Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 28, 2008

Iraq Roundup

The current relative lull in Iraq is likely to end pretty soon. There are several recent events to support this assessment. All together they point to imminent danger for the U.S. troops in Iraq.

The election law for the provincial election this fall will not be agreed upon in a sufficient time frame. The elections will be moved out to next year and/or will be manipulated to allow as few choices as possible. This of course fits the Maliki government and the Kurds who in fair elections would lose power to the Sadr movement in the south and to Sunni Arabs in the north. Reidar Visser explains:

Today, the latest phase in the forced ethno-federalisation of Iraq is being played out as the Kurdish–ISCI ruling minority tries to fashion a provincial elections law that can suit its strategy of minimising popular impact on the elections results. Open lists that would give voters the opportunity of overruling party elites in their choice of candidates have been discussed in Iraq recently, but the KDP-appointed president of the “independent” electoral commission, Faraj al-Haydari, has already deemed this “impracticable”. Similarly, the idea of smaller electoral districts is being dismissed because of Kurdish concerns over Kirkuk.

The already announced, by Maliki, return of the Sunni parties to the Maliki government is not happening:

Iraq's main Sunni Arab political bloc said on Wednesday it had suspended talks to rejoin the Shiite-led government after a disagreement with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki over a cabinet post.

Muqtada al-Sadr called for weekly demonstrations against the U.S. demanded 'Stationing of Forces Agreement':

In a statement issued by his office, the radical cleric urged that "Iraqis across the country to hold demonstrations every week after Friday prayers until further notice or until the agreement is canceled."

He also called on all Iraqi political blocs to join force to reject the pact, demanding referendums for any agreement with Washington.

The non-sectarian resistance in Iraq, emphasized by Sadr, now gets active support from Lebanon's Hizbullah leader Nasrullah. As Badger translates form Arab media:

The instigation to resistance in Iraq on the part of the leader of Hizbullah, and with this unprecedented clarity, represents the taking of a strong position against the ruling group, in the name of Shiia Islam, and [in the name of] all who participate in this project from among the Sunni parties.

Add to that the possibility of retaliation for a U.S. attack on Iran and you have lots of likely flashpoints.

Any real fight with the Shia, over Iran or internally in Iraq, would endanger the U.S. supply line from Kuwait to Baghdad.

Last October I mused about an alternative route for U.S. supply based on a tiny hint in a Leila Fadel report. In 'You could supply us through Aqaba' I wrote:

With the British troops retreating to their air-base near Basra and eventually leaving, the U.S. supply route from Kuwait harbour to Baghdad is endangered. It is assumed that any U.S. conflict with Iran would lead to unrest in the southern Shia provinces in Iraq and disrupt that logistic 'line of communication'.
...
While the new Route Blue is about double as long as the red MSR Tampa, a long haul from the port of Aqaba is better than no haul at all. Especially when it carries your breakfast.

There was little confirmation for my assertions of an additional supply line when I wrote the above. The main news outlets never reported about such. Up to now that is and we only learn about the route because it involves serious corruption: Crossing Jordan: Iraq fuel deal sparks lawsuit

A little-noticed civil lawsuit in Florida is shining a light on an unusual but hugely profitable Pentagon contract to ship millions of gallons of aviation fuel to U.S. bases in Iraq through the kingdom of Jordan.
...
Although Jordan is not an oil-producing country, unlike other neighbors of Iraq such as Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, the Pentagon had insisted that fuel be brought in through Jordan.
...
The latest IOTC contract is worth $913 million over two years.

(The IOTC owner who runs the racket is, of course, a McCain supporter:

In March he hosted a $2,300-a-seat fundraiser for Sen. John McCain in Florida, according to the Palm Beach Post.

McCain's office declined to comment.

A part of that $1 overcharge per gallon goes to Republican party coffers. As usual, the Pentagon is financing the Republican party. But I digress.)

To the $38 million per month IOTC gets one has to add the millions the Sunni Awakening Councils are paid to not attack those large convois passing through their realm to the .

