Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Next Iraqi Debate And The Rise Of The Mercenary Clones

David Broder
Ezra Klein
Robert Scheer
"The Democrats seem determined to teach us the price of vacillation, while the Republicans are bent on instructing us on the rewards of obstruction. What a helluva choice awaits in the November election." - David Broder
"There's plenty to criticize in Obama's policies and plenty to lament in his politics. But when it comes to grand theories explaining how his strategic decisions led him to this horrible -- but historically, slightly-better-than-average -- political position, I'm skeptical. " - Ezra Klein
"Are the Republicans terminally stupid or are they just playing the dangerous fool?" - Robert Scheer

The videos were dramatic last night, watching the trucks crossing over from Iraq into Kuwait, taking the last American "combat" troops on their way back home. This is supposed to signify the end of an era of military might, and give rise to the new era of civilian bureaucrats. Be afraid, be very afraid, as Iraq is now going to be run by the US State Department, with Hillary in charge: "By October 2011, the State Department will assume responsibility for training the Iraqi police, a task that will largely be carried out by contractors. With no American soldiers to defuse sectarian tensions in northern Iraq, it will be up to American diplomats in two new $100 million outposts to head off potential confrontations between the Iraqi Army and Kurdish pesh merga forces." What disturbs me, is that we have 50,000 military troops whose job it is supposed to be training the Iraqi military and police. The State Dept is planning on hiring a boatload of private contractors, or mercenaries, to fill in as trainers and to provide security for the new, to-be-built outposts. If these outposts were supposed to be so important, why haven't they been built already? the answer is simple: the Pentagon didn't want to use any of its budget to help out.

"To protect the civilians in a country that is still home to insurgents with Al Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias, the State Department is planning to more than double its private security guards, up to as many as 7,000, according to administration officials who disclosed new details of the plan. Defending five fortified compounds across the country, the security contractors would operate radars to warn of enemy rocket attacks, search for roadside bombs, fly reconnaissance drones and even staff quick reaction forces to aid civilians in distress, the officials said." These mercenaries won't be there to protect any Iraqi civilians, just the US employees who are supposed to be wandering around in the newer, safer Iraq. If you thought that there were bad scandals before, with Blackwater employees killing innocent people, you ain't seen nothing yet... How the State Dept gets around the current Iraqi ban on private security companies will be interesting. At least it's good to know where all of those guys who are getting kicked out of Afghanistan are going... even more interesting is if the US hires some private security companies who are all Afghans, how ironic would it be to see some Afghani mercenaries protecting 24,000 US civilians working in Iraq? There's a certain symmetry to it... An even larger bit of arrogance is our government assuming that these "civilians," most of them newly hired by the CIA or one of the dozens that have been cloned, will be able to bring stability to Iraq. At least we know who will be handing out the bribes. Instead of the Pentagon trying to stonewall where some $87 billion went without accounting, it will be the State Department's turn. And we know that there won't be any oversight established for theses folks and their projects.

With the troop withdrawal comes the Iraqi national debate of what to do next when we can't even form a government? Here are some of the current rumors and conspiracy theories that are floating around Baghdad. You might have read some of them in your local newspaper, or soon will:
  • The crime of killing medical doctors is back in Baghdad in full force.
  • Al-Qaeda is luring Sahwa Councils – the Sunni militia the U.S. raised and armed – by paying them salaries higher than those the U.S. offers.
  •  The Iraqi army is asking U.S. troops to extend their occupation of the country for another decade. The reason is that the army comprises mainly candidates from sectarian parties who are not capable of guarding the country.
  • Iran wants free shipments of Iraqi oil in return for compensations of the 1991 Gulf War.
  • The bombing of fixed U.S. military bases is easier than smoking a cigarette.
  • Militia leaders have returned to Baghdad camouflaged in parliamentary garb and quiet and moderate turbans.
  •  The row over the formation of the government is a prelude to a delayed war because no one was ready to wage it so far as all those residing in the Green Zone were engaged in travel and cashing in on contracts and commissions.
  • Iran has come to an understanding with the Americans under which both have agreed for a period of quiet and a fair division of interests in light of the meetings Ali Akbar Wilayati had in Syria and Lebanon.
  • The Arabs have discovered the fundamentals of the game being played in the lad of Twin Rivers. As a result, they have distanced themselves from what is happening in Iraq.
  •  Electricity is not an essential amenity but a luxury which Iraq’s enemies want to use as a weapon to deal a blow to its democracy.
  •  Izzat Ibrabhim, former Baathist leader, has already written the speech he is to deliver when he enters the Presidential Palace again.

It remains to be seen if the Sunnis and Shias will stop bickering and bombing each other long enough to become BFF's and start thinking of the welfare of the average working man. The lynchpin that no-one is talking about, are the future of Iraq - Iran relations and US - Iran relations. Will Iran try to infiltrate the political scene, or send in its army to stabilize the country, or will it be content to wait until Moktada al-Sadr wins the next election?

How will the US come to terms with Iran? Will we accept Iran as a rising power in the region? This is one of the major reasons why Iran has been wanting nuclear weapons: to be treated as a world power and given respect. I know, it's hard to give respect to someone who hasn't earned it. It seems, for now, that the Western powers have decided to let Iran have their nuclear power plants, Russia has stepped in and seen to that, so what threat does Iran pose to our national security? It's a good bet that if Iran were exposed to the global decision making process, they would sober up and become more helpful. If more world travelers went to Iran, the clashing of cultures would liberalize its leadership and dissolve  the insular paranoid fantasies that some of their uneducated ayatollahs have. You can already get a great latte in northern Tehran, so they are half-way there already...

So, the US has to decide if it wants to continue to get into wars and become the world's policeman, and if we are going to continue paying countries to be our friends through the foreign aid we send them. From the height of 7000 feet above sea level, to me it looks like we will have to address the rising anti-Muslim fever that is spreading across the US and Europe before we can deal more truthfully and transparently with the Middle East and Asia. And the Muslim world are now going to have to step up and take care of their radical elements by themselves, the US cannot be your proxy anymore, we are getting soooooo tired of it...

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