Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 28, 2009

Iraq After The U.S. Retreat

In two days U.S. troops in Iraq will have left most of the cities as demanded by the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA). Back in April General Odierno sounded reluctant to follow that agreement. But as the Iraqis insisted, Odierno's tone changed. Maliki is hailing the U.S. retreat from the cities as an Iraqi victory.

Next January the Iraqi people will vote on the SOFA agreement. If they reject it, the U.S. troops will have to leave within the next 12 month. If they accept, the troops will stay at least a year longer.

Over the last weeks Iraq experienced a fresh string of bombings. These may well have been initiated by disgruntled Sunni tribes who were bought off by the U.S. during the 'surge' but have now lost that income. They want their share of the oil richness in the very corrupt state. How Maliki will handle these in the short term is difficult to know. In the end he will likely have little choice but to accommodate their demands.

More serious trouble may come up in the north. The autonomous region of Kurdish adopted a new constitution which would include the oil rich province of Kirkuk as well as Nineveh and Diyala. Baghdad certainly can not accept that. I find it difficult to see how this can be resolved in a peaceful way.

All in all Iraq is in a terrible condition and will take years to regain some sense of normality and a functioning state. Without outer interference it will be a bloody and long process. With outer interference this will also be bloody and it will take even longer.

Posted by b on June 28, 2009 at 10:41 UTC | Permalink


Thank you, Bush and Blair.

Posted by: Jim T. | Jun 28 2009 13:53 utc | 1

So the Kurds get screwed again. Saddam redux.

Posted by: dh | Jun 28 2009 15:35 utc | 2

Reidar Visser: The First Licensing Round Gets off the Ground: The Politics of Oil in Iraq

On 29 and 30 June, major international oil companies are expected in Baghdad for the “first licensing round”, where they will submit bids for 20-year technical service contracts for some of Iraq’s biggest existing oil fields (including West Qurna, Rumaila and Zubair in the Basra area, as well as Kirkuk and Bai Hassan in Tamim governorate) and gas fields in Diyala and Anbar. The awards will be announced shortly after the IOCs have presented their bids.
the reason many IOCs bother to take part in the contest for these somewhat rusty fields at all is the need to position themselves ahead of possible bilateral negotiations with Iraq for other fields as well as a second licensing round (possibly to be finalised towards the end of 2009, but more likely later) that could offer unexplored “greenfields” with greater potential for serious gains on investments. Here, the PSA debate is likely to resurface.

These positive aspects notwithstanding, resistance towards the deals is now becoming stronger in Iraq. Interestingly, much of the opposition is quite similar to that which transpired earlier concerning the PSA concept: The lack of national Iraqi control, and the scale of sudden foreign involvement in the country’s oil sector.
To a request by the Kurdish-dominated provincial leadership in Kirkuk to be consulted with regard to the prospective contracts affecting the Kirkuk area, Asim Jihad, the ministry spokesman commented, “We welcome the comments and point of views from any affected party precisely because it is the goal of the ministry to preserve the higher national interest and put it above any narrow and particularistic interests.” Or, in plain English, the oil ministry would be delighted to receive a statement of the grievances of the Kirkuk provincial government in order that their concerns can be immediately shelved, utterly ignored and entirely subordinated to the ministry’s own plans.
Many question whether Iraq, with some of the world’s biggest energy reserves, should really have to resort to what some observers describe as a panic-induced stop-gap measures for the Iraqi economy. Is it not the case that the IOCs will always be interested in Iraq given the size of its reserves, and that in a worst-case scenario globalising state oil companies from China to Brazil would be perfectly happy to step in to do technical-service work should the oil majors become exasperated? These are themes from the current Iraqi debate that could become a lot more pronounced as the 2010 parliamentary elections come closer and Iraqi political parties begin their attempts to make capital of the rising nationalist trend that was highlighted in the January local elections.

Posted by: b | Jun 28 2009 16:05 utc | 3

Over the last weeks Iraq experienced a fresh string of bombings. These may well have been initiated by:

1. zionists, i.e. isrealis who do not want the Occupiers to leave Irak.

