Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 28, 2006

Divide and Conquer - Variant II

Divide and conquer is the method tried so far by the U.S. administration to get a permanent grip on Iraq. To this means the Coalition Provisional Authority did distribute seats to the Iraqi Interim Government differentiated by religious and ethnic lines. It enforced a tripartition into Kurd, Sunni and Shia groups.

This strategy did allow for exessive U.S. influence until the Shia did win the election Sistani had demanded. The government under Maliki turned out to be depending on al-Sadr's vote and therefore a bit too independent from U.S. influence and at the same time too powerless to control the country. But to replace it through a strongman coup would have ripped apart the Bush propaganda tale of democracy, so a democratic way had to be found.

Now, a new variant of divide and conquer is in the making. According to the NYT's Helen Cooper the kernel of the current diplomatic rush is this:

  • Achieve a split within the Shia part of the Iraqi society, specifically between al-Sadr and the SCIRI/Dawa parts of the government.
  • Through regional friends press the Sunni (Baathist) parties to ally with the SCIRI/Dawa block and to give Maliki a more tame parliamentary majority.

"Specifically, the United States wants Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt to work to drive a wedge between the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, and the anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army has been behind many of the Shiite reprisal attacks in Iraq, a senior administration official said. That would require getting the predominantly Sunni Arab nations to work to get moderate Sunni Iraqis to support Mr. Maliki, a Shiite. That would theoretically give Mr. Maliki the political strength necessary to take on Mr. Sadr’s Shiite militias."

This new strategy approach seems to be confirmed by Al-Zaman (via Juan Cole).

For the following reasons I find it very unlikely that this desired realignment is achievable.

  • The practical leverage Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have over the Iraqi Sunnis is overrated.
  • As condition to use that little leverage these countries demanded a new initiative in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. This condition has been met in recent days, when the Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, pressed by his hero, made a sudden 180 degree turn from hawk to dove versus the Palestinians. But it is obvious that this is not a genuine Israeli move but one that will be reversed as soon as pressure from Washington decreases again or some forces in Israel or the U.S. want to spoil any real steps to peace.
  • The Sunnis as well as al-Sadr's movement have been the ones upholding the national stance against partitioning Iraq. The SCIRI/Dawa fractions voted for partitioning the country. Can there ever be a compromise in such opposite positions?
  • SCIRI/Dawa are much more under Iranian influence than al-Sadr is. Any U.S. success in Iraq is not in Teherans interest. The Iranians can easily be a spoiler in this scheme and Bush has no intention to talk with them or the Syrians.
  • The Sunni political forces are Baathist - SCIRI/Dawa hate Baathists.
  • The Baathist think they are winning - why should they change their strategy?

Rice advisor Zelikow has resigned yesterday and it may well be that envisioning the inevitable failure of this new devide and conquer variant that made him take this step.

Posted by b on November 28, 2006 at 10:04 UTC | Permalink


Good post b, but Sadr is the most likely alliance with the Sunnis, and the only "nationalist" hope left. To get the Sunni reistance to ally with SCIRI (the U.S. handmaiden) is like oil and water or bong water that the administration has been smokin', "aint gonna happen" to quote 41. Real resolution to the civil war would involve talks between Sadr and the Sunni resistance in a power sharing agreement -- minus the accidental tourists.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 28 2006 10:30 utc | 1

Ahhh, more clues on what tricky Dick was doing in Riyadh...
The Saudis strike back at Iran

Appetizers & Dips snips from the menu...

If ever the need arose to differentiate between brothers and friends, that was last week when Saudi King Abdullah bin-Abd al-Aziz al-Saud spoke of Iran as a "friend" of the Saudi state


Nevertheless, Iran's sense of unease about the shadows falling on Saudi-Iranian ties and the potentially deleterious trust deficit developing between them over issues of regional stability and peace was apparent in its decision last week to keep out Saudi Arabia from the trilateral summit that Tehran proposed, involving the heads of states of Syria and Iraq. What has led to a chill in Saudi-Iranian relations is the eruption of vicious sectarian strife in Iraq, apart from the crisis unfolding in Lebanon.


Despite sustained Saudi (and Egyptian) efforts to carve out a niche of influence in the fragmented Iraqi political landscape, the desired results haven't been forthcoming. The latest Saudi attempt was the Mecca Document of October 20, endorsed by 29 Iraqi Sunni and Shi'ite senior clerics who assembled in the Muslim holy city of Mecca. They vowed to God in front of the blessed Kaaba "not to violate the sanctity of Muslim blood and to incriminate those who shed ".


Indeed, Western media have also reported that in recent months US and Israeli intelligence have been working together in equipping and training Kurdish, Azeri and Baloch tribesmen to undertake covert operations in Iran's northern and southeastern provinces. Tehran already visualizes that in Lebanon, too, in the latest confrontation, the battle lines will fast assume a Sunni-Shi'ite dimension.


Riyadh expects Washington to take note that Iran's rising regional influence can still be arrested. Significantly, US Vice President Dick Cheney lost no time arriving in Riyadh on Saturday for a hurried two-hour meeting with King Abdullah. During the meeting, to quote the Saudi Press Agency, the two sides discussed "the whole range of events and developments on the regional and international scenes ... the Palestinian problem and the situation in Iraq in particular".

The choice of Cheney to undertake such a sensitive mission at this point speaks something of the thought processes of President George W Bush regarding Iraq. It also speaks something about the importance of Cheney in the last two years of Bush's presidency. Three things must be said about Cheney's beliefs. First, he is steadfast in his belief that the Iraq war is still a "doable" job. Second, he consistently maintains that an Iraq settlement is inconceivable without a regime change in Iran (emphasis mine).

this is a 3 pg. article and you should really read the whole thing (lots more on snake Cheney)

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 28 2006 10:35 utc | 2

Your analysis is thorough here, and seems watertight. The one thing that might move the Sunnis/Baathists to partake of this Big Mac Falafel is lots and lots of sauce.

