Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 31, 2011

NYT Pro-Iraqiya Propaganda

Jack Healy and Michael R. Gorden write a NYT hagiography of Iraq's finance minister Rafe al-Essawi: A Moderate Official at Risk in a Fracturing Iraq. al-Essawi  is a Sunni from Fallujah, a member of the Iraqiya coalition and one of the ministers currently boycotting cabinet meetings.

RAFE AL-ESSAWI is the man in charge of Iraq’s finances, a moderate Sunni doctor who greets his guests and denounces his foes in practiced English. He may also be the next leader to fall as the country’s Shiite prime minister takes aim at perceived rivals and enemies, his fate a litmus test for a country in crisis.
Unlike other Sunni politicians who have drawn fire from the Shiite-led government, Mr. Essawi is known as a conciliatory figure who has built bridges with Kurds, Shiites and Westerners.

The laudatory piece misses a fact that lets one question the last sentence. Only three days ago al-Essawi together with (former?) CIA-agent Ayad Allawi published an OpEd in the New York Times in which they called for U.S. intervention against the prime minister.

The United States must make clear that a power-sharing government is the only viable option for Iraq and that American support for Mr. Maliki is conditional on his fulfilling the Erbil agreement and dissolving the unconstitutional entities through which he now rules.
[A]s Iraq once again teeters on the brink, we respectfully ask America’s leaders to understand that unconditional support for Mr. Maliki is pushing Iraq down the path to civil war.

Unless America acts rapidly to help create a successful unity government, Iraq is doomed.

On wonders why the fact of the threat Essawi and Allawi issued in that OpEd is left out of today's portrait. May that be because a partisan calling for outside intervention against the elected government is hardly consistent with the portrait of a conciliatory figure?

It seems that the New York Times and Michael Gordon are not happy with the results of the war they worked so hard to start against the Iraqi people and now push for its continuation by other means.

Posted by b on December 31, 2011 at 02:12 AM | Permalink


Unless America acts rapidly? That's rich. How did this guy Essawi even get a key job when Iranians have many positions in the Iraq government that they own?

They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know, I know that it's true
Don't say that this is the end
Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again
-- Neil Sedaka, artist

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31, 2011 2:44:49 AM | 1

The War Nerd: Who Won Iraq? Answer: Anyone Who Stayed Out US Sending Iraq $11 Billion in Arms, Despite Maliki’s Turn Towards Dictatorship

[...]In September, Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr issued a statement accusing Maliki of “building a new dictatorship.” That same month, Iraq’s head of the Integrity Commission Raheem Uqaili resigned and wrote an open letter accusing the Maliki regime of unutterable corruption and power grabs. Just this month, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq warned in a CNN interview that Maliki is “going towards dictatorship.” Less than a week later Maliki ordered Iraq’s Sunni Vice President Tareq al Hashemi detained on trumped up terrorism charges, in a broader plan to marginalize Sunni authorities in government. Finally, former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi co-authored article in the New York Times this week, along with fellow Iraqiya members Osama al-Nujaifi (Iraq’s parliament speaker) and Finance Minister Rafe al-Essawi, warning that Maliki is taking the nation down the path of “sectarian autocracy.”

In light of this, should we be surprised that Washington continues to send Iraq billions of dollars in aid and billions more in military weaponry? No, I don’t think so. In a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, US envoy Ryan Crocker noted in 2009 that Maliki’s turn towards more centralized rule is “in US interest.” [...]

Posted by: Juan Moment | Dec 31, 2011 3:10:45 AM | 2

Look for Iran to broker a settlement to the current crisis.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 31, 2011 4:52:11 AM | 3

yep, anna missed, and that presumably is why this crisis occurs.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 31, 2011 7:47:21 AM | 4

Quite pertinent what the angry arab says:

Iyad Allawi (the former puppet prime minister/car bomber/embezzler-in-Yemen/Saddam's henchman) had an article in the New York Times. What he says in the US (about the US) is diametrically opposed to what he says in Arabic where he now (in his criticisms of US occupation) sounds like a resistance fighter against US occupation. In English he begs the US to stay: in Arabic, he blames all problems on the US occupation.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 31, 2011 10:05:45 AM | 5

The wackos couldn't fathom that creating chaos in Iraq would empower the Shia who are friends with the Iranians.And now they are reaching into their bag of tricks to re empower the
Sunnis,and look out Iraq,your dead are about to be increased,as the real radical monsters never sleep,and look to destablilize their self made enemies,and suck up more of our treasure in this Ziowacko enterprise.
And there is only one solution,people,Dr.Ron Paul and the exile of all these traitors from our government,and we will at last breathe free and easy.
It's up to you!