But money isn't everything. Even a thuggish Anbar sheik has some honor and I expect these folks  to come to some agreement with Sadr against the U.S. puppets in the Green Zone. (Lube in form of  monetary equivalents from someone (Turkey?) would certainly help the awakeniks to again change colors.)

The whole situation practically guarantees new fights. If these ensue in a united Sunni/Shia fashion, BOTH U.S. supply routes from Kuwait AND from Jordan would be in jeopardy. If the Kurds become uptidy against Turkey, as they always want to do, the limited supply line from the north will also be closed down.

If there are still sane folks in the Pentagon, they might want to think this trough before dropping bombs on Iran for sole domestic politics purpose.

Posted by b on May 28, 2008 at 18:49 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Reidar Visser is good and you right to read him, b. He was described to me last month as "nationalist" by an analyst from a think-tank. That is, he saw him as more than reasonably attached to the idea of future Iraqi unity, and the strength of Iraqi nationalism. As said analyst had spent six years in Baghdad from 1998 to 2004, it was difficult to say that he was wrong. However I do believe the analyst was wrong, in spite of his experience, and I think I know why. Before the invasion of 2003, people attached to Western embassies, as he was, generally remained within the embassy world and rarely left Baghdad (diplomats had to have a permit, applied for several days in advance), thus had little contact with wider Iraqi opinion at that time. There are other nuances, but I won't bother you with them now.

Actually I don't particularly agree that we are in a lull, and war will recommence. I could be wrong, but it seems to me to depend on the situation. Firstly, "lull" is what is presented in the media, not what is actually the case. Secondly, exhaustion is the big issue, after so many years of war. True of all sides. The Sunni resistance is certainly exhausted, which is why we don't hear much of them now. Shi'a nationalism, under al-Sadr, has not committed itself fully to war, and I am not sure that it will. The US? Evidently the US forces are tired, but there will be no change under the present administration. Personally I think that the new administration, of whatever colour, will discover horrors that will make them say, at first sight, we have to stop this. On second thoughts, they will decide to continue, but the determination will be gone. McCain, Clinton, Obama, little difference in practice.

Without the forced determination of the Bush regime, an agreement will be reached, a figleaf of US forces will remain for some years, the oil will flow onto the world market, and why should not everybody be happy?

Evidently, there are more factors (more than I can mention). One, in favour of the above, is that it is a basic historical principle that attempts to resolve economic problems by military action never work. The Nazi attempt to seize the Caucasian oil fields in 1942 is the best example. Secondly there is Israel. Israeli insistence that the Arab world be disrupted is a big factor, and won't change if Olmert is arraigned for corruption. The US will only get weaker...

Posted by: Alex | May 28 2008 21:37 utc | 1

US military attempts to reignite fighting with Mahdi Army

Good roundup of some of the recent developments.

Also of interest: Sahwa leader denies pressurizing government into rejecting IAF candidates

(snip)
Earlier, [IAF member] al-Aani told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI) that her front believes that Sahwa councils had pressured the government to include some of its members in the cabinet, which she said affected the front's quota of ministerial portfolios.
(snip)

Posted by: Alamet | May 28 2008 22:15 utc | 2

It's understandable there are those non-Iraqi people who passionately opposed to the illegal invasion of Iraq, believe the idea of "Amerikan Prez 08" being screened while the news channels are showing an amerikan meltdown in Iraq with lots of blood, bits of flesh and humans dying may be an effective way to influence the eventual outcome of the gameshow.

That would be a call to use violence to end violence. This twisted piece of logic is normally the thinking of the other side, though that is the least of the problems with it.
Looking at this notion from an Iraqi perspective, which is probably a good idea since all the way through this evil effort to colonise Iraq ,it is Iraqis who have being doing the bulk of the dying. Even a reasonably conservative estimate (3000 invaders dead against one million Iraqis murdered) puts the ratio at 300 to 1.

Iraqis have learned the hard way that no one in control in amerika gives a flying fuck how many of them kark it during the course of the Iraq heist.

If the Iraqi resistance wanted to get amerikans to flick from watching the three pretenders burble their bullshit, across to the blood and mayhem that amerikans are already bored with, then they will have to kill hundreds of invaders, which in turn means the 'collateral' (to use one of the invaders' favourite perverse, comparing death to usury, cliches) deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis.