Which would be in the form of oil, which could only be guaranteed by granting them an outsized share of whatever national government emerges from this crowbar diplomacy.

About, say . . . the size they used to enjoy, which is 110%.

Ayep. Iran will be delighted with such an arrangement.

Lock and load . . .

Posted by: Antifa | Nov 28 2006 10:40 utc | 3

Okay, so its an attempt to tempt the Baath into an alliance with SCIRI and dump Maliki and go after that "Iranian" Sadr. I doubt that the Sunni resistance would see Sadr, as "Iranian" as SCIRI obviously is, although he is more powerfull (than SCIRI) and I suppose that is the carrot being put forward as a bribe. An overcooked carrot at that.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 28 2006 10:47 utc | 4

Also, good post b, and fyi I have just spent the last hour and a half looking for a link I lost and really wanted to post with regards to this topic. In it it's title was something to the effect of Jr. sidestepping Poppy's commision and creating his own, an alternative to the alternative with the help of outgoing Rumsfeld and top military advisors.

I'am so pissed I lost it, and will post it if refound. It seemed the proverbial case of son bucking daddies ideals.

Nice, if true, we have a case of woefully dysfunctional family issues being played out on world stage.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 28 2006 10:48 utc | 5

Sause on carrots? sounds good to me.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 28 2006 10:52 utc | 6

Sause? guess so.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 28 2006 10:53 utc | 7

Sauce…It’s always about sauce. That’s why Americans are in Iraq. They can’t get enough of sauce..

Posted by: vbo | Nov 28 2006 12:00 utc | 8

Here is yet another take that is worth considering.

It is short, but not so sweet so I'll post the whole thing below. Well worth checking out, Dale R. Davis, is a Middle East Specialist and former Marine Counterterrorism officer and knows the Middle East.

There is a perfect storm brewing in the Middle East and it will likely soon sweep across the region with devastating effect. We are perhaps on the verge of a regional ethno-religious conflict that will pit various alliances of convenience between Sunni Saudis, Kuwaitis, Jordanians, and Turks against a Pan-Shi'a alliance of Iran, Southern Iraq, Hizbollah, and to a lesser degree the Alawite Syrian ruling regime.

* Iraq - The accelerating violence in Iraq will lead to the complete collapse of the Iraqi government by year end. The atrocities to come will make the Balkan Wars pale in comparison. This in turn will accelerate the separation of Iraq into three ethno-religious fiefdoms (Kurdistan in the North, Shi'astan in the South, Jihadistan in the central west). That process alone will involve a human tragedy of significant proportion. Due to forced migration from zones of ethnic cleansing refugees by the many thousands will require aid and assistance.
* Iran - Knowing the US has neither the political will nor the force projection capability to stand against it, Iran will lend the full weight of its economic and military power to ensure the Shi'a acheive dominance in Baghdad and the South.
* Lebanon - The pro-Saudi/anti-Syrian Sunni- Maronite alliance and Hizbollah are racing towards a violent confrontation. Reports indicate the militias are re-arming. Christians and Druze are reinforcing their mountain strongholds. In the ensuing violence Syria may find an opening to re-assert itself over its renegade province. Isreal's reaction would be predictable.
* US - Without a government, the Iraqi security services and army will complete their transformation to sectarian militias. The US exit strategy of building local capacity to replace American units will collapse and its forces will find themselves just one more combatant force amongst what could be a six-way struggle. Remaining neutral in such a conflict is untenable as it holds no promise of success. Then wither US strategy? Will the US align with its traditional Sunni allies - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and Turkey to prevent the rise of Iranian hegemony? Will the US indirectly fund radical Sunni jihadists in that effort? The last time the US planted that seed was in Afghanistan and the eventual fruit of that policy was the rise of the Taliban and 911.

Hang on this train is just starting to pick up speed!

A Perfect Storm?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 28 2006 13:33 utc | 9

@Uncle - Something more - civil war in Gaza and the West Bank

Report: Israel okays PLO troops in Gaza

Israel has agreed in principle to let Jordanian-based Palestine Liberation Organization forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas enter the Gaza Strip to help shore up a 2-day-old truce, military officials said Tuesday.
The Jordanian-based Badr forces would be deployed along the Israel-Gaza border to beef up Palestinian troops trying to prevent terrorists from firing homemade rockets at Israeli border communities.

In the past, Israel has been reluctant to let armed PLO forces into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but apparently hopes the Badr troops will strengthen Abbas and support the fledgling truce, possibly leading to a renewal of long-stalled peace talks.
The presence of the Badr forces would be key to Abbas because they would be loyal to him rather than to the rival Hamas-led government. Security forces loyal to Abbas' Fatah Party have often clashed with a Hamas militia.

The selected President against the elected Hamas administration ...

Posted by: b | Nov 28 2006 14:01 utc | 10

Obviously making all this mess USA and it's allies can't expect anything good for them selves...expect more terrorist attacks on their soils...expect more freedom and human rights their societies attained through hundreds of years , now swiped away...
War on Terra will be completed...

Posted by: vbo | Nov 28 2006 14:58 utc | 11

Uncle: If civil war comes to Lebanon and Syria tries to come back, I still fail to see how Israel would ally with the Lebaense Sunnis, or how they would take it.
Turkey would be a likelier ally to either Sunnis or Israel. Then of course Turkey would ally with Iran to crush the Kurds, so having Turkey trying to move against the Shia isn't a given to me. Then Kurds seem to be buddies with Israel, itself allied with Turkey, which could ally with Iran and/or Sunni Iraqis against the Kurds.
And I fail to see Sunni Arabs of any kind entering in a solid alliance with the Turks. If Arabs have memory, they remember the centuries of Turkish oppression.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Nov 28 2006 15:23 utc | 12

a lot of the policy options being prroposed & considereed for the ME amount to under-estimating the enemy.

serious talks between the key parties (not the wannabees) is the humane & honorable way to end this mess. Otherwise we can expect more & more diminishing returns.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Nov 28 2006 15:36 utc | 13

Great post, b.

