Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 03, 2013

Groundhog Day Iraq

The New York Times prints an OpEd, together with a specially made graphic, in which an Iraqi exile tries to compel the United States to "save Iraq" by forming a coalition of the willing to take down an Iraq strongman.

No, it is not 2002/3. Its 2013. And some people never learn. Why Maliki Must Go:

Getting Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to cooperate with the United States on a new political bargain there, with Mr. Maliki out of the picture, won’t be easy, but it’s essential to save Iraq.

Posted by b on May 3, 2013 at 14:10 UTC | Permalink


For the perpetual war cabal, Iraq is the gift that will keep on giving.

Posted by: ben | May 3 2013 14:21 utc | 1

It seems the US government, the mainstream media, and the political establishment can only think about intervention, sanctions, and war. These people are really sick.

Posted by: Amar | May 3 2013 14:40 utc | 2

Why can't just leave well enough alone? Haven't plenty of people been hurt already by these jackasses?

Posted by: Fernando | May 3 2013 14:51 utc | 3

"These people are really sick."

No, we are the sick ones. The generation which refused, inspite of every evidence and an overwhelming need, to inform adolescents about what actually happens when you join the US military. So in they go, their information about it all garnered from media.

What, you figure those "really sick" people will do it themselves? And besides, Desert Storm was so glorious, remember? We kicked their ass and took their gas!

I mean, if we didn't have foreign expeditionary wars (and redundancy, too) how would all those patriots service America?

Posted by: Mooser | May 3 2013 14:59 utc | 4

It sounds as though they've joined with Sunni al Qaeda to crush the Shia. Then they can deal with al Qaeda 'later' ... wasn't that what Lindsay Graham said?

Maybe they have to do what the Gulf states want. Maybe China did tell them it had bought its last T-bill/T-bond, and they're desperate for financial backers.

Now they're selling the US Wehrmacht's services to the highest bidder. Doesn't make any real difference to them who they destroy ... as long as its someone they think can't hurt them personally. If only the rest of the world were devastated ... the US would be great again! In relative terms of course.

The end is near.

Posted by: john francis lee | May 3 2013 15:04 utc | 5

Nussaibah Younis
Research Fellow, International Security Program

Nussaibah Younis is a doctoral candidate in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Durham, and her research focuses on the impact of state weakness on Iraqi foreign policymaking since 2003 and Iraq's post-war state structure. She has published on the relationship between sectarianism and Iraq's post-war electoral system and has written commentaries on current affairs for the Guardian newspaper.

Previously, Nussaibah worked with an entrepreneur to start up a now flourishing brand strategy consultancy. As part of her work in business and in academia, Nussaibah has lived all over the Arab world, including Amman, Beirut, Cairo, and Dubai. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Modern History and English.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 3 2013 15:10 utc | 6

Hill got there first
(And she might go there again)
Clinton, Aug 22, 2007: It's time for Maliki to go
Clinton called for the removal of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House frontrunner Hillary Clinton called for the ouster of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Wednesday afternoon, hours after President Bush expressed confidence in the embattled leader.

"The Iraqi government’s failures have reinforced the widely held view that the Maliki government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement, because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders," the New York senator said in a statement given exclusively to CNN’s Jessica Yellin.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 3 2013 15:15 utc | 7

Pretty good, a young doctoral student at Durham (that is, the UK provincial university) getting an op-ed in the NYT. Not many doctoral students can do that. Must have influence with the editors.

Posted by: alexno | May 3 2013 15:46 utc | 8

Iraq's troubles aren't rooted in sectarianism (although it's being waved under that banner by power-greedy individuals and reported by the media), ordinary Iraqis don't give a damn which successor to the prophet their neighbors worship and never did. There are those in power who don't want to see Iraqis problems going away.

Maliki's resignation would save Iraq just as much as Obama stepping down would save the United States. They're puppets.