Frankly the events in Iraq since the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad was completed, tend to suggest Iraqis have had enough of dying in vast number. For example, Moqtada al_Sadr, the leader of the largest resistance faction, has been careful to only respond to the most egregious provocations.

But a much bigger issue is, what could possibly be gained from the deaths of many thousands more Iraqis?

First, you can't push a cigarette paper between three contestants in the worlds most repulsive gameshow, when their stated position on Iraq is considered. Sure one didn't vote for the scam, but he wasn't in the senate at the time and judging from his voting on other issues, he would have voted for the illegal invasion, if had the opportunity back in 02 or 03.

All candidates have claimed to want to 'win the war on terror in Iraq'. Language straight out of "Imperialism for Dummies". They all blame Iran for something, (in reality for having the gall to have shared borders with Iraq)and promise to sort that nation's recalcitrance out when elected.


I suspect that after having the opportunity to objectively study amerika and the types of behaviours on display in earlier seasons of "amerikan prez" Iraq's real leaders have come to understand the way amerikans behave during campaigns better than many amerikans do.

Already completely over the top at the best of times, the jingoism and pseudo-patriotism, that most amerikans seem to accept as a normal state of being, goes for an exponentially huge increase during these prez campaigns.

So if Iraqis crank up the violence during the campaign, there is a strong likelihood all the prez candidates will race to outbid each other in promises to wreak vengeance upon "those who murdered our boys".
Like most other humans, Iraqis probably live in hope of better days sometime, and therefore deep down they hope that maybe one candidate is a less bloodthirsty sockpuppet of the rich than the others, and that candidate may get elected.

However outside amerika most of us know any perceived 'insult' to amerika or it's swastika equivalent would paint that candidate into a corner where he is forced to make dire promises of bloody revenge if elected. The sort of promises that he simply can't ignore later.
I can understand that amerikans may think the deaths of 100,000 more Iraqis may be good for them (the amerikans) because it would guarantee McCain's failure and the successful dem prez may hand-out a sop or two to those who supported them, eg a half-assed health system, but it could only be detrimental to Iraqis.

It's a bit much to be demanding yet another sacrifice from iraqis don'tcha think? I mean how much blood and oil should any nation have to supply those greedy fucks?

Posted by: Debs is dead | May 28 2008 22:55 utc | 3

'Reliable Deputy' Now 'Sad ... Disgruntled ... Out of Loop'
Wow! Neo's even dragged double-agent Ari Fleisher out of his AIPAC
lobbyist tax-paid day-job to run flack for the tippler, El Decider
himself conjuring misogyny of WWII out of thin air and gefilte fish!
Scottie grew some balls, and named them the traitors they are!!!
So it's not AD 1775 yet, although you wouldn't know that inside WADC!

Posted by: Runny Mede | May 29 2008 5:13 utc | 4

(snark alert) Debs wrote:

It's a bit much to be demanding yet another sacrifice from iraqis don'tcha think?
Well, yeah, I guess so -- but on the other hand one must consider the benefits of permanent War Zones, especially for the United State of Arrogance. By containing war to well-defined zones, we protect and ensure World Peace as well as our ability to continue our Arrogant Way of Life!
(end snark alert)

Mad Kane said on Memorial Day (which was intended by Congress to be a day of prayer for peace, not to pray for the troops) -- he said:

"I am running for the office of commander in chief. That is the highest privilege in this country, and it imposes the greatest responsibilities..."
Ahem, we are not choosing a president in the Quadrennial Horse Races, we are (s)electing a supreme commander of the greatest military power this poor world has ever known -- hallelujah!

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | May 29 2008 6:26 utc | 5

Thanks to b , especially for highlighting the IOTC story.
It seems remarkable that this appeared at the MSNBC site, and even
mentioned the link to McCain in the headline. It would be nice to see
some follow-up on the money recycling into Republican coffers, or similar
investigations aimed at HRC or BHO. At some point the Democratic candidate would due well to "make an issue" out of this.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | May 29 2008 7:19 utc | 6

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