Here is some more grim news to add to your overall picture:

Al Qaeda Firmly Controls Western Iraq

According to the report, "the social and political situation has deteriorated to a point" that US and Iraqi troops "are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar," the Post reported.

Posted by: Bea | Nov 28 2006 16:03 utc | 14

@bea - thanks - in that report one has to find-and-replace "Al-Qaeda" with "ex-Baathist-army-officer-corps" and it should be about right.

One could also write: "the social and political situation has deteriorated to a point" that US and Iraqi troops "are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in Baghdad,"

Posted by: b | Nov 28 2006 16:12 utc | 15

Bush to Maliki: "What's your plan?"

President Bush said Tuesday morning he will press Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for a plan to contain the country's escalating sectarian violence, though he refused to characterize the situation in Iraq as a civil war.
Bush to Press Iraqi PM on Sectarian Violence

Posted by: b | Nov 28 2006 16:15 utc | 16

The Rude Pundit asks:

Where Do We Put All the Iraqi Bodies?

Grim, grim, but undeniably humorous. Not for the faint-hearted...

Posted by: Bea | Nov 28 2006 16:56 utc | 17

Ledeens strategy - unite and kill:

Victor says we should first stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan, but that's skipping a step. It is impossible so long as the mullahs rule in Tehran and Assad commands in Damascus. It is a regional war. If we continue to misunderstand it, if we remain locked in this fundamental error of strategic vision, we will endlessly respond to our enemies' initiatives, playing defense in one place after another. Today in Iraq and Afghanistan, tomorrow in Lebanon, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopea and Eritrea (that is the mullahs' game plan), then in Israel and Europe, and finally here at home. We do not need intelligence agencies to know this, all we need to do is listen to our enemies, who announce it at the top of their lungs.

There is no escape from this war, and we haven't even begun to wage it. Once we do, we will find that we've got many political and economic weapons, most of them inside our enemies' lands. I entirely agree with Victor that Iran and Syria are fragile, brittle, and anxious. They know their people hate them, and they know that revolution could erupt if we supported it.

Of course, as Victor says, our leaders may be so demoralized that we could just surrender in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the realists and the antisemites desire. But that would only delay the reckoning, and ensure that the war will be far bloodier. Sigh.

I am still waiting for his daughter to sign up for the Marines ...

Posted by: b | Nov 28 2006 17:12 utc | 18

What the hell happened to Billmon?

Nice post, by the way.

Posted by: | Nov 28 2006 17:54 utc | 19

In all this diplomatic ju jitsu, very little has been written about the rewards for the puppetmasters- Bush41, Baker, Carlyle. Iraq is still paying war reparations to Kuwait for Saddam's invasion, thanks to the Baker Group's efforts. Cancel that (as well as agree to national ownership of oil) and you might see a decrease in pipeline sabotage. Carlyle weapon systems sales thrive on insecurity.

Nothing new to MoAers, but it is galling to see these people presented as somehow altruistic almost everywhere in the media.

Posted by: biklett | Nov 28 2006 18:06 utc | 20

good post B. Antifa wrote: Big Mac Falafel is lots and lots of sauce. heh! Niiice.

Creating mayhem and dividing to conquer can appear to sweep the table clean. A lot of Iraqis are killed off, the country is emptied of its leaders (teachers, judges, doctors, etc), and ensures that the Int’l community will moan about crazed Arabs (err Persians) and Islamists and view strife, poverty, starvation, millions fleeing, schools closing, random shootings, rape, and all the rest, as clear indications of ethnic and religious madness, the fault of ungrateful Iraqis who couldn’t handle ‘freedom’, who need to ‘sort out their own mess’ and so on.

The difficulty is that to exploit the oil, the security of contracts, on the ground arrangements, transport, and all the other logistics; a certain stability, and a semi-contented population must be a backdrop. Without that, the oil can’t be exported, it can only be kept in the ground for future use, which is pretty much what has gone down since the beginning of sanctions.

A headline at anti-war com today says:

Bush: No pullout until Iraq a stable democracy.

The long war! Well the democracy part is irrelevant, but the message is clear, as it has been from the start. In French, the strategy is that of ‘burnt ground’ - la terre brulée, the clean sweep, you start over. And Iraq is pretty much that, toast.

To preserve and exploit, nuclear arms cannot be used. The balance between force of threat and its potential destruction has been changed, and everyone knows it.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 28 2006 18:35 utc | 21

@Uncle, were you referring to this bit from Chris Matthews?

Reporter: Pentagon Is Developing Alternative To Iraq Study Group Findings "To Give The President An Out"link

Posted by: jj | Nov 28 2006 19:14 utc | 22

Badger on>Americans Bewaring Gifts:

American president Bush will be selecting tomorrow in Amman the solution that observers are calling the final one from a basket of options that has been presented to him by [the Baker group] and by a policy that has been evolved by national security adviser Stephen Hadley since his [Hadley's] visit to Baghdad last month as a solution to the question of Iraq, and there are six options: [First], issuance of a general amnesty to all of the resistance groups, and an expansion of the National Reconciliation program; [second], shutting down the de-Baathification agency; [third], including former Baathists in government and paying them conpensation for the last four years; [fourth], disbanding the militias and turning over the leaders that have been involved in crimes to the courts for trial; [fifth], freezing the law relating to establishment of federal regions; and [sixth], set a policy for the fair distribution of oil [revenues] to the people of Iraq.

