would they want to undermine their own stooges with a guy who supports a political viewpoint that directly conflicts with their interests.

But the silliest of all things is to think that all this has to do with the US elections, that all this is about avoiding another “Tet“.. It is only Americans who are blind enough to think that it makes a difference as to who “leads” them. The best way to put it is as the American people as a huge herd of sheep. The shepherd--the wealthy elite-- have set up one sheep dog on the right, and another on the left. Now the fact that the sheepdog on the right is a German Shepherd and the one on the left is a Border Collie (maybe even a half-breed at that!) may greatly interest the sheep, and many sheep may have a strong preference for one or the other. But the rest of the world knows that it is the shepherd himself who is leading the pack and he is choosing where they go so as to satisfy his interests only. So the rest of the world are hardly going to care which dog is chosen to lead to sheep into the abyss, although if anything, those that hate America would tend to have a preference for the current breed of dog, since they seem to be doing such an incredible job and destroying America in a way that a thousand foreign armies could never do.

4/12/2008 04:54:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/12/2008 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Blackfives analysis seems as plausible as any. Plausible. Not copping, just pointing out that in the time we have been in Iraq we have had (one would suppose) the best minds in diplomacy. military sciences, civilian reconstruction and on and on attempting to do in a few year what it took America to do in 11-12 years in establishing America.

The situation in Iraq is analogous to the one we now have in the US on Wall Street and in the entire financial area. No one knows what to do to fix the problem or even define the totality of the problem.

Flux is the regnant dynamic. We do appear to be making greater headway in the last year than at any other time but even the recent testimony of C & P point to a very fragile situation, and we all know the fragile nature of ME politics.

It is highly doubtful in my mind that with the number and composition of the various tribes in that area of the world that even a peace of ten or fifteen years could ever be accomplished.

Have we had some great reporting from some, yes, but who really knows? We take it as an article of faith. A thousand years of history has shown us differently.

There is only ONE issue in the ME now. Acquisition of the bomb by Iran and the destabilization that would cause in the entire world.

Any focus beyond halting that is wasted energy. The horrible truth to go along with that is that no Democratic President is going to militarily stop Iran. They'll adopt a "we can contain, we can use diplomacy" attitude. We know that is false because of the nature of Islam and those who currently guide Iran. You can negotiate with lunatics all you want but at the end of the day all you've done amounts to nothing. That is where we are. They would prefer to die the martyrs death in the name of Islam than to quite. They'll tell you anything you want to hear while sub rosa undermining the entire enterprise.
So good job on reporting what is tangentially irrelevant. Just as Patton knew it wasn't Palermo that counted but Messina, we know, and have known, that Iran, Syria, and North Korea are the manageable enemies we must destroyed.

Military victory doesn't bring everlasting peace, but diplomacy brings everlasting low level war, soon to blossom.

4/12/2008 05:44:00 AM

4/12/2008 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Habu: The horrible truth to go along with that is that no Democratic President is going to militarily stop Iran. They'll adopt a "we can contain, we can use diplomacy" attitude.

It was a Democratic President (Truman) who created the containment policy for the USSR, worked for decades. Obama talks about shifting resources back to Afghanistan where al-Queda actually is (not the "al-Qaeda in Iraq wannabes) and even talks about going into Pakistan to get the bass tard. But you're right, no Democratic President will do a pre-emptive invasion of a four-letter country starting with the letter "I" sitting on a bunch of oil. That's the neo-con game.

4/12/2008 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Shaun Mullen said...

Well, you coulda knocked me over with a feather when I read this since I keep reading that the Surge has been a success.

4/12/2008 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Kevin: The Iranian interest in regionalism is rooted in the obvious fact that a weak and divided Iraq, Iran will be able to at the least dominate, and at best annex an eventual Shiite regional entity.

The flaw in this analysis is your assumption that sectarianism overrides tribal rivalry. This would be like suggesting the Roman Catholics in Mexico will ally with Roman Catholic blacks in the inner cities of the Rust Belt to create a regional entity. They may team up in the interim to bring down "whitey" but when the path is clear for their proposed Catholic state, someone will remember they don't really like each other very much.

4/12/2008 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Shaun Mullen: Well, you coulda knocked me over with a feather when I read this since I keep reading that the Surge has been a success.

A reporter asked the president why he kept saying we were winning insisted he did it to keep up troop morale.