2. amerikan provacateurs

3. amerikan military industrial mercenaries

Posted by: DFH | Jun 28 2009 19:02 utc | 4

Leaving Iraq

What will happen when USA Occupatio troops withdraw?

The objective of the savage suicide bombings in the last couple of weeks, Anthony Shadid reports, is to demonstrate that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki does not really run the country, that he's a mere stooge of the Americans, that he and his security forces cannot protect the Iraqi people on their own—and that, therefore, his regime is illegitimate and should be overthrown.

Maliki fully understands the scope of this threat and has responded to it directly, hailing the impending withdrawal of US troops as a victory for Iraq—his Iraq—a demonstration that he has achieved true sovereignty, that he can provide security, and that he is not a puppet of foreign occupiers after all.

The stakes are high, precisely because the fight, from this point on, is his, not ours. This, too, is by Maliki's own choice. He has even decided to put the question of America's withdrawal to a popular referendum—knowing that Iraqi voters will approve it by a wide margin.


Who knows what will happen over the next 18 months as the US military steadily lowers its profile to the vanishing point. Iraq might erupt in civil war, or Maliki ( or someone else ) might manage to clench and hammer an iron fist. ( The least likely scenario is the Bush / neocon dream of a Western-style democracy taking hold along the Euphrates and spreading like wildfire across the Middle East. )

Either way, formally and practically, it's out of the USA's control.

Posted by: DFH | Jun 28 2009 20:06 utc | 5

Yep, and Israel pulled out of Gaza when Sharon was in power.

Worse, he’s not grilled about the widely reported fact that despite this symbolic pullout of U.S forces by June 30, Americans will be stationed instead right outside the borders, and in some cases, like Mosul and Basra, too, troops will continue to operate within city limits. Lots of smoke and mirrors. A few clicks of mouse will tell you that, but the they must think we are all too distracted and fatigued with Iraq to care anymore. When will it register that leaving US 130,000 troops and 36,000 American contractors in-country does not equate to a massive “withdrawal?”

Odierno Spins the Morning Talk Shows

Posted by: Sam | Jun 29 2009 1:59 utc | 6

It is really astounding to me the difference in Iraq between a year ago and now. A year ago, on 26th June, I think it was, the Bush conditions for the SOFA were published, under which Iraq would be permanently occupied and an eternal vassal. (On a personal note, it was in early July when I started commenting here and on other blogs that Maliki was not going to sign; it was the only weapon against the US that he had. Though everybody said at that time that Maliki, lapdog, would sign anything).

What a difference today, tomorrow US troops are leaving the cities, and have promised to leave the country entirely (on which you may be sceptical, as Sam@6, though I don't think that's right). The atmosphere has completely changed; all the US ambitions have disappeared like a puff of smoke. Nobody's interested in Iraq any more. That massive US embassy in the Green Zone may well be completely useless.

This is not some kind of bizarre accident, a momentary interruption in the advance of Amerikan Imperium. It was rather a sustained political offensive by Maliki, to get rid of the United States. Getting rid of the US could not be done militarily, so had to be done politically. So far, this offensive has succeeded all down the line. Maliki understands his country much better than the US has done. There was one weapon and he used it. He was helped by the fact that the US failed to recognise what he was doing, until nearly the signing of the SOFA in November.

I am not particularly a supporter of Maliki; I just have to recognise he has made a big coup.

I would write more, but I'm still grading papers.

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 29 2009 4:26 utc | 7

Who knows what will happen over the next 18 months as the US military steadily lowers its profile to the vanishing point.

There are still many in the military who are intent on extending the occupation in some form or another.

And don't forget that big-ass embassy and the "military advisors" that are going to stay on --

to say nothing of Blackwater/Xe.

And that John Negroponte ran the black-ops there for about two years.

The US still has some tricks up its sleeves. I doubt it won't be anything we haven't seen before, but a well-placed bomb that leads to Maliki's death, then an outbreak of fierce civil war, could well bring a substantial force back in to that embassy to "protect the Sunni minorities", or some other such justification.

With civil war, the US would only need to supply weapons and logistics.

At least partial withdrawal is necessary, though, because the US needs to be able to tell its allies it's done everything it can to pull out.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 29 2009 6:59 utc | 8

Iraq is preparing for a giant party in a Baghdad park and a special holiday as US troops approach their deadline to quit cities and towns.