Posted by: never mind | May 3 2013 16:27 utc | 9

A while ago - about 7 years? - but after the start of the Iraq war, there was a paper by Chinese academics, who said more or less that the US was going downhill, and that the job of the rest of the world was to make sure the US didn't do anything really stupid while the process was going on.

Unfortunately, I looked, but can't find the original paper - perhaps someone else can find it.

This NYT op-ed is interesting speculation, but also amoral and insane.

Posted by: Northern Night Owl | May 3 2013 17:31 utc | 10

I don't know why I come to this website. Everything that I read here either enrages or depresses me (sometimes both). I wish that I could just ignore politics and live a blissfully ignorant life.

Posted by: Kanzanian | May 3 2013 17:47 utc | 11

@11..."live a blissfully ignorant life" is an accepted way of life here in America...MOB is a blessing to humanity.....

Posted by: georgeg | May 3 2013 19:09 utc | 12

@11, unless you live in a cave and feed on nuts and berries, you are involved in politics.

Posted by: ruralito | May 3 2013 19:12 utc | 13

Kanzanian, if you move to South Beach, Malibu, Monaco or Upper Manhattan. You can live blissfully ignorant and party your arse off. I've gone to parties where people don't know even know what current events are taking place. It's rather sickening @ times, but ssooo much fun! The models, the cocktail mixes, latest gadgets and bling, bling, bling. It reminds me of the story of Belshazzar drinking from the sacred vessels, purloined from the All mighty's temple, while Babylon was under siege by none other than the Medes and Persians.
Maliki, my boy now is your time. The mother effen gauntlet has been thrown and you have just joined the "you've lost all legitimacy and must go" club. The membership isn't very exclusive, all the USA has to do is declare it and you're done?

Posted by: Fernando | May 3 2013 19:35 utc | 14

Chemical weapons claim could be israeli false-flag according to former U.S. general.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3 2013 20:42 utc | 15

Paul Simon - Kodachrome

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's
a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

For those who are reading NYT with diploma from "prestigious" universities - George Bush MBA etc.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 3 2013 21:10 utc | 16

#10 a paper by Chinese academics, who said more or less that the US was going downhill, and that the job of the rest of the world was to make sure the US didn't do anything really stupid while the process was going on.

I recall something like that was written and it has been close to official Chinese policy since with an additional addendum: Don't interfere when your adversary is shooting himself in the foot. China and Russia have been remarkably constrained when it comes to their policy towards Afghanistan and Iraq. Russia has even opened the Afghan door for the US a little wider opening up their highway system to the Americans (of course, being paid generous transit fees).

Posted by: ToivoS | May 3 2013 21:49 utc | 17

"It reminds me of the story of Belshazzar drinking from the sacred vessels, purloined from the All mighty's temple, while Babylon was under siege by none other than the Medes and Persians."

"And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall"

Apparently you aren't the only one with that incident in mind Fernando, if my Scripture Knowledge hasn't failed me. I won a prize for it at school!

Posted by: Mooser | May 3 2013 22:07 utc | 18

Heh. Had a brief chat just this morning with a fellow lefty and told him I was positive the US was looking for a reason to get back into Iraq militarily, that the admin thinks Iraq is necessary to take out Iran.

I figured after Syria is dispatched by the jihadists, they'll move on to Iraq and cause enough problems there for the US to be able to say, See! We told you you'd need us! Now, just beg us to come back and we will, with bells and whistles and bombs and whatnot.

Then, it can begin again.

Luuvvv that Obomber Nobel Peace Prize prez!

Posted by: jawbone | May 3 2013 22:08 utc | 19

, "unless you live in a cave and feed on nuts and berries, you are involved in politics."

Yes, and often on several different levels. There are the politics you are compelled to live with, than there are what you might call your aspirational politics, which may not be practical, but incorporate your ideals, and hopes. And then events can drastically change an individuals relationship with politics.
On the whole, the nuts and berries are looking better and better, likewise the cave.