Posted by: dahoit | Dec 31, 2011 10:24:33 AM | 6

Operation Iraqi Freedom was not only a failure of concept but also of execution and now Iraqis are celebrating the US withdrawal.

news report:
Thousands of Iraqis gathered in the capital Baghdad on Friday to celebrate the withdrawal of US troops from the country after nearly nine years of military involvement. Led by clergy, they chanted slogans against the "occupation" that started in 2003 and called the pullout earlier this month a "day of liberation and evacuation."

Why? Perhaps Iraqis are saying "tanks for the memories" (okay, I'm reaching) as seen here, here and here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31, 2011 12:18:45 PM | 7

Nice videos, Don.

Iraq is, as Don says, a real defeat for the US. None of the long term objectives were achieved, whatever they might have been. And the cost was enormous, at least financial, in relation to the results achieved.

The US now has very little influence in Iraq, which is the pertinent point for this thread. It no longer matters what is said in the NYT.

Well, perhaps I was wrong. There is one issue where the US succeeded very well, following Israeli interests: Iraq is now a mess, unlikely to reunite for some time, and pose a problem to Israel. Divide and rule. The Samarra bombing worked very well. Very likely an American production. The modus operandi was totally different from anything al-Qa'ida has done before or since. (If I could add footnotes, I would explain in detail).

Maliki has turned out to be easy to spark on sectarian issues. He reacts in an irrational way. Accusing the Syrians of supporting bombings (before the present events in Syria), and now chasing Tariq al-Hashimi, the Sunni vice-president, for crimes he is unlikely to have committed, or at least to have done no worse than others have done. I doubt that it is a question of influence from Tehran.

Maliki is not alone. On the Sunni side, King Abdullah of Jordan, the Saudis, and the whole Gulf, particularly Bahrain, are thoroughly infected with fears of the Shi'a.

In that sense, US policy has succeeded. Not a very admirable policy, and who knows whether it was intended?

Posted by: alexno | Dec 31, 2011 3:41:07 PM | 8

Glad you enjoyed the videos, some evidence of why the "liberated" Iraqis wanted the US military our of their cities. Regarding Samarra I have a bunch of stuff too. If you'd like to share, click on my name above and look for the email way down in the lower left, and I'd send my notes in return. Or perhaps they're the same, who knows. One of the more poignant episodes of that sordid affair which changed everything in Iraq --

Hoping to find answers and interview residents of Sammara, the Al-Arabiya news network dispatched three of its journalists, including former Aljazeera reporter Atwar Bahjat, herself a native of the ancient city. Sources in Iraq say she was interviewing residents when a truck full of unknown armed men abducted her as she screamed for help. Bahjat, 30, of mixed Sunni-Shia heritage, was found executed outside Sammara, along with her cameraman and sound technician. Her field equipment and video were missing.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31, 2011 3:58:46 PM | 9

You will notice that Pat Lang runs Silverman's plaint and tells commentor annamissed that the US effectively sold out the S o I and allowed the neocons to do a Shia religious dominant policy.

Silverman himself says

"....the Bush (43) Administration committed strategic malpractice by failing to allow our senior personnel on the ground in 2008 to work on civil society reforms and societal reconciliation and by instead pursuing provincial elections that were unnecessary at the time (their fetish over elections=democracy) and a ridiculously outsize SOFA agreement all within their ongoing misunderstanding of Iraq, its people, its society, and its politics Operation Iraq Freedom could not become anything but a strategic failure."

Some wisdom here yet does b really believe it is anything more than imperialist presumption at best that American senior personnel could have successfully helped Iraqis reform and reconcile their civil society?

Having been banned from comment, I mailed Col Lang with the inquiry, what made the Sunnis who abandoned the insurgency believe they would NOT ultimately be betrayed by the US, what with its established record of WMD deceit and the abandonment of the Shia in the Persian Gulf War by Bush the father?

Posted by: Ken Hoop | Dec 31, 2011 4:05:39 PM | 10

Hey, I was banned by pl too so screw him and his attempted book sales. I won't notice anything he posts. People like him who are against free speech are lousy examples of Americans who are supposed to be due First Amendment rights. He's probably just a Kentucky Colonel anyhow.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31, 2011 4:17:54 PM | 11

Not to be presumptuous here but, it been PL's long standing opinion that the war in Iraq was predicated primarily on the naive and seriously dubious notion that the Iraqi's would welcome the U.S. intervention, adopt whole cloth a western style democracy, late capitalist privatized economic order, and a neo-liberal modernist social order - as opposed to seeing the invasion as rationalized by the above as a cover for exploiting/stealing their resources and using the country as a neo-colony lily pad from which to physically project U.S. power. Seeing that this (the former explanation) is pretty much how it turned out, he'd be more right than wrong.