American troops are due to withdraw to bases by Tuesday, which has been declared National Sovereignty Day and is a public holiday in Iraq.

The party is to begin shortly in Baghdad's Zawra Park, with poets and musicians due to entertain the crowd.

Baghdad set for US pullback party

Quite right too.

I'd include a picture of the balloons too if I could.

Posted by: alex_no | Jun 29 2009 14:44 utc | 9

It is really astounding to me the difference in Iraq between a year ago ....What a difference today....The atmosphere has completely changed; all the US ambitions have disappeared like a puff of smoke. ...

do tell.

lowers its profile to the vanishing point.

sorry, this sounds to me as if the 'profile' is what really matters. it isn't. there are only so many ways you can erase the presence of a 130,000 (private militias not included) man occupying power. feel good news stories about the (puppet) government holding celebrations about the 'disappearing act' are one of them. a profile (framing, narrative) is merely the way the light shines on an object ie how it appears. in the light of day (or at night one could just turn on the overhead) if you walk to a different angle, the full face view is still there.

it was in early July when I started commenting here

under what name?

Posted by: annie | Jun 29 2009 15:55 utc | 10

under what name?

Yeah, it's true I added _no to my handle because there were getting to be too many Alex's, and I failed to announce it.

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 29 2009 17:07 utc | 11

Alex_no # 7:

The atmosphere has completely changed; all the US ambitions have disappeared like a puff of smoke.

What you been smoking Alex? This is hilarious. What about the oil Alex?

It was rather a sustained political offensive by Maliki, to get rid of the United States.

If it wasn't for the United States Maliki would be hanging from a lampost in Baghdad.

Posted by: sAM | Jun 29 2009 19:19 utc | 12

@annie - Sam - I agree with Alex, "-no" or not, that the political atmosphere in Iraq seems to have changed a lot.

Think about it. A year ago we all thought the U.S. would screw the Iraqis with the SOFA. What Maliki ended up with was much different than I (and Alex) expected. Bush - at least in the written contractual thing - gave up on a lot of issues. I was quite astonished when that happened and wrote about it still doubting it. But the political and military retreat seems to have become real.

For the Iraqis the situation may indeed become worse now. The inner conflicts are not solved and resolving them will likely be bloody. Still the issue changed with the U.S. now more out of the picture. The somewhat inevitable inner conflict will now take over as a new balance will have to be found.

In that big picture the atmosphere really changed.

Posted by: b | Jun 29 2009 19:55 utc | 13

do tell.

Ok, I've been tempted from my grading. 72 papers saying the same about the origins of the mosque are too much. There are things about Iraq I want to get off my chest, even if no-one wants to read them.

all the US ambitions have disappeared like a puff of smoke

My basic position has not changed since last July-August, though it underwent a certain development at that time, chez Badger, chez JWN and here. Maliki has essentially put an ultimatum to the US: either get out, or maintain a full military occupation of an unwilling people for ever. This point of view was of course rubbished by people like Don Bacon, who said there are other options (I still don't know what). At first, US officials and military just laughed: how can Iraq dictate to us? But towards November, Ryan Crocker, a rare ambassador experienced in the Middle East, must have succeeded in convincing Bush that it is a serious question. And so they signed essentially the Iraqi conditions. Still all the Americans laughed: no way we're going to conform to what these numbskulls are demanding. Comes Obama; he wants to fight his war in Afghanistan, finds nothing much to be achieved in Iraq, and has financial problems: so he confirms the agreement. This time it's a military revolt - Odierno makes remarks about continuing the occupation. Old soldiers support him. Obama slaps him down. So we are where we are now: the US forces are withdrawing from the cities, as according to the agreement. The US military are still laughing, as are commenters on this blog. The military are leaving their checkpoints saying 'we'll be back in a couple of weeks, you can't cope'.

I wouldn't bet on it. The basic spectre of the ultimatum is still there, and it's credible. Maliki wasn't playing a game. What he has demanded is almost universally supported in Iraq (except in Kurdistan). The unusual aspect of Maliki's policy is that he presented the choice in such black and white terms: agree or get out.