Maliki is gonna need a lot of sauce to be swallowing this entree. But he will be eating it, one way or another

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 28 2006 19:20 utc | 23

Hmm -

Saudi Arabia is so concerned about the damage that the conflict in Iraq is doing across the region that it basically summoned Vice President Cheney for talks over the weekend, according to U.S. officials and foreign diplomats. The visit was originally portrayed as U.S. outreach to its oil-rich Arab ally.
Civil War in Iraq Near, Annan Says

If Baker/hamilton can not teach Cheney/bush to behave, the Saudis may actually have the leverage to do so ...
Other picks in that piece

In a reflection of the growing new dimension of civil strife, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday that the militia of radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr has grown eightfold over the past year and now fields 40,000 to 60,000 men. That makes it more effective than the Iraqi government's army, the official indicated.

The Iraqi army has about 134,000 men, but about half are doing only stationary guard duty, the official said. Of the half that conduct operations, only about 10 battalions are effective -- well under 10,000 men.

Sadr is so powerful that if provincial elections were held now, he would sweep most of the south and also take Baghdad, said the intelligence officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his position.

This would actually fit with the strategy outlined in the NYT and my post above.

To beat al-Sadr, a Sunni/Iran-Shia/Kurd alliance may be needed and that is probably what Bush could aim for. It is also impossible to achieve.

Another thought - if al-Sadr would win a majority in the South, that does also mean that he has the ability to cut of the US line of communication, i.e. logistics, from and to Kuwait. "To Kuwait" becoming the more important point now day by day ...

Posted by: b | Nov 28 2006 19:37 utc | 24

@anna - I am not sure Maliki will come at all - the menu is already unrealistic enough to be eaten. 4 - disbanding the militias and turning over the leaders that have been involved in crimes to the courts for trial = disolve the US Army and put Bush into La Hague? How should Maliki achive that?

Posted by: b | Nov 28 2006 19:44 utc | 25

the gift package is missing one crucial present - a plan/schedule for withdrawal.

also, theres no gifts in it for Syria. Or Iran.

also nothing for Sadr. In fact gift 4. looks like its intended to undermine & possibly detain him.

In the context of history, this "gift" package looks like yet another attempt to re-work a colonial situation without due consideration for the nationalist sentiments of the occupied.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Nov 28 2006 22:47 utc | 26

Iraq Nears the "Saigon Moment"

Everything in Iraq is dominated by what in Belfast we used to call "the politics of the last atrocity". All three Iraqi communities--Shia, Sunni and Kurdish -- see themselves as victims and seldom sympathize with the tragedies of others.

Qui Bono? The neocons - Adelman, Perle, the rest - shed crocodile tears for the "democratization" project in Iraq. Keeping up the pretense that they ever had any interests in Iraq other than what has in fact taken place. And now if they can just coax, wheedle, cajole, shame, threaten... whatever it takes... the Lebanon treatment for Iran... well that will be the best they can hope for now, given how badly their "instrument" has let them down.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Nov 29 2006 1:29 utc | 27

Again too much Fixation on what guy is fighting what guy... Anyone care what any of them are fighting for, or why the sudden HYSTERIA coming out of Wash???

Well, it turns out WE, THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA, ARE WINNING. Maliki told Wash to shove it up their ass - the Wall St. Predators could NOT Steal their infrastructure. They would not implement Prop. 38 or 39 of the so-called Constitution. Victory for the people of America & Iraq. I've been waiting for this. That's why there's this frantic talk of imposing a Dictator, even a damn Sunni, anyone who allows them to STEAL EVERYTHING. Anyone know what other economic provisions they're revolting against. THIS IS SO FANTASTIC. Meanwhile Americans sit around like stooges & let their entire economy be stolen...Go Iraqiis...

Posted by: jj | Nov 29 2006 2:50 utc | 28

@jj #28:

By 'Prop. 38 or 39' do you mean the onerous PSAs regarding oil development? If so, this is very good news, not only for Iraq but as a precedent for other similar situations.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Nov 29 2006 3:35 utc | 29

Quote (from

When all the houses are filled, for surely, they will be, that's when it's time to tell the President that his Texas ranch'd make a mighty fine mass grave.
I love this guy!

Posted by: vbo | Nov 29 2006 3:58 utc | 30

CPA order #38 is a reconstruction levied tax on Iraqis to fund reconstruction, 5% I think.

CPA order #39 is the "privitization" order de-nationalizing state ownership.

jj where did you hear about this?

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 29 2006 4:16 utc | 31

Sorry, CPA #39 on further checking, is the order that allows direct foreign investment into Iraq, i.e. foreign ownership of Iraqi business.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 29 2006 4:25 utc | 32

#39 does not allow (any) foreign ownership of natural resources (oil).

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 29 2006 4:31 utc | 33

According to Antonia Juhasz in her The Hand-Over that Wasn’t article The (New and Improved) Bremer Orders to wit the CPA Order #39 allows for the following: (1) privatization of Iraq’s 200 state-owned enterprises; (2) 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses; (3) “national treatment” of foreign firms; (4) unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and (5) 40-year ownership licenses. Thus, it allows the U.S. corporations operating in Iraq to own every business, do all of the work, and send all of their money home. Nothing needs to be reinvested locally to service the Iraqi economy, no Iraqi need be hired, no public services need be guaranteed, and workers’ rights can easily be ignored. And corporations can take out their investments at any time.

However, that was two years ago... Can you say rape? There I thought you could...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 29 2006 5:27 utc | 34

Somebody called Thom Hartmann this morning to discuss it. No cites were given. Went by in 45 secs. I figured if I put this out here, someone would know something, as Hartmann clearly did. I recall hearing recently that xUSgov threatening to even put in Sunni Dictator - only makes sense, if they're saying You Bastards let us steal whatever we want, or we shove Saddam Mark II down yr. throats.