Posted by: Mooser | May 3 2013 22:12 utc | 20

"Luuvvv that Obomber Nobel Peace Prize prez!"

Yup, all that destruction and death, no gains, and he'll probably go down in history as the World's Greatest Chump!!! They aren't even his frickin wars!! Mr Genius Obama will end up holding the bag for everything Bush did. As well he should.
He will turn out to be the biggest chump in the world. I shudder to think of the methods used to convince Obama that continuing the Bush policies was the thing to do. 'But Mr. President, you're a genius! You're the guy who can make it all work!'

Posted by: Mooser | May 3 2013 22:18 utc | 21

Some, like ex-congressman Duncan Hunter, call Iraq a victory.
Victory In Iraq, Duncan L. Hunter (Author)

“As the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives for most of the Iraq War, Duncan Hunter not only participated in the major debates in Congress concerning the war… he led them, keeping the mission on track when others sought to derail it. His work to provide equipment and force protection to our troops was unequaled. Hunter knows the story of the Iraq War from the inside like no one else. He provides a clear, accurate portrayal of the war, well researched and documented – superb, exciting reading. His detailed accounts of heroism bring to the front the courage of American warriors.”
― Brigadier General Terry Paul, USMC (Ret.)

Call Iraq a victory? General Petraeus never did. He called Iraq "fragile and reversible." I have nine comments on it by Petraeus. I'll go easy on you and only post the first and last ones.
WaPo, September 7, 2007
General Petraeus’s view is considered overly cautious by some other senior military officials and some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, officials said. But they said it reflected his concern that the security gains made so far in Baghdad, Anbar Province and other areas were fragile and easily reversed.

Reuters, Mar 16, 2010
"The progress in Iraq is still fragile. And it could still be reversed," Petraeus told a Senate hearing.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 3 2013 22:28 utc | 22

This is interesting --

Previously, Nussaibah worked with an entrepreneur to start up a now flourishing brand strategy consultancy.

--as a major qualification for marketing regime change, as Younis is doing.

Johnny Selman did the regime change cartoon.

I live in Queens with my wife.
I'm currently working at Google Creative Lab in the city.
Awards and Recognition
New York Times
Year in Illustration / 2012

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 3 2013 22:36 utc | 23

"make sure the US didn't do anything really stupid"

Yeah, I'm really afraid that this isn't going to end... it's going to be put to an end, just like the Nazis had to be.

Posted by: guest | May 3 2013 23:45 utc | 24

I found this old Doha Debate on YouTube the other day. I felt it was very prescient to the Arab Spring and the problems Iraq is facing today.

Interesting cast (forgive me for forgetting the names): An Iraqi lawyer, an Iraqi presidential candidate, George Galloway, and a former CIA officer debating the proposition "Does Iraq need a Dictator?"

It was filmed - I believe - just after the first Iraqi elections that put Maliki in power. Note the enthusiastic cheers for the idea of democracy in the Arab world, years before the Arab Spring.

Anyway, well worth watching, I'd say:

Posted by: guest | May 3 2013 23:53 utc | 25

Bahrain, how the state media can actually tell the truth:

'The articles, one written by the editor-in-chief of a Bahraini-controlled newspaper, Anwar Abdulrahman, and the other by a pro-monarchy political group, depicts Bahrain as a place where Western media and leading rights organisations have tainted the country’s image and integrity and have “ripped” society apart through sectarian tension.

“So-called human rights organisations, which unfortunately are largely administered by ex-ideologists and even terrorists, today propagate their own version of the word ‘freedom’, solely to take it away from others,” said Abdulrahman.'

now tho Bahrain may be up to its neck in league with Saudi arabia, his statement has a lot to agree with : HR orgs ARE run by terrorists(eg Amnesty), they DO propagate 'freedom' to take it away from others(isnt this what FUKUS in league with HR orgs is doing in Syria and has done in libya?