Of course, at the end of the year, elections are coming up, and Maliki might lose and be replaced by another possibly more susceptible to US persuasion (though he himself was thought to be a lapdog), or be assassinated in the meantime. Evidently we don't know now what the consequences of such events might be (nor do I know who might be a replacement). However I do believe Maliki has succeeded in setting the agenda. For a successor to say 'no, no, no, we want the US to stay', and to draw back, is unlikely to play well in Iraq. In a couple of months the successor would be turning round and continuing Maliki's policies. Perhaps the survival of a vestigial US force, I've always admitted that possibility.

As for 'US ambitions disappearing like a puff of smoke', what has been achieved by the expense of nearly a trillion dollars, if that is the correct figure? Nothing. What will be achieved in the future? Nothing. The US is in a logical clinch which it can't get out of, thanks to Maliki's policy.

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 29 2009 20:55 utc | 14


in my brutal word. u s imperialism has been defeated in iraq but i will not believe that until the last american base is gone, the embassy is burnt to the ground or transformed into an closed market & the hydrocarbon laws benefiting the people of iraq & not the conquerers & ttheur allies

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 29 2009 21:08 utc | 15

well, thanks for your response (and an answer to the name switch). i am still extremely sceptical but open to persuasion.

while the 'atmosphere' on the street in iraq might feel changed (there are still lots of bombings tho) and the site of patrolling US troops thruout the country might not be there, the troops still are. the country is still occupied. without the /US presence i don't know if maliki would even be in power (although getting rid of the trops would certainly boost his prospects i would imagine).

i agree the future will probably be bloody wrt 'inner conflicts' but w/a 130,000 plus force ready for the government on call i have doubts about how much control maliki has it is was my recollection it was the parliament that forced maliki/US hand to not accept the MOU/sofa in all its previous glory.

regarding all the US ambitions having disappeared like a puff of smoke i have little doubt many people still hold those same ambitions.

Strategic Framework Agreement

In addition to the SOFA, the Bush administration negotiated a so-called strategic framework agreement with Baghdad, defining relations on economy, culture, science, technology, health and trade. Experts questioned the secretive way this agreement was hashed out by Iraqi and U.S. officials, and disagreed on what the final accord would contain. But administration officials maintained the framework would broadly address issues outlined in the November 2007 agreement between Bush and Maliki. Political and economic items make up the bulk of the strategic framework, including vows to promote regional peace; encourage cultural, education, and scientific exchanges; and promote greater direct foreign investment. Wedgwood, of Johns Hopkins University, says the Iraq framework appears to be a reiteration of the framework the United States signed with Afghanistan in 2005. Among the most contentious issues on the Iraq strategic framework was whether its principles would be binding, or if it would indefinitely commit Washington to defending Iraqi sovereignty. But on that front Wedgwood sees a clear line. "I do not believe that in the strategic framework there will be a legally binding promise to come to the aid of Iraq," she said in an interview with

it is the promote greater direct foreign investment part..iffy if that's off the table if you ask me.

one thing i really notice it how there are fewer reports from iraq. 1 bombing here, a bombing there, but i get the feeling we are not supposed to be thinking about it by the way it has dropped of the news cycle. last month 25 american military deaths and basically the same casualty count as last year at this time (may, june figures aren't out yet). i have no idea how many iraqi deaths. i am hopeful we will really leave at the end of 2011.

Posted by: annie | Jun 29 2009 21:24 utc | 16

On other matters, as of course Iraqi politics is more complicated than simply the pro- or anti-US issue.

The pundits (Marc Lynch, Peter Parker, Abu Muqawama, even Reidar Visser, whom I'm a great supporter of) have been talking for a year now about power contests within Iraq. I have no doubt that it is true. What do you expect? After all that has happened, do you expect Iraqi politics to be nice and gentlemanly? Apart from Visser, who I suspect has been over-persuaded, these pundits have maintained that the power contest in Iraq is the most important thing, a game between Group A in power, and Group B out of power. That argument has been much followed in the published commentaries. It is curious that all of these people, with the exception of Visser, have made US-sponsored visits to Iraq, with no doubt US military helicopter visits to the provinces, and no doubt they passed through the sumptuously-equipped seminar rooms of the US embassy for briefings. And in the end they come out saying that the Iraqis are obsessed with internal contest, the US-Iraqi relationship is not mentioned. It's quite Orientalist, as defined by Edward Sa'id: orientals are silly and capricious. Funnily enough, Maliki is still there. Now we accuse him of dictatorship, no doubt the oriental potentate who makes capricious decisions. Maliki is described as getting out of his baby-walker too early.