Anyway, so there's both the Constitution & the Bullshit Bremer shoved down their throats the instant before he fled, and this comes from the latter? I forget what they're called, but the reason for the "interim govt." was 'cuz by Int'l Law Occupation Forces couldn't implement them. Where's the part about farmers not being allowed to save & use their ancient seeds - are they fighting over that too?

I'm finally reading Antonia Juhasz's book on "Bu$h Agenda" in Iraq (Uncle recently posted link to her that kicked me into gear to get it off my bookshelf) & the invasion is about terrorizing ME into allowing Pirates to ransack their economies.

I'm frustrated it's so impossible to find out the substance of what they are fighting for. We're hoodwinked into thinking it's tribal/religious internicine feuds, yet the warfare may be 99% economic. Or put it this way, if they hadn't thrown so many guys out of work via these policies, would they be fighting? Sunnis fighting to keep from being left w/no oil, and are the rest fighting xUS elite economic agenda? This really changes the picture. It makes us all allies, no?

Anyone realize that New York has had 25% of their manufacturing jobs Destroyed since 2000?link Prob. about same % of jobs they destroyed in Iraq through destroying tariffs there...

Posted by: jj | Nov 29 2006 5:52 utc | 35

Thanks Uncle. They just mentioned that Maliki refused to agree to hand over the "infrastructure". Back to reading Juhasz :)

Posted by: jj | Nov 29 2006 6:00 utc | 36

In what they are calling an 'exclusive' ABC news is reporting that the Pentagon is considering shifting troops from Anbar to Baghdad. The article says that Anbar would be 'turned over to Iraqi security forces' which is another way of saying the insurgents, because without the Marines, the Shiite and Kurdish troops will pack their bags and go home. They might as well, it's been clear for a long while that there is no earthly good in trying to 'pacify' Anbar. (Funny how the term 'pacify' seems so Vietnam like.) Everyone there hates the US, we destroyed Fallujah so Rumsfeld could show that he could and be the big man for a day, Ramadi is a hellhole that can only get worse and now the real action is in the mixed towns just north of Baghdad. But the real reason, that ABC will never tell you, is that the troops are needed in Baghdad to maintain the Green Zone.
The next couple of days, with the Bush/Maliki show, should prove interesting.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 29 2006 6:07 utc | 37

WaPo's Ricks: Top Pentagon people want to tell the Sunni to shove it and want to support the Shia. (No wonder the Saudis are screaming then)

Posted by: b | Nov 29 2006 6:10 utc | 38

As Iraq Deteriorates, Iraqis Get More Blame

From troops on the ground to members of Congress, Americans increasingly blame the continuing violence and destruction in Iraq on the people most affected by it: the Iraqis.

Even Democrats who have criticized the Bush administration's conduct of the occupation say the people and government of Iraq are not doing enough to rebuild their society. The White House is putting pressure on the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have debated how much to blame Iraqis for not performing civic duties.
Iraqi Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie said he worries about the growing chorus of official voices blaming Iraq, and suggested that a little introspection on the U.S. side could help.

No luck with that Mr. Ambassador ...

Posted by: b | Nov 29 2006 6:13 utc | 39

hahahaha...@ b's #39 ah, the fucking insanity of 'blame the victim politics' and the pisser is, 99.98% of the American people haven't a clue that this is all about complete insatiable greed and the moral bankruptcy of our so called leaders, both Democrat and Rethugs mostly because our media and education system has dumbed down it's citizens for the last three decades.

If even 10% of the American people knew the economic rape that we are pushing on the ME, we would have seattle like wto demonstartions all across the country.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 29 2006 6:33 utc | 40

For those confused about this Iraq Study Group. Who exactly owns responsibility for appointing this study? The names of members keep leaking out a name at a time, but we don't seem to hear much about how it received its "assignment". Who appointed these people to this group?

So, here's Iraq Study Group 101. Interesting, it was set up "at the urging of Congress"? Urging? And it is being performed by the United States Institute of Peace???? Peace? Who ARE these people, really?

Iraq Study Group at the United States Institute of Peace.

"In light of the importance of Iraq to United States interests and the future of the region, there is urgent need for a bipartisan, forward-looking assessment of the situation in Iraq.

At the urging of Congress, the United States Institute of Peace is facilitating the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, led by co-chairs James A. Baker, III, former secretary of state and honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, and Lee H. Hamilton, former congressman and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Iraq Study Group will conduct a forward-looking, independent assessment of the current and prospective situation on the ground in Iraq, its impact on the surrounding region, and consequences for U.S. interests.

The United States Institute of Peace is facilitating the group with the support of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Center for the Study of the Presidency (CSP), and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University."

And ya know, you can't have a real peace movement if it's not headed by...

an energy exec.

Current Chairman of the Board of the US Institute for Peace:

J. Robinson West (Chair)
Chairman, PFC Energy, Washington, DC

From PFC's helpful website:

Our Washington, DC location adds a special understanding of the impact of US foreign policy on energy issues.

Ha! I'll bet it does.

Hold on to your hat...

Again, who ARE these people?

"The members of the study group will consult with members of Congress and others, including four working groups of experts and a group of retired military officers. The four working groups will be comprised of experts from private industry and leading policy and academic institutions."