"That's as much to try and bolster the spirits of the people in the field as well -- you can't have the commander-in-chief say to a bunch of kids who are sacrificing that either it's not worth it or you're losing. What does that do for morale?" Bush said.

Hoo boy.

4/12/2008 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Aenea Teresita,

Blow me. Find out my Marine Corps and CIA service yet? When you do we'll talk if you can while eating crow.

Now, given my most robust practical and university education in world politics, much less having been been part(albeit small) of some of it I surely don't need you telling me about Truman and containment or the Long Telegram.

If you'd quit attempting to redefine what I say you'd be ahead of the game. I've never proposed an invasion of Iran. We can do all the necessary damage from above. They'll take years to rebuild if we focus on destroying the country's infrastructure and nuclear components.

You totally failed to address the biggest challenge currently ..the nuclear aspirations of Iran coupled with their stated desire to blow Israel off the face of the Earth, and how destabilizing having a nuclear Iran would be, or negotiating with men who are immune from containment which was ultimately enforced only by the MAD doctrine.

Instead you slither over from the Elephant Bar with a new persona and proceed to add nothing to the major aspect of the current Iraq-Iran, nuclear ME problem ..go back to the group that hands out oak leaf lagniappes to the fawning contributors. You're right at home in a bar or on a street corner.

Now hows that proof that I wasn't a Marine and CIA officer going....come on tell me. LMAO. The jealousy is so thick it's laughable.

4/12/2008 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

make sure to relay this back to the EB so they can all migrate over here and blog thus depriving themselves of points toward a bear claw cluster or a thistle brevet.

Ya just can't be in two places at once.

And it's equally amazing that the EB is still inhabited by now a host of inbred head nodders miscreants who are stuck on Iraq policy of three years ago...they can't stand the fact that we have made a huge amount of progress in Iraq. Is Ramsey Clark your leader over there at the EB?

4/12/2008 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Insufficiently Sensitive said...

It was a Democratic President (Truman) who created the containment policy for the USSR, worked for decades.

Ancient history, and exceedingly irrelevant today. Harry Truman would be kicked out of today's Democratic Party as a warmongering toady of the neocons - there would be Soros-financed comic books caricaturing his dripping fangs.

The last honorable surviving Democrat is Joe Lieberman, and if not for the Democrat's botched attempt at running him out of the Senate the country would now be deprived of his valuable services.

4/12/2008 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...


Why is it you failed to finish the entire quote? You cherry picked a sentence out of an entire piece, bloated it beyond it's intent thus distorted the contribution and ended up looking like the cheap propagandists you are. An Obama supporter no doubt.

4/12/2008 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Care to explain your japanese ancestors Unit 731 to the bloggers and how you previously stated that the Marines on Guadalcanal "murdered" innocent Japanese

Unit 731 Atrocities

4/12/2008 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...


Go ahead an explain your ancestors treatment of war prisoners. Here are a very few examples taken from the afore cited Wiki.

Other experiments

Prisoners were subjected to other experiments such as:

* being hung upside down to see how long it would take for them to choke to death.[6]
* having air injected into their arteries to determine the time until the onset of embolism.[6]
* having horse urine injected into their kidneys.[6]
* being deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death.
* being placed into high-pressure chambers until death.
* being exposed to extreme temperatures and developed frostbite to determine how long humans could survive with such an affliction, and to determine the effects of rotting and gangrene on human flesh.[6]
* having experiments performed upon prisoners to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival.
* being placed into centrifuges and spun until dead.
* having animal blood injected and the effects studied.
* being exposed to lethal doses of x-ray radiation.
* having various chemical weapons tested on prisoners inside gas chambers.
* being injected with sea water to determine if it could be a substitute for saline.

go ahead Teresita

Or would you prefer to defend Daniel Pearls beheading since you are in such sympathy with terrorists.

4/12/2008 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

It is highly doubtful in my mind that with the number and composition of the various tribes in that area of the world that even a peace of ten or fifteen years could ever be accomplished.

If so, maybe our best policy would be to bomb Iran, which I've always been for, and go about the business of helping set everyone against everyone else over there, so's to weaken islam. We need to slip the energy noose, though, to do this effectively. And America probably doesn't have the concentration to play a game like that. Besides, some folks would complain, 'we're supposed to be better than that.'

4/12/2008 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

from Teresita to Aenea

say how about putting that avatar back up that had you squatting down as if in a binjo ditch.

4/12/2008 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

I agree. Unfortunately NATO is proving to be a reluctant allied force and that's being charitable.