I don't know. To look at him he is not an ambitious man. I read an interview with him a couple of years ago, where he talked about doing his duty to Iraq, and preferring to step down. I don't believe that. With the success of his policies, no doubt he has acquired the taste of power, but he will never be a Saddam.

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 29 2009 22:20 utc | 17

Lastly, the present bombing campaign, and the possibility of continued instability in Iraq.

Last November, just before the signature of the SOFA, there was a big bombing campaign in Baghdad. Some of us, including me, thought it might be the US attempting to derail the signature of the SOFA, the conditions of which were certainly unsatisfactory to the US. The least that one could say was that it was an attempt to derail the SOFA, by persons unknown.

Now again, before the withdrawal of US troops from the cities, we have another bombing campaign, quite probably also intended to derail the event. Very similar. It is difficult to attribute this one to the US, as there is little interest. This time, we would have to imagine a splinter faction of the military, who are working against Obama, not impossible, but not likely either.

So who else has interests to derail the SOFA? Cole says al-Qa'ida/Ba'thists, without evidence. Cole is a Shi'a specialist and prejudiced anti-Sunni. The argument added elsewhere is that it is the Sahwa (Awakening) kids, no longer being paid by the US, who are getting their revenge on the Shi'a, though Sadr City is hardly Maliki-centre. Much as I regret to say it, as I have been in the past the sole Western defender of the Iraqi Sunnis, the Sunni revolt was flattened by the US campaigns in Falluja and Haditha. There was very little back country, nowhere to retreat, as there would have been in Vietnam. The kids had nothing left but to join the Sahwa, and there they were photographed and biometric details taken. Not much chance to take part in new events.

So who else might lose? Well, surprise, surprise, the Kurds. What is their reaction going to be to the withdrawal of the US from Iraq? I wouldn't like to be in their position if the US withdraws. The Kurds have made a big play these last years to make a land grab in northern Iraq. Everything down to a circle round Mosul was to be included in Kurdistan, never mind who lived there. But things haven't quite worked out. Even Kirkuk and the oil-fields haven't been secured, in spite of the import of large numbers of Kurds to shift the population balance. If I were a Kurd today, I'd be feeling nervous. Maliki is not about to give way on Kirkuk. Better to destabilise Iraq, which the Kurds don't believe is a real country anyway.

You won't be surprised to discover that it's my view that it's the Kurds who are bombing to discourage the US from withdrawing. Although I did think it was the US in November, I now think the similarity of the two campaigns suggests that the two campaigns have the same origin.

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 30 2009 0:06 utc | 18

there are paranthetic similarities with the end of french colonial control where in the last months the oas & certain elements in the french army did their best - the most horrific - to maintain french control - but the algerian people & the french people decided otherwise

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 30 2009 0:29 utc | 19

b @ 13:

@annie - Sam - I agree with Alex, "-no" or not, that the political atmosphere in Iraq seems to have changed a lot.

I never said the political atmosphere in Iraq hasn't changed hell they pumped so mush propaganda into that country they even got the Sunni Insurgency turned against itself. I ribbed Alex on his assertion that US policy has changed. It's just another tactic. Until Iraq signs on the oiled line nothing really changes. I've heard all these platitudes before for over half a century in Palestine and nothing really changed there either except the atmoshhere in Palestine.

Nothing personifies Iraq more than that reporter that threw his shoe at Bush and was subsuquently beaten arrestted and jailed by Iraqi collaboraters. Nothing irritates me more than Alex praising the likes of Maliki who presides over the genocide of his own people via a foreign occupation. I don't look at it from an Iraqi perspective for how can I when I've never even been there. But I will tell you that if it was the other way around and Arabs were over here and occupying my country I would be a terrorist and I would want to kill every last one of them. Judging by the death toll for US forces this feeling still pervades Iraq. Changing it to okay Ahmed you go out their and suppress the rebellion and we'll back you isn't really change in my books.