Group One: Economy and Reconstruction
Gary Matthews, USIP Secretariat
Director, Task Force on the United Nations and Special Projects, United States Institute of Peace
Raad Alkadiri
Director, Country Strategies Group, PFC Energy
Frederick D. Barton
Senior Adviser and Co-Director, International Security Program,
Center for Strategic & International Studies
Jay Collins
Chief Executive Officer, Public Sector Group, Citigroup, Inc.
Jock P. Covey
Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Corporate Security and Sustainability Services, Bechtel Corporation
Keith Crane
Senior Economist, RAND Corporation
Amy Myers Jaffe
Associate Director for Energy Studies, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University
K. Riva Levinson
Managing Director, BKSH & Associates
David A. Lipton
Managing Director and Head of Global Country Risk Management, Citigroup, Inc
Michael E. O'Hanlon
Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution
James A. Placke
Senior Associate, Cambridge Energy Research Associates
James A. Schear
Director of Research, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University

Group Two: Military and Security
Paul Hughes, USIP Secretariat
Senior Program Officer, Center for Post-conflict Peace and Stability Operations,
United States Institute of Peace
Hans A. Binnendijk
Director & Theodore Roosevelt Chair, Center for Technology & National Security Policy, National Defense University
James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow, Defense and Homeland Security, Doug and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation
Michele A. Flournoy
Senior Advisor, International Security Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies
Michael Eisenstadt
Director, Military & Security Program, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Bruce Hoffman
Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency, RAND Corporation
Clifford May
President, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
Robert M. Perito
Senior Program Officer, Center for Post-conflict Peace and Stability Operations,
United States Institute of Peace
Kalev I. Sepp
Assistant Professor, Department of Defense Analysis, Center on Terrorism and Irregular Warfare, Naval Postgraduate School
John F. Sigler
Adjunct Distinguished Professor, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University
W. Andrew Terrill
Research Professor, National Security Affairs, Strategic Studies Institute
Jeffrey A. White
Berrie Defense Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Group Three: Political Development
Daniel Serwer, USIP Secretariat
Vice President, Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, United States Institute of Peace
Raymond H. Close
Freelance Analyst and Commentator on Middle East Politics
Larry Diamond
Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University and Co-Editor, Journal of Democracy
Andrew P.N. Erdmann
Former Director for Iran, Iraq and Strategic Planning, National Security Council
Reuel Marc Gerecht
Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
David L. Mack
Vice President, The Middle East Institute
Phebe A. Marr
Senior Fellow, United States Institute of Peace
Hassan Mneimneh
Director, Documentation Program, The Iraq Memory Foundation
Augustus Richard Norton
Professor of International Relations and Anthropology, Department of International Relations, Boston University
Marina S. Ottaway
Senior Associate, Democracy and Rule of Law Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Judy Van Rest
Executive Vice President, International Republican Institute
Judith S. Yaphe
Distinguished Research Fellow for the Middle East, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University

Group Four: Strategic Environment
Paul Stares, USIP Secretariat
Vice President, Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, United States Institute of Peace
Jon B. Alterman
Director, Middle East Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies
Steven A. Cook
Douglas Dillon Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
James F. Dobbins
Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation
Hillel Fradkin
Director, Center for Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World, Hudson Institute
Chas W. Freeman
Chairman, Projects International and President, Middle East Policy Council
Geoffrey Kemp
Director, Regional Strategic Programs, The Nixon Center
Daniel C. Kurtzer
S. Daniel Abraham Visiting Professor, Middle East Policy Studies, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
Ellen Laipson
President and CEO, The Henry L. Stimson Center
William B. Quandt
Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle
East Policy, The Brookings Institution
Shibley Telhami
Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development, Department of Government & Politics, University of Maryland and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Saban Center
for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution
Wayne White
Adjunct Scholar, Public Policy Center, Middle East Institute

Military Senior Advisor Panel
Admiral James O. Ellis, Jr.
United States Navy, Retired
General John M. Keane
United States Army, Retired
General Edward C. Meyer
United States Army, Retired
General Joseph W. Ralston
United States Air Force, Retired
Lieutenant General Roger C. Schultz, Sr.
United States Army, Retired

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 29 2006 7:12 utc | 41

A huge warning shot across the bow by a Saudi advisor in a WaPo OpEd: Stepping Into Iraq

In February 2003, a month before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, warned President Bush that he would be "solving one problem and creating five more" if he removed Saddam Hussein by force. Had Bush heeded his advice, Iraq would not now be on the brink of full-blown civil war and disintegration.

One hopes he won't make the same mistake again by ignoring the counsel of Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who said in a speech last month that "since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited." If it does, one of the first consequences will be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis.
Just a few months ago it was unthinkable that President Bush would prematurely withdraw a significant number of American troops from Iraq. But it seems possible today, and therefore the Saudi leadership is preparing to substantially revise its Iraq policy. Options now include providing Sunni military leaders (primarily ex-Baathist members of the former Iraqi officer corps, who make up the backbone of the insurgency) with the same types of assistance -- funding, arms and logistical support -- that Iran has been giving to Shiite armed groups for years.

Another possibility includes the establishment of new Sunni brigades to combat the Iranian-backed militias. Finally, Abdullah may decide to strangle Iranian funding of the militias through oil policy. If Saudi Arabia boosted production and cut the price of oil in half, the kingdom could still finance its current spending. But it would be devastating to Iran, which is facing economic difficulties even with today's high prices. The result would be to limit Tehran's ability to continue funneling hundreds of millions each year to Shiite militias in Iraq and elsewhere.
There is reason to believe that the Bush administration, despite domestic pressure, will heed Saudi Arabia's advice. Vice President Cheney's visit to Riyadh last week to discuss the situation (there were no other stops on his marathon journey) underlines the preeminence of Saudi Arabia in the region and its importance to U.S. strategy in Iraq. But if a phased troop withdrawal does begin, the violence will escalate dramatically.

In this case, remaining on the sidelines would be unacceptable to Saudi Arabia. To turn a blind eye to the massacre of Iraqi Sunnis would be to abandon the principles upon which the kingdom was founded. It would undermine Saudi Arabia's credibility in the Sunni world and would be a capitulation to Iran's militarist actions in the region.