I believe the best we can do is bomb the heck out of Iran, continue to stabilize Iraq, just as we did in Korea, etc, and then develop a stringer economy and larger Armed Force.
Shortly China will have a blue water navy capable of projecting power and we are their number one target. Fortunately Japan historically hates China and vice versa so we can do a limited containment. But we must break off our oil dependency ...drill Alaska and make the caribou walk a bit's worth American lives. Drill coastal Florida, it's worth American lives. And continue to build the missile defense.

Workout time...later

4/12/2008 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Habu: Care to explain your japanese ancestors Unit 731 to the bloggers and how you previously stated that the Marines on Guadalcanal "murdered" innocent Japanese

Habu, what the hell are you talking about? The only thing I have to do with Japan is the week I visited there in 1986.

4/12/2008 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Insufficiently Sensitive: The last honorable surviving Democrat is Joe Lieberman, and if not for the Democrat's botched attempt at running him out of the Senate the country would now be deprived of his valuable services.

Let's look at some of his valuable services by going to Wikipedia:

He has sought to ban guns in schools and places of worship and has voted against prohibiting most lawsuits against gun manufacturers. He has voted to require background checks at gun shows and against allowing guns to be sold without trigger locks.

Lieberman voted no on a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. In response to Massachusetts legalizing gay marriage, he said, "I will oppose any attempts by the right wing to change the Constitution in response to today's Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling, which would be unnecessary and divisive."

He was a member of the "Gang of 14" who short-circuited the GOP's Nuclear Option when it came to seating federal judges, and he voted against seating Alito.

Lieberman has stated that the US population has to accept responsibility for global warming, and voted "yes" on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

He opposes Bush's veto on funding embryonic stem cell research, and he always votes down the Amendments to ban flag burning. No wonder McCain is considering to pick him up as VP.

4/12/2008 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

The caribou like the drilling, I've read. They hang around the warm pipelines. You would too, if you were bou. Good place to nestle up to Miss Bou too, I've read, and raise little bous, as there are more of them now than before.

4/12/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I keep wondering how Iran can afford all their little adventures they've got going around the world. We can barely keep up in two countries - Iraq and Afghanistan - and we are much richer, more advanced and more populous than the poor little Persians.

Either Iran is being given too much credit where they're not actually doing anything, or their infrastructure has got to be teetering on the abyss of collapse.

(Habu, dear - I really wish you'd just ignore that entity instead of paying so much attention to her/him/it. 50% of the current thread is taken up with nuttiness with that name on it.)

4/12/2008 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

How quickly we forget the tales of the mythical "Afghan Fighters" who could run up mountains naked in the snow as bullets bounced of their magic skin while they shot Americans at 1,000 yards with their flint locks.

The useless and perfidious liberals will always make heroes of our enemy and grant them mystical power.

4/12/2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...


I know I wasted far too much time on Teresita. Our mutual animosity goes back about two or three years. Now she's trying to be someone else but remains in the same M.O.
I happened to drop into the Elephant Bar, (my once a quarter looky and found myself the topic of an entire thread, all disparaging my service to this country.
Well being typically male and what they refuse to believe , a former Marine and CIA officer, it pissed me off.
Not one of them has the guts to say any of that to my face or even come to this site and say it (oh they'll come now).
But truly you are correct..ignore her and them. I know what I did, they haven't a clue and are driven by our former differences on the war. Several people quite blogging there because it was all anti US this and that ..we got fed up...
I'll work on being a milder"A" type but my body and soul wants to kick some ass.

4/12/2008 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Peterboston: The useless and perfidious liberals will always make heroes of our enemy and grant them mystical power.

Yeah, its the liberals who are going around saying Islamic militants are on the verge of acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction, and it's the conservatives who are saying that is exaggerated. Riiiiight.

4/12/2008 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...


To flesh out the story a bit more I haven't blogged on that site for perhaps a year or a year and a half, with the exception of a one or two sentence comment I would throw over the transom and the depart, waiting nor caring about any answer.

I must have made quite an impression on them for them to be talking about me with such vigor after all that time.
OK no more flesh or anything else about that....

4/12/2008 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

I'm thinking Iran's terror masters had a Middle East terror master plan for May havoc. Hezbollah and Hamas would attack Israel (both sides seem to be preparing for imminent conflict). Israel's response would be used as a pretext for the Shia uprising in Iraq. In advance of this, Iranian shock troops would arrive in Iraq mixed with pilgrims heading for the Shia shrines.