Posted by: Sam | Jun 30 2009 1:21 utc | 20

Much as I regret to say it, as I have been in the past the sole Western defender of the Iraqi Sunnis, the Sunni revolt was flattened by the US campaigns in Falluja and Haditha.

oh now, not the sole one. they ethnically cleansed iraq, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that. lots of us were rooting for the resistance.

Maliki is not about to give way on Kirkuk.

wrt #18, this fairly describes my take on things too, and don't forget turkey. i believe i have posted here during the mosul crisises (remember the AQ is in mosul phase w/the long drawn out soon to be flushing them out etc) that baghdad and turkey were never going to be down w/kirkuk as part of kurdistan. this latest move within the kurdish constitution (or whatever it was they declared last week) is a dead wringer for trouble. obviously someone is in the know as to who is carrying out these bombings we just aren't being privy to the info. a showdown in the making, a down payment on a head ache, call it what you will. there is no way it is going to fly w/turkey. ever.

It is curious that all of these people, with the exception of Visser, have made US-sponsored visits to Iraq, with no doubt US military helicopter visits to the provinces, and no doubt they passed through the sumptuously-equipped seminar rooms of the US embassy for briefings. And in the end they come out saying that the Iraqis are obsessed with internal contest, the US-Iraqi relationship is not mentioned.

do any of these people speak arabic? just because nobodies talking doesn't mean there's silence. my guess is maliki is watching out for his ass as he knows perfectly well what happened to puppets in the past. iraq doesn't take kindly to turncoats. he probably doesn't want his disengaged head run thru the streets on the end of a spike.

Posted by: annie | Jun 30 2009 3:57 utc | 21

What I want to know is if the surge was so successful why is there still the same number of troops in Iraq as before the surge. Meanwhile:

Despite Tuesday's formal pullback, some U.S. troops will remain in the cities to train and advise Iraqi forces. U.S. troops will return to the cities only if asked. The U.S. military will continue combat operations in rural areas and near the border, but only with the Iraqi government's permission.

The U.S. has not said how many troops will be in the cities in advisory roles, but the vast majority of the more than 130,000 U.S. forces remaining in the country will be in large bases scattered outside cities.

They will still be in the cities and still performing combat operations

Providing security in the wake of the U.S. departure and continuing to rebuild the nation's shattered infrastructure will be two of the most immediate challenges that the young Iraqi democracy will face. In central Baghdad, meanwhile, withdrawing U.S. forces are dismantling iconic concrete blast walls that once separated warring neighborhoods. Removal of the barriers, which were intended as a temporary security measure, is a hopeful sign. But should violence flare up, they can be put back as quickly as they were taken down.

They will still call the shots

In any case, the U.S. base in Kirkuk isn't moving — the Iraqi government has agreed that it is officially outside of Kirkuk, though it borders the town.

And they will still have the cooperation of the government

Change you can believe in?

Posted by: Sam | Jun 30 2009 4:30 utc | 22

Yes, Sam.

I think there are forces in the US government working hard as hell to implement a client-patron relationship with Iraq the same way they once did in Central America.

The US has been gradually encircling Venezuela with large increases in the military bases that surround it; they've reinstated the S. American/Caribbean fleet (6th? 7th?); Plan Colombia is still hotly under way; the NED has entrenched its hold over Haiti and is looking for its next victim. Meanwhile, the people its toadies rule are left to eat mud.

As soon as those forces in the US can, they will turn their attention to Central and South America and attempt to recreate the 80's. Venezuela is in the crosshairs. I don't think they'll succeed -- and i really don't think they'll succeed in Iraq, either -- but i'm sure the PNAC/Neocon/Cheney/Bush/Halliburton junta still has the resources and determination to keep trying, using the same methods they always have.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 30 2009 6:37 utc | 23

oh now, not the sole one. they ethnically cleansed iraq, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that. lots of us were rooting for the resistance.

You didn't read what I wrote, annie, I said "Iraqi Sunnis", not the resistance in general. I was talking about what happened to the Sunni community, the supposed criminals who gave birth to Saddam, and thus merited no attention. They haven't had many defenders as such. Cole batted for the Shi'a, Visser too.