To be sure, Saudi engagement in Iraq carries great risks -- it could spark a regional war. So be it: The consequences of inaction are far worse.

Ok - the oil-thingy is a bit of an empty threat, as SA can not produce enough to half the oil price.

But the rest is dynamite - if the US decides to side with the Shia, as the Pentagon may want, the Saudis will openly support the Sunni guerilla (I believe they do so silently today). If the US decides to just leave the mess, the same will happen.

Posted by: b | Nov 29 2006 7:21 utc | 42

Hadley memo to Bush Text of U.S. Security Adviser’s Iraq Memo

If it is Maliki’s assessment that he does not have the capability — politically or militarily — to take the steps outlined above, we will need to work with him to augment his capabilities. We could do so in two ways. First, we could help him form a new political base among moderate politicians from Sunni, Shia, Kurdish and other communities. Ideally, this base would constitute a new parliamentary bloc that would free Maliki from his current narrow reliance on Shia actors. (This bloc would not require a new election, but would rather involve a realignment of political actors within the Parliament). In its creation, Maliki would need to be willing to risk alienating some of his Shia political base and may need to get the approval of Ayatollah Sistani for actions that could split the Shia politically. Second, we need to provide Maliki with additional forces of some kind.
Not going to happen - but there is no plan B in the memo.

Posted by: b | Nov 29 2006 7:36 utc | 43

if the US decides to side with the Shia, as the Pentagon may want, the Saudis will openly support the Sunni guerilla (I believe they do so silently today). If the US decides to just leave the mess, the same will happen.

there is no way SA is going to sit back and watch a sunni genocide in iraq.

"since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited."

uninvited by whom? the iraqi people have already spoken. uninvited by the puppets?

Posted by: annie | Nov 29 2006 8:36 utc | 44

Just got the following in e-mail: Daily Job Alert

Where: Iraq
The first 1 of 1 new jobs are displayed below.
See matching results on since: yesterday - past week - all results

Electrical/electronics Technician - Fl Job With 1 Year In Iraq (gty Base Salary To $
Bailey & Associates - Southwest Florida With 1 Year In Iraq, FL
U.S. Stateside Applicants Only*** Our client is the leading manufacturer of precision gyrostabilized camera systems for military, law enforcement, and security...
From Monster - November 28, 2:55 PM

One year contract huh? Does this look like we are leaving anytime soon? Didn't think so.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 29 2006 8:42 utc | 45

b, your #43 link. let Maliki take more credit for positive developments.

they are still doing it, just spinning the message. they are going to let him? not him making more decisions just him taking credit for them, thats what they want.

they are just spinning. the whole war has been run by image, they think image will heal what has come down. this isn't reality. what exactly is 'augmenting' capabilities maliki doesn't have? or may not have? what does that mean?

First, we could help him form a new political base among moderate politicians from Sunni, Shia, Kurdish and other communities.

maybe they can fly them in from london? hey, call up all our many contacts and ask them to join maliki's new political base.

this sounds like some plan my garden club could come up with.

alienating some of his Shia political base

now thats an understatement.

Posted by: annie | Nov 29 2006 8:50 utc | 46

who sent that to you uncle? do you get those offers in your inbox often?

Posted by: annie | Nov 29 2006 8:52 utc | 47

ABC News has learned that Pentagon officials are considering a major strategic shift in Iraq, to move U.S. forces out of the dangerous Sunni-dominated al-Anbar province and join the fight to secure Baghdad.

this means they are backing off the sunnis. maybe this is what they meant by augmenting maliki's capabilities!

Posted by: annie | Nov 29 2006 8:57 utc | 48

Short related interview from DN w/ Antonia Juhasz from two weeks ago...

Battle Brewing in Congress as Bush Admin Seeks Closure of Iraq Reconstruction Corruption Monitor US corporate occupation of Iraq, Indeed.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 29 2006 8:59 utc | 49

@Uncle - 45

When the US military retreats, as it will have to, one major problem will be the fate of some 30,000 mercenaries and some 50,000 dish washers, cooks, etc. who do the slave work on those US bases. Add to that Iraqi "collaborators", translators etc. and there will be some 100,000-150,000 civilians who will need an urgent ride out of the country.

With Anbar given up, the route to Jordan is closed. The South seems to be mostly in Sadr's hand now. Up north the roads between North Iraq and Turkey definitly do not have Autobahn status ... this might become a bloody retreat

Posted by: b | Nov 29 2006 9:01 utc | 50

If even 10% of the American people knew the economic rape that we are pushing on the ME, we would have seattle like wto demonstartions all across the country.
C’mon. We all know that this kind of standard of living Americans are enjoying is not possible without robbery that goes on for ages…It’s only that USA thinks they do not need masks any more, being the only superpower on Earth….

Posted by: vbo | Nov 29 2006 9:16 utc | 51

b, the Hadley text is probably the front for talking points delivered to Maliki in his meeting with Bush, as a matter of buying more time, and shield the more radical imposition of demands from public view. Its their way of seeking out "the middle", or in other words to cajole Maliki into a position of impotence and subservience to U.S.interests, with the minimum of blowback. This text is also commenserate and a preservation of the neo-con agenda of empowering Najaf Shiism (as a hedge against Iranian Shiism) so the administration may also appear to being still "on message" with the democracy thing. And still be able to label Sadr outside appearances as "extremist". This could also be the source for the recent Ricks/Rozen leaks about siding whole hog with the Shiites, minus of course Muqtada. Who's militia is now estimated at 40-70,000 and more adept than the Iraqi army -- so I cant see how this is a starter, in spite of the fact that it continues to tow the administrations party (fantasy)line.