There's quite a bit of information indicating that an Awakening/Sons of Iraq was advocated by both the U.S. troops and Sunni tribal shiekhs before the civil war erupted. It was rejected by the U.S. until the civil war was over, Baghdad ethnically cleansed, and 4 million (Sunni majority) sent fleeing the country. At that point what was left of the insurgency was willing to make a deal with the U.S. in exchange for rolling up al-Queda in Iraq - which they proceeded to accomplish with little fanfare, or reward. Unfortunately for them, this apparent capitulation was apparently seen as a sign of weakness (by Maliki) and telegraphed to the Shiite government that they could effectively be ignored. And they were - through Maliki's refusal to integrate them (in substantial numbers) or even to continue the U.S. program of paying for their services in civil security police work.
Or in other words, they didn't have many options left not to work out a deal with the U.S.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 1, 2012 12:56:12 AM | 12

Who won the war?

The military, the security industrial complex, the contractors, the takers and criminals on the ground, drug producers (refiners, shippers, sellers, etc.), the hangers-on, the low-life, many local potentates (insecurity and disruption works for them as well), the builders (re-construction paid for but never done), the sadists and scammers (killers, rapists, thieves), some US bodies, incl. women lib’s graspers, a few war-bloggers, wannabe beauty queens, nieces and nephews of the like of Wolfowitz, sent out as clueless envoys.

In a small measure, perhaps, Iraqi Kurds. And some countries that benefit from the destruction of Iraqi agri / trade, such as Australia (wheat.) US citizens? No.

And Iran, as pointed out above. Iran.

Who lost the war?

The people who lost - several million Iraqis - did not fight. So the term is meaningless.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 1, 2012 10:14:37 AM | 13

Some interesting stuff from Roads to Iraq (& other places), indicating that Maliki's recent machinations might yet work. The understory might read as Maliki has gotten a chisel into his rival Iraqiya party's weak spot and is applying leverage that may split the party into fragments. Apparently there has been a growing dissatisfaction with al-Allawi's leadership and many are explicitly calling for his resignation, which will shatter the party (and its effectiveness) into smaller disconnected pieces.
This would bode well for Maliki's Shiite centric consolidation initiative.

link -

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 1, 2012 11:10:21 PM | 14

Here are Nazemroaya's suspicions on ALL of the current US-NATO backed ME/NA destabilisation plots.

The American-Iran Cold War in the Middle East and the Threat of Broader War

It finishes with MDN stating, unambiguously, that China won't hesitate to back Iran with blood if it is attacked by Base & Bunker Land and friends.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 2, 2012 10:37:17 AM | 15

Talking about Base & Bunker Land, I couldn't resist this...
It's a large-scale graphical representation of the United States of (global) Military Bases from Canada's (pro-Zionist) NatPo. It includes stats, factoids and bar-charts.

To a pessimist it looks like a dominating octopus, but to an optimist it looks like an indefensible SNAFU. The US is fond of reminding us that it has as much military hardware as every other country on Earth combined. However, the subject of why they lose so many of the fake wars they perpetrate on pissant, lo-tech military nonentities, is hardly ever talked about by the Pentagoons.

The obvious reasons are that
they're spread too thin
the hardware is irrelevant to victory
and they're more concerned with creating illusions (and wishing they could have won WWII on their own) than learning something about combat discipline.

In the event of hostilities breaking out with a competent foe, with global clout, about half of these bases would be more of a strategic, supply-chain, and self-defense liability, than a combat asset, and would have to be sacrificed/abandoned.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 2, 2012 10:50:42 AM | 16

Hoarsewhisper might like that there were some LIHOP advocacy comments/surmises by Phillip Giraldi
implicating Israel over at American Conservative the other day.

Posted by: amspirnational | Jan 2, 2012 5:16:00 PM | 17

Pat Lang could use commnets from harder-line anti-interventionists of both the right and left to give him political cover to take the occasionally hard-hitting shots he takes. But he takes
things a little too personally for that.

Posted by: amspirnational | Jan 2, 2012 5:25:10 PM | 18

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