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 30 2009 7:00 utc | 24

I think annie's point, alex_no, was that she and others here were aware of the media silence on the Sunni situation, and despite the prejudice against them, still held hope for them in their hearts as they faced off against what was clearly a campaign of ethnic cleansing --

and probably supported them in their posts here, too, though i wouldn't know.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 30 2009 8:11 utc | 25

Interesting discussion, and Alex's assessments (on the SOFA) from last year have so far held tight. And would acknowledge (credit due) that Alex was, last year, a somewhat lonely voice in the wilderness in defense of what Maliki was up to. My own take was in agreement but with Maliki threading a needle co-opting the Sadr movement (I still think they have a secret alliance) and dissing the SIIC to conflate a general Shia Populist/nationalist dependent on himself as mediator and possible strongman de jour.
I actually think the conformation of troops out of the cities could very well spell the end of the U.S. occupation, because once they stop actively patrolling they will progressively be cut out of the experiential tactical/intelligence loop. They will tire quickly of being called out to do the ISF's dirty sectarian work without any tangible (self serving) benefit. And it just so happens that Obama can then lay claim on ending the Iraq war as promised and blame the entire endgame on the bush administrations capitulation on the SOFA agreement signed before he took office. I think this one ends with a whimper, the U.S. being progressively checkmated into irrelevancy via the disconnect between the publicly asserted liberal objectives and the geo-strategic undergame. To which the Iraqi's have played a brilliant hand.

Not that there was ever a chance in hell that this thing could have ever worked out as planned.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 30 2009 8:48 utc | 26

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Four U.S. soldiers died in Iraq on Monday from combat-related injuries, the U.S. military said in a statement on Tuesday.


Posted by: Sam | Jun 30 2009 9:37 utc | 27">kirkuk:Bomb kills 25 in Iraq as U.S. troops leave

sam, interesting the reference to the US not leaving kirkuk and their base being right outside the town. US general in Iraq will not say how many troops remain

The Status of Forces Agreement, which set the pullback deadline, says US commanders must seek permission from Iraqi authorities to conduct operations, but American troops retain a unilateral right to "legitimate self-defense.",/b>

IOW, they can 'defend themselves' w/o permission no doubt. just like you now who is always in the defensive mode against those evil terrorists of gaza.

alex, i knew who you were talking about. i am well aware when we heard about sunnis in the first few years the term 'insurgents' usually prefaced their names. i know about the propaganda that tried to morph them into AQ. i know about the truck loads rounded up , jailed whole neighborhoods of them after the initial invasion. i know about the house to house round ups and death squads and the salvadoran option rummy says sunnis weren't 'paying a price'. i know about blaming them on the samara mosque blow up and i also know my sympathies have never wavered. had you been around moon since the beginning you would have known you weren't alone as a sole western supporter and i am not speaking of just myself in this community.

be well.

Posted by: annie | Jun 30 2009 17:52 utc | 28


Posted by: annie | Jun 30 2009 17:52 utc | 29

annie @ 28:

IOW, they can 'defend themselves' w/o permission no doubt. just like you now who is always in the defensive mode against those evil terrorists of gaza.

Not sure how to read this sentance annie. Should the "now" be Know? Could you clear up my confusion please? and thank you.

Posted by: Sam | Jun 30 2009 19:56 utc | 30

annie, I am not going to argue with you, on a worthless point. If you say I'm wrong, I'm wrong.

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 30 2009 20:38 utc | 31

sam, yes i meant 'you know who'. the way they are always having the excuse of 'reacting' to violence.

my point wasn't to say you were wrong alex. let's not end on a bad note. i'm a big fan of layla anwar, ladybird and truthaboutiraqis (bloggers). i also hang out on some iraqi blogs and i know where my sentiment has always been, for the most part nationalist which includes lots of baathist. i think you would be hard pressed to find any posts from me criticizing them and there's lots of archives here. maybe i just never said it outright. i don't think they were perfect by any means but a vast improvement over anyone else running the country imho.

Posted by: annie | Jun 30 2009 22:12 utc | 32

The comments to this entry are closed.