Posted by: brian | May 4 2013 0:06 utc | 26

There are different forces within countries. This may be true in Bahrain (may - 'cuz I quote WSJ).
WSJ, Feb 22

When the Arab Spring protests swept into Bahrain in 2011, royal-family disagreement burst into the open. The king, though his son and heir apparent, reached out to compromise with activists, at U.S. urging. The Khawalids, on the other hand, called for crackdown.

The Khawalids prevailed and led the crackdown. The kingdom has simmered ever since. Violent clashes between protesters and police—tear-gas canisters, rubber bullets and chants of "death to the king"—remain a nightly affair.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 4 2013 0:19 utc | 27

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 3, 2013 8:19:37 PM | 27

any sign Jihadis INC will lend a hand in Bahrain?

Posted by: brian | May 4 2013 0:30 utc | 28

Bahrain has blamed Iran, big time. I don't know about jihadis. why not?
Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the US Fifth Naval Fleet.
As a side comment, there are many US bases in the Gulf states, which to me is a major detriment to any US attack on Iran. Three bases in Kuwait, one each in Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
They are easy, soft targets, with 40,000 troops, for Iran missiles. Turkey shoot.
This presumes that all US warships ships have left the Gulf for far out on the Arabian Sea, and the UN inspectors have been extracted first.
So any talk of attacks on Iran are, and have been, BS.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 4 2013 1:25 utc | 29

This Iraq situation, it seems to me, makes Maliki more dependent than ever upon Iran. Turkey and the Gulf States are Iraq's enemies, so Iran is a friend in need.
So go ahead, US, threaten Maliki more -- it helps Iran.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 4 2013 1:31 utc | 30

OT: Lakhdar Brahimi tells U.N. diplomats he plans to resign as Syria envoy, end of the month.
It's too much to hope for, but possibly he'll describe how the US position (regime change) is an impediment to settlement.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 4 2013 1:46 utc | 31

"So go ahead, US, threaten Maliki more -- it helps Iran."

Just to play devil's advocate: If Iraq goes the way of Yugoslavia, the Iranians would be left with a rump Arab state centered around Basra. Baghdad would likely be ruined for the second time in a decade, the center made practically unlivable. A Shiite Iraq would certainly not be a land or air corridor to Hezbollah or Syria, a war-torn drain on Iran resources and more of a liability than an asset.

Perhaps a renewed war in Iraq will give the Iranians a chance to cause trouble for the Saudis in their northeast oil areas, but other than that, a renewed Iraqi civil war without the US there to own it spells disaster for the Iranians, no?

Posted by: guest | May 4 2013 2:55 utc | 32

Correct, while the threats help Iran, an Iraqi loss of Anbar wouldn't be favorable. But Iran has other cards to play, and is good at both diplomacy and the dark arts. The Gulf states all have serious internal problems. Egypt is now more of an Iran ally, also Pakistan. There are many variables, especially with Syria unsettled.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 4 2013 3:24 utc | 33

@guest #25

Watching the video and listening the guests' panel is revealing. Usually the term "intellectual dishonesty" is convenient in such circumstances - to be polite, especially for "former CIA chief station" turned into empire apologist that is "clumsiness". While George Galloway is sounding appealing and definitely an interesting character he is not far off of the CIA guy. I am suspectfull of him because of his glorification of democracy; while he doesn't appear to be someone who "impose" the one, he is ardent promoter. Maybe I am mistaken but I would like to see him speaking about social economic justice rather than about "right to vote" which is very mainstream.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 4 2013 14:15 utc | 34

@ Northern Night Owl post 10:

This link below is the latest on - world human rights in the US review - by China, condemning the US. It publishes such an evaluation every year, afaik. Don’t know which 7- yr old paper is specifically noteworthy and I didn’t search, there might have been some special points? What was it about exactly?

a good read btw:

Posted by: Noirette | May 4 2013 19:36 utc | 35

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