P.M Maliki may have got wind of the Iraq end of the plan and his offensive preempted the Iranian offensive.

Was the US Military really caught by surprise? They talked up a July offensive for Basra. Predictably, the Iranians plan their operations for May/June. The Iraqis hit them first in April. The fighting lights up much of the clandestine Iranian command and control system in Iraq. Afterwards, you dismantle it. Repeat in July.

I'm not sure they planned to achieve tactical surprise. It could have happened by accident. I'd feel better if it were part of a plan, though.

Will the Iranians still try to put it in operation? We'll see.

4/12/2008 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Let's take another look at what the liberals were saying a few years ago and see where their chocolate éclair's spines have gone since.

It is The Left’s Iraq war lie.
Now a given that when one reads an article in the MSM on the Iraq war, even given it's recent success, that the fait accompli is that it was a bogus war from the beginning.

Let’s review the now never argued lie with some observations and quotes.

The main “lie” that George W. Bush is accused of telling us is that Saddam Hussein possessed an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, or WMDs, followed by the subsidiary “lie” that Iraq under Saddam’s regime posed a two-edged mortal threat. On the one hand, we were informed, there was a distinct or “imminent” possibility that Saddam himself would use these weapons against us and/or our allies. There was the still more dangerous possibility that he would supply them to terrorists.

The "lie" by W, defeated. Re: Iraq possession of WMD’s was the raison d’être of the war.

• George Tenet, his own CIA director, assured him that the case was “a slam dunk.” Tenet had the backing of all fifteen agencies involved in gathering intelligence for the United States. In the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of 2002, where their collective views were summarized, one of the conclusions offered with “high confidence” was that Iraq “is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.”

• The intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel, and—yes—France all agreed with this judgment.

• The NIE of 2002 reached with “high confidence” was that Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.

Clinton’s Contributions

• The consensus on which Bush relied was not born in his own administration. In fact, it was first fully formed in the Clinton administration.

• Here is Clinton himself, speaking in 1998: "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction program."

• Secretary of State Madeline Albright, also speaking in 1998: "Iraq is a long way from [the USA], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."

• Sandy Berger, Clinton’s National Security Adviser, made this flat-out assertion about Saddam: "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983"

• Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, stated he was “absolutely convinced” that WMD’s existed even after our failure to find them in the wake of the invasion in March 2003.

• Nancy Pelosi, then a member of the House Intelligence Committee: "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons-of-mass-destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."

• In a letter to the newly elected President, George Bush, a number of Senators led by Bob Graham declared: "There is no doubt that . . . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical, and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf war status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of an licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."

• Senator Carl Levin also reaffirmed for Bush’s benefit what he had told Clinton some years earlier: "Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations, and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."

• Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking in October 2002: "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical- and biological-weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members."

• Senator Jay Rockefeller, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee: "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. . . . We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction"

• Al Gore in September 2002: "We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." "Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."

• John Kerry, in 2002: "I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force—if necessary—to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."

Most ghastly of all, given the rhetoric that they would later employ against Bush after the invasion of Iraq, are statements made by Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, also in 2002:

• Kennedy: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

• Byrd: "The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical- and biological-warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons."

Going forward I have no idea how much the war will be debated, at least it’s genesis. But do not allow yourself to be hoodwinked by the MSM or the Democratic Socialists that President Bush launched a war without cause, cooperation, or permission.

Iran is hopefully next on the menu.

Sourced from NYT, WaPo, Time, Washington Times, National Review, Norman Poderentz, and others.

4/12/2008 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...


I don't get it, Khomeini and Sadr's father weren't tight buds, they were more than receptive to one anothers goals and methods. While Malaki took refuge in Damascus he was given no special grace and no authorized space by the Syrian Government. SIIC dropped the word "revolutionary" from its name to demonstrate the split that had taken place between it and the neighboring mullahcracy. Meanwhile as Sadr's Mhadi shares Hezbollah training with Hamas, and breaks bread with the now deceased terror chief Imad, to raise his image of being bad, Malaki has slowly been shepherding the formation of legislation required to meet the required political benchmarks. He has been stymied not only by the trust issue but by the macionations of the tantrum prone Sadr block members of Parliament.

And you would have us believe otherwise due to a third hand rendition of a whispered rumor in a the library of a Syrian convent in 2001. Er, what was that about corrupt OODA loops?

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate your concerns and have looked twice on more than one occasion, at evidence which, pointing in more than one direction, led me to an illogical or incomplete assessment of events.