Now, if the report jj has posted is true, givin the timing, may indicate Maliki pushing back and up to playing hardball with U.S. interests. As far as I know the elected Iraqi government can at any time rescend any of the CPA orders with approval of Parliament, including the anticipated new "oil laws" -- So Maliki may be more fiesty than Bush expects, and even capable with the Mahdi combined with the IAF of cutting the U.S. out of the SOFA arrangements and the oil PSA's, realizing Bush's worst nightmare. This would be a reversal of fortune that would appeal to even the Sunni resistance. Maybe I'm dreaming, but Maliki may not be as weak as the MSM colors him.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 29 2006 9:27 utc | 52

Intersting how the dissatisfaction with the Maliki government is defined exclusively by his failure to reign in Sadr and the Mahdi Army -- which has been growing as exponetially as it is anti-occupation, when nary a word is uttered regarding either the Badr or the Pershmega, both militias supporting a state within a state. Except that both these militias are complicit to U.S. interests -- and not seeing anything like the growth of the Mahdi. Funny how the fastest growing homegrown and nationalist "army" in Iraq, without outside training and funding is the paramount threat to the nation.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 29 2006 10:01 utc | 53

Funny how the fastest growing homegrown and nationalist "army" in Iraq, without outside training and funding is the paramount threat to the nation.

or so they tell us.

Posted by: annie | Nov 29 2006 10:19 utc | 54

@Uncle $cam, #40:

...mostly because our media and education system has dumbed down it's citizens for the last three decades.

Three decades? Try nine. I was going to apologize because my reference text, The Graves of Academe by Robert Mitchell, has gone missing. (It's a polemic, with which one may or may not agree, but it's a polemic spotted with historical background, so it's worth reading.) Then I discovered that it's available online.

Anyway, the point is: the NEA founded their Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education in 1913, which produced Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education in 1918. That document, to summarize, said: scholarship and deep understanding aren't really necessary for good consumers, so there's really not much point in including them in the curriculum. Go read the chapter of the book titled "The Seven Deadly Principles" for an enlargement on this theme.

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Nov 29 2006 11:25 utc | 55

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Nov 29 2006 11:57 utc | 56

"In what they are calling an 'exclusive' ABC news is reporting that the Pentagon is considering shifting troops from Anbar to Baghdad. The article says that Anbar would be 'turned over to Iraqi security forces' which is another way of saying the insurgents, because without the Marines,...."

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 29, 2006 1:07:24 AM | 37

You mean there will be no US military troops or equipment left in Anbar province????

That sounds like preparations for a *real* display of explosive force to me and I don't mean merely "Shock and Awe".

Wouldn't Anbar then replace Auswich as the worlds most remembered genocidal atrocity?

Posted by: pb | Nov 29 2006 18:23 utc | 57

Alternet, Oct. 2006, by Joshua Holland.


The Iraqi government faces a December deadline, imposed by the world's wealthiest countries, to complete its final oil law.

But even "untold riches" don't tell the whole story. Depending on how Iraq's petroleum law shakes out, the country's enormous reserves could break the back of OPEC, a wet dream in Western capitals for three decades.>link

From Trade Arabia:

Iraq leaders still wrangling over oil law Nov. 22, 2006>link

One article about Iraqi oil workers on the ground, from April 2005, by ILWU, see link - Oil and freedom: Iraqi workers struggle for rights and resources->here

all is so confused, nothing special to say, thanks for to all for the posts and links above.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 29 2006 19:48 utc | 58

@ Noirette, jj, anna missed, Uncle #34 -

Is this it, oil law? That's the reason the timeline, in all the predictions for the imminent fall of the Maliki government, is "the next couple months"?

So the "predictions" are actually a threat to Maliki. One thing that the non-governing Iraqi government, with no army, could actually do is scuttle those colonialist oil laws from Bremer's CPA.


Posted by: small coke | Nov 29 2006 21:39 utc | 59

small coke,

I think that it is so. Excepting that Maliki is allied to Sadrs army (in waiting for official legitimacy) that could eventually eclipse the Iraqi army, or merge with it.

If the Iraqi government were to craft the new oil laws unfavorably to western interests, it would be most interesting to see if the U.S. would continue on in an Iraq war without the guarantee of spoils. My guess is that they would sprint not run from the whole mess.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 29 2006 22:00 utc | 60

anna missed@60

also wondering whether the new oil laws will be worth the paper its signed on.

what a mess this could unfold to be

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Nov 29 2006 23:17 utc | 61

">,7340,L-3336135,00.html"> Wrong in so many ways….
A former US president, two leading US presidential candidates, two former Israeli prime ministers and numerous other senior ranking American and Israeli officials will convene this coming Friday at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in the Brookings Institution in Washington DC for a three-day forum entitled 'America and Israel: Confronting a Middle East in Turmoil.'
The dignitaries will discuss a plethora of issues, including the situation in Lebanon and the threat of Hizbullah overthrowing the sitting government, Hamas' control of the Palestinian Authority and the continued Qassam attacks on Israel despite the ceasefire, the rising challenge of the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah alliance, options for dealing with the threat from Iran, energy independence, democracies and the media in wartime and how Israel should deal with its neighbors.

">"> More here…
">"> And who are these guys? (hat tip to Uncle $cam, search for Saban)

Posted by: Rick Happ | Dec 8 2006 6:12 utc | 62

Excepting that Maliki is allied to Sadrs army

this is what an iraqi blogger told me (in rather surprised terms that i didn't know this)

Is this it, oil law?

small coke,jony.. i still think this is the best explanation of the oil situation pt1&2 and yes, this decemer deadline has been in the books for awhile..

Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil

Even as Iraq verges on splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as "the prize."

The deadline the Iraqi government must meet for the completion of its final oil law in December is a "benchmark" in the IMF agreement.

Posted by: annie | Dec 8 2006 8:22 utc | 63

jeez, sorry, i should have read a little further upthread

Posted by: annie | Dec 8 2006 8:24 utc | 64

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