However the ugly truth, was demonstrated very capably by the Commanding General and author of the applicable COIN and the current adaptation of using force and mobility, and sworn to before Congress. It ain't spin.

You explain the political progress away first as something the parties you question would never ever allow to happen and then, when the not allowable does occur, as nothing short of treason. This (while one way to view the situation) is hardly a demonstration of absolute undeniable truth. The sky isn't falling, and given the political, social and strategic maneuvering, all of which tend to belie your basic assumptions, it isn't likely to fall.

Kevin without solid proof, which substantially disproves the views held by the Commanding General and the Ambassador, I for one, will not give your opinion much weight or value. Otherwise your stance can be attributed to a mere sour stomach.

4/12/2008 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...


I think my last comment must come as a terrible shock to the leftest who suffer from BDS and pray for a US failure in Iraq.
But as one can see or research for themselves as I did it was the Clinton Socialists who were in a frenzy about Saddam.
In their predictable style, recently displayed by both Clintons in magnificent performances of lying, the Socialist Democrats are now all high dudgeon over anything about the war they can grasp.

We are however truly fortunate that Hillary managed to dodge the sniper fire because if she'd taken one to the head like Kennedy then she'd have been elevated to sainthood immediately. Instead we've got tape after tape of bald face lies from both of them. Life is sweet.

4/12/2008 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Habu, it hasn't happened for quite a while but a couple of years ago, you'd see a newbie parachute into Belmont Club and demand that Wretchard post his curriculum vitae to determine whether or not he knows what he's talking about.

That's stupid. On the internet anyone can claim to be anything and there's really no way of proving it. What you have to do is to triangulate what the person is writing with what you know and what you've seen others that you trust also write. After a certain amount of time, you decide whom to trust and who just needs to be written off as either too dumb to breathe or a terminal trouble-maker.

Obviously, some people in some places have decided that you are worth paying attention to. Which is good because lots of people in lots of places have also decided that Wretchard is also worth paying attention to, as is Instapundit Glenn Reynolds for another example.

I'd be very very surprised if the other entity has anything like that fan club, or is anything except an over-aspiring wannabe. I've certainly never seen her/him/it post anything that made me sit up and take notice, but I have observed uninformed, skewed, malicious and provocative evil in the name of freedom of speech or some dumb damned thing. A history of that sort of posting is sufficient to say, "enough and begone."

And now I see that I have rambled on for far too long paying attention to it, so, enough and begone, over and out and back to ignoring.

4/12/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger MataHarley said...

Kevin said:

The comparison of Sadr to Hezbollah fails for the very obvious reason that in Lebanon Iran opposes the current government and would wish Hezbollah to come to power.

In Iraq the current government is headed by Iranian puppets, why in the world would they want to undermine their own stooges with a guy who supports a political viewpoint that directly conflicts with their interests.

Really? In the 2005 election, Hezbollah won 14 seats of the 128 seat Lebanese Parliament. You must obviously be a victim of our public school math education.

You are also a victim of education on current events. Iraq's president, two VPs, PM leadership are diverse and far from "unified" to be construed as Iran's puppets. Also, Maliki is bucking Iran's desires in Basra... just in case you haven't noticed.

Ahmadinejad's visit to Iraq and offer of Iraqi "projects" wasn't anything to write home about. No major welcome, some protests. Mostly ignored by Iraqis as inconsequential, and his offer of projects rejected. DOH! Nasty, ungrateful Iraqi "puppets" they must be!

Nor is the Iraqi Assembly - as paralyzed as the US Congress - a picture of Iranian puppets.

More Kevin stuff: Sadr is a nationalist. He appeals for a united Iraq.

Sadr appeals for elevated personal recognition, power and influence in Iraq. That's why he reformed a version of the Mahdi Army in 2003. Rather presumptuous considering the translation of Madhi as "the expected" translation and it's historic comparison in the late 1800s.

Sadr's Mahdi set to work assassinating senior clerics early in the game so Sadr could work his way up the religious food chain because of his birthright, despite lack of education. He wanted a coup d'etat as a shortcut to power.

Didn't work. Too many to kill, and his jihad buds didn't obtain victory in the early days. Now he's going back to seminary school to do it the ol' fashioned way.

BTW, "unified" - whether Iraq or the US... hang, ANY where - is most definitely not democratic. Imagine a US "unified" and you have a despotic government nightmare with a bunch of robotic sheeple as citizens.

As to your "shepherd/sheep" theory... Basra/Sadr/Madhi Army is about Iraq provincial elections and public perception of national and local power.

Iraqis would much rather they are independent, and didn't have us on their soil. Can't blame 'em. We'd all rather we didn't have to be there. Then again, starting a country from scratch isn't a 24/48 hour gig.

Then again, Iraqi are also cognizant that they need us until they can get their new country's budget allocation and expenditures - plus military prowess - to the point of self sufficiency. Witness the Iraqi Prez Nov request to Congress to keep US troops in Iraq for another two years.

oh wait... let's "improve" the US image in the world by ignoring the request of aid by a fledgling democracy because of US poll numbers. uh huh...

4/12/2008 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

I am astounded by the determination of some readers to think of the recent events in Southern Iraq as an exhibition bout put on by Iran to demonstrate their control of the situation, in the manner of those movies in which a despot orders two of his minions to kill each other; and they gladly do so to prove their absolute loyalty to the king.

If anything it proves the contrary. The Qods have been attacked by Shi'ites. But attacked under the command of the Iraqi Government, which let us not forget, is composed of more than the Shi'ites. Only recently the Shi'a majority was getting bombed left right and center by the Sunni insurgency, led by the AQI. And yet despite those two facts the illogical must be maintined: that Iran is in control of Iraq.

Iraq is a Shi'ite majority country. The Shi'ites are going to have a dominant, but not a dictatorial say in the running of the country. But a Shi'ite majority doesn't mean and Iranian dictatorship. The difference is fundamental. Who is the President of Iraq? Is it Maliki, or whoever else is elected? Or is it Khamenei? Somebody tell Maliki, because he has recently been attacking what amounts to Iran agents in Iraq. But again, the whole is in the minds of some an exhibition bout, a carnival act of self-mutilation. Iran cutting Iran. Believe it if you want.

I guess one can't help what others think. But to me to situation is obvious. Iran is not in control of Iraq. It is not flipping the remote. It is fighting for control of Iraq. But some would have us believe that it has control already and therefore it is wise to withdraw and cede what is already ceded.

There is a scene near the end of Saving Private Ryan where a Nazi machine gunner whispers to the man he is stabbing to be quiet; not to make such trouble. We hear those whispers now and reject them just the same.

4/12/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Wretchard: Iran is not in control of Iraq. It is not flipping the remote. It is fighting for control of Iraq. But some would have us believe that it has control already and therefore it is wise to withdraw and cede what is already ceded.

If someone was in control of Iraq (be it Iran or anyone) that would actually be a good thing. There would be a central entity with a monopoly on the use of force, like things were under Saddam. If Iran if fighting for control of Basra, that's a joke. What are they going to do with it when they get it, other than provide a single neck for the US military to throw a noose around? They ought not make the mistake that a symbolic force of UK soldiers dicking around near Basra to allow Bush to use the term "coalition forces" elsewhere is indicative of the hammer that would fall from American forces if Iran ever managed to get control of Basra.

4/12/2008 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Aena -- Barack Hussein Obama's fantasies and lies about engaging in Afghanistan are just that -- fantasies and lies. Any rational person would know:

1. Afghanistan is supplied mostly through Pakistan, and thus a long, tenuous, and vulnerable supply line limits the amount of people and material we can commit to the fight. Unless you have a magic teleporter in your back pocket, about all we can do is up the number of people a few thousand.

2. Pakistan is politically shaky and the new government is talking about cutting off supplies. Osama is wildly popular in Pakistan.

3. Pakistan's nukes guarantee a safe harbor for Osama and AQ and the Taliban.

4. Until Pakistan's nukes are erased and the problems of supply "magically" via teleporter are solved, there is NO POSSIBILITY OF VICTORY there. PERIOD. All we can do is hold the line. PERIOD.

These are facts, not opinions. FACTS.

In addition, Iran's new 6,000 centrifuges going on line were accompanied by a threat and promise by Ahmadinejad to spread nuclear technology (and weapons) around the Muslim world.

It is in the National Security Interests of the US to stop this. Preferably by the least cost.

It is further been the experience that diplomacy, "deals" and such conducted by Carter (hostages), Reagan (Iran-Contra) etc. DO NOT WORK. EVER.

This is because diplomacy only works when the opposition is unified and hierarchical. Iran and the Muslim world are deeply tribal, which means someone can always renege or quash any deal by initiating fighting to gain power and prestige. The only thing proven to work is use of force, threats, and the ability for the enemy to back down with face-saving agreements.

This means to counter Iran's nuclear program, proliferation, and threats to the Gulf (US Control of the Gulf being National Security Policy since 1945) requires pushing back on their proxy war in Iraq AND engaging in some of our own cross-border.

This is ugly. Not utopian. No great morals. No noble purple fingered Iraqis. No Wilsonian ideals. No "can't we all get along?" ANSWER: no we can't, they are tribal and therefore always going to be in conflict with us. They are different: polygamous and tribal.

Finally, CONTAINMENT DOES NOT WORK WITH TRIBES. The USSR hit it's high water mark in 1945, just wanted to hold on, and was not expansionist. It would grasp any deal that would preserve it's empire, being demographically destroyed by WWI and WWII. Iran by contrast sees itself as surging, restoring the Persian Empire, and is a fractured, rivalry tribal group.

If anything the failure of Liberalism is the mental model they have. It's always 1972. SALT I and SALT II will "fix" things with a summit. Who is there to summit with in Iran? Ahmadinejad, Khameni, various Mullahs, various IRGC commanders, etc all are factional leaders and can be relied upon to torpedo any "deals" or summits. Ask Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

We don't need to panic, don't need to engage in full-out bombing. But understand that "Tribes with Nukes(tm)" require a different response. And that Iran's pursuit of HEU (which as Zenster pointed out can only be used in gun-type bombs in shipping containers) represents an evolution of Iran's successful use of truck bombs to intimidate opponents. If we want to prevent them from using nuclear truck bombs(tm) we need pressure NOW on Iran through sponsorship of Azeri, Baluchi, Arab separatists that can be turned down heat-wise (it would be stupid to give up the leverage entirely) for abandonment of the nuke program and US inspections of same, with some face-saving measures for Iran.

4/12/2008 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger MataHarley said...

Aenea said... If Iran if fighting for control of Basra, that's a joke. What are they going to do with it when they get it, other than provide a single neck for the US military to throw a noose around?

I'm not sure I understand you here. Are you saying you have no idea why Iran would want control of Basra 0 or am I misreading?

I assume you are aware of the natural resources of the area, and the shipping channels it would add to Iranian assets.

Whiskey 199. Agree with most your comment, but the few points below.

Osama bin Laden is no longer "widely popular" in Pakistan. He's barely popular in the NWTA. Talk about a beadch for trouble and violence. In fact AQ and their neo Taliban buds have their hands full not only with the Pakistan military, but with battling the local tribal elders. I do believe they are tired of being butchered....

Popularity of jihad has been dropping steadily amongst Muslims in all Arab lands for the past couple of years. Evidently, Muslims are waking up after seeing the brutality to fellow Muslims they exhibit in Iraq. Horrible price to pay for Iraqi citizens. But there was nothing like Iraq for jihadists to show their true colors to the world. The glow is off. They are no longer idolized as freedom icons. Less schools are preaching jihad. Slight, and very good progress.

The same applies to your nukes/safe haven analogy. The recent Pak election overwhelmingly rejected Shariah/Islamic law for the land.... not in Taliban/AQ favor. They have no access to Pak nukes, and it's unlikely the Pakistani's support giving them nukes. There are emergency contingent back up plans should Pakistan fall under control of jihadists as well.

Winning is not, and never has been eradication of the jihad movement. You might as well try to make the cockroach extinct. "Holding the line" by Arab countries on the militant jihadists is the best the west can hope for, along with shared intel and a trading ally. Period. Friends with shared culture? Never. The US liked or appreciated? Also never.

4/12/2008 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...


LOL! If the present-days Demos can't manage to keep Lieberman, how do you think Harry Truman would fit in? Or John Kennedy?

4/12/2008 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Aenea said...

mataharley: I'm not sure I understand you here. Are you saying you have no idea why Iran would want control of Basra 0 or am I misreading?

Jeez Louise, for five years we've been bemoaning the fact that asymmetrical warfare magnifies the enemy's strengths and our weaknesses, and here's Iran supposedly making a bid to control Basra and the surrounding oil fields outright (according to some of the Belmonters).

Think about what actually controlling Basra entails.

That represents a specific set of GPS coordinates which are held classically, with classical forces. No more of this crap where they shoot, then strip off their uniforms and try to merge into the civilian populace. We're finished driving over IEDs and we're finally going to get something to shoot at wearing uniforms, operating missile sites, and running Command/Control bunkers, a whole mess of green boot-camp Iranian draftees making a stand in a city facing a US Army and US Marines who have been engaged in actual urban warfare for five years. The Navy and Air Force is tanned and rested. When does the shooting start?

4/12/2008 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

I found this article from the Mideast Monitor extremely helpful in figuring out stuff about the "Shi'ah Problem". It does allow one to be more hopeful or at least a little optimistic about the eventual outcome of our Iraqi experiments.

4/12/2008 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


Thanks for being so clear and honestly in admitting the obvious. A priori, certain conclusions are forbidden because they may lead to unacceptable results. If we start with the premise the 4 = evil, then it becomes clear to me why people fall all over themselves to prove that 2 + 2 = 5 while others insist that 2 + 2 = 3. You and your “information warfare” colleagues, as right-intentioned as ever, have clearly decided that admitting Iran control Da’wa and SIIC is tantamount to calling for a withdrawal. Instead of even discussing this taboo subject; you deftly avoid it by expertly smashing the straw man that Iran controls ALL of Iraq.

Your OODA-loop is now hopelessly corrupted by your automatic rejection of certain orientations. So during the Observe portion, you divert your gaze from any evidence that Iran is allied with Da’wa and SIIC, just as Stalin refused to hear reports of Nazi troops pouring over with Western frontier. Instead your eyes fix on any and all disinformation that leads the other direction, such as the Quds force working with Sadr in Basra. Now I have no doubt that the Iranian Special Forces were there, the only problem is that they were in fact working with their protégés, the Badr Organization, the militia of SIIC. But again, this leads to supposedly dangerous conclusions so is disallowed a priori.

And if any evidence of Iranian control of Da’wa and SIIC does make its way into your mind, it is quickly compartmentalized during the crucial Orient phase. Iranian control = withdrawal, therefore, it doesn’t exist.

But the saddest fact is that this denial of reality only serves to help Iran. Would admitting Iranian control of Da’wa and SIIC really lead to a withdrawal? I don’t think so. What it would lead to is the US supporting Shia and all Iraqis who embrace Iraqi nationalism, like the Council of Arab Tribes of the South. A strong unified Iraq should be the US real goal, not a divided weak entity of which Iran can dominate the Shia portion. Da’wa and SIIC are unabashedly regionalist, they represent a de facto Iranian occupation of Southern Iraq. By closing our eyes to the truth of Iranian domination of Da‘wa and SIIC, we are only furthering the aims of the Iranians.

It's just this simple, whether they know it or not, anyone supporting regionalism in Iraq is supporting Iran, anyone supporting a strong nationalistic unified Iraq is supporting US interests; whether the current clique of US leaders realize this or not is another matter.

4/12/2008 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger MataHarley said...

aenea" Think about what actually controlling Basra entails...

Perhaps you and I have different visions of Iranian "control" of Basra. I'm not suggesting they are attempting to annex it as Iranian territory.

I am suggesting that Iranian control over that region (via monetary funding, weaponry provided to Mahdi/Sadr loyalists or any other loyalists) is a desirable form of cartel for Iran.

Rather like jihad foreigners had control of the black market routes in Iraq pre 2003 - tho that same territory was officially/name only under Saddam's power. One can effectively "own" a territory without annexation.

In which case where would those enemy uniforms wander around openly to shoot at come into play?

4/13/2008 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Fox News
diplomats in Riyadh with excellent access to Saudi decision-makers said an Iranian nuclear weapon frightens the Saudis "to their core" and would compel the Saudis to seek nuclear weapons, the report said. The American diplomats were not identified.

Turkey also would come under pressure to follow suit if Iran builds nuclear weapons in the next decade, said the report prepared by a committee staff member after interviewing hundreds of individuals in Washington and the Middle East last July through December.

While Turkey and Iran do not see themselves as adversaries, Turkey believes a power balance between them is the primary reason for a peaceful relationship, the report said.

Egypt most likely would choose not to respond by pursuing its own nuclear weapons program, said the report prepared in late February and obtained Wednesday. The impact on relations with Israel and the United States were cited as the primary reasons.

... In the next two or three years, the United States must take steps to restore Arab and Turkish confidence in U.S. security guarantees, the report concluded.

Otherwise, it said, "the future Middle East landscape may include a number of nuclear-armed or nuclear weapons-capable states vying for influence in a notoriously unstable region."

4/14/2008 07:48:00 